For years, there has been talk that Betamax, by Sony, ended up losing the videotape format wars to VHS due to pornography. Sony refused to mass-produce pornographic films, while VHS chose the opposite route. While there’s no definitive proof that pornography was the one thing that led to the downfall of Betamax, there’s some evidence that it played a large role. This article explores the competition between the formats, which started in the late 70s and continued through the early 80s. There were two main players in the battle: the video home system, VHS, and Betamax.

Early Video Tech History

The first VCRs on the consumer level included the Phillips N1500, released in 1972. These used large square videocassettes that were generally considered unreliable. This was particularly true with the longer videocassettes, which were up to 60 minutes or more in length.

After the release of the N1500, Sony released Betamax. It was showcased in 1974 and officially released in 1975. Sony felt that the industry would gravitate towards one type of videotape format using much more reliable media. Due to the reliability of Betamax, they assumed they would be the clear winners.

Then, JVC released another system with a new form of videocassette. After the introduction of VHS, Phillips adopted the system for their VCRs. There were other competing formats in the home video market, but these ultimately fell away quickly. The competition for dominance in the market was down to VHS versus Betamax.

With VCRs, Sony and JVC were pitching two different things to the world. Betamax offered quality, with the ability to record shows with a sharper image and superior sound. Unfortunately, Betamax could only record for up to two hours. While physically, the tapes were capable of recording for longer periods, the quality was poor. Sony decided against allowing that, hoping that the superiority of their product would win out. VHS could record for four hours and was less expensive than Betamax; two benefits VHS had even though the quality of the recordings was lower.

Ultimately many people believe that the downfall of Betamax was the price difference. Betamax players were about $1,000, while the VHS tape player was around $300. Consumers didn’t have the disposable income, nor were they willing to pay that much more for the amount of increased picture quality and better sound they were getting. VHS was still a good product, even if it wasn’t as good as Betamax. VHS was ultimately the better deal, though other comparisons can be made and brought into the discussion of why VHS won out.

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The Porn Commitment In Tech

Some have suggested that Sony’s Betamax failed because they didn’t agree to license to pornography companies or allow them to use their technology for mass production. Keep in mind, when home videos were first released, the Internet didn’t exist. Without the access to pornography that the Internet brings, home video was the premier way people would purchase porn. Before the VCR came into existence, people went to special cinemas to see adult films. Seeing pornography in a theater was awkward to some, which quickly catapulted home videos to prominence in the industry.

In the 1970s, porn was quite popular and more socially acceptable than ever. It was fairly acceptable to go to the theater to see stag films, though they didn’t grant the same freedom and privacy that home video porn did. Due to this, many people purchased porn VHS cassettes, and all of the pornography companies started putting their products on video.

Ultimately there are many benefits that historians point to in terms of why people chose VHS over Betamax. Saving $700 on the video player played a large role, and those who bought a VCR that played VHS also got the added benefit of being able to play pornography from the comfort of home. With the ability to get completely naked, masturbate, and enjoy whatever type of porn they wanted in their own home, XXX fans were sold.

Long before the battle between Blu-ray and DVD, there was the battle between VHS and Betamax. While the tech world has often said that the porn industry played a significant role in that victory, some people believe its part was much smaller. VHS welcomed adult content with open arms, and in the 70s, people loved their pornography. In addition, VHS gave the added benefits of longer recording times, less expensive video players, and more.

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The adult entertainment industry is massive, and even in the 70s, people ended up spending a lot of money on VHS porn cassettes. Excited that one of the two prominent companies in home video embraced adult content, the industry grew quickly. People could watch X-rated movies in privacy, seeing what they wanted to watch when they wanted to watch it.

What Happened To Betamax?

Betamax stuck around for a while even after VHS won out, mainly because the higher quality was used in some television and news situations. Ultimately, however, Betamax faded into the ether. Now, people can post sexy videos on the Internet, as well as nude pictures. The pornography boom has partially inspired this nudity and open-mindedness regarding sexuality in the 70s and 80s. But, again, the use of VHS was a catalyst.

Final Notes

As technology evolves, the most successful companies are those that give people what they want. Other competitions have happened since then, including records versus CDs, Blu-ray versus DVDs, CDs versus MP3s, and many others. Each has a plethora of pros and cons, but eventually, CDs and MP3s won out, and while DVDs and Blu-ray discs are still competing, technology has DVDs costing less for the moment. CDs would subsequently fall to digital options, thus proving that technology moves forward.

In the Betamax versus VHS era, VHS brought lower costs, and people into hardcore pornography turned to it as the only medium where they could find the debauchery they craved. While the cost of video players and the length of the films being created were the largest factors to VHS winning over Betamax, the increase in popularity of pornography, the accessibility to adult media that VHS provided, and the culture of the 1970s all played a role in the direction that home video went.

Today, the adult entertainment industry is still a driving force in technology, often being an early adopter in new tech. Adult naughtyfriendgirl is also part of the movement, with people on the website doing live cam or taking advantage of technology to have virtual sex and date virtually.