Definition of Betamax in English:



mass nountrademark in US
  • A format for video recorders, now largely obsolete.

    • ‘Until recently, I thought electronic books were sharing a graveyard with eight-track tapes, Betamax video recorders and record players.’
    • ‘Sony's Betamax video tape recorder, which famously lost the 1980s video format war but held on for decades as a niche product, will finally be laid to rest after digital formats delivered a death blow…’
    • ‘Indeed, many of these technologies were challenged by the recording and movie industries - unsuccessfully, thanks largely to Betamax.’
    • ‘That remote, the video recorder and the whole Betamax domestic system is now landfill.’
    • ‘Remember Sony's Betamax had a similar head start at a time when - like TiVo - people associated the technology with the brand.’
    • ‘It's often said that the smut business established VHS as the de facto home video standard over the technically superior Betamax, so never underestimate the pulling power of porn.’
    • ‘But while Sony's public image moves boldly to the future, its product strategy is more in line with past Sony efforts, like the Walkman and Betamax.’
    • ‘The porn industry is said to be the hidden hand behind the success of the VHS home video format over the superior Betamax - and it could do the same for Sony's PlayStation 2.’
    • ‘In 1976, movie studios sued Sony over its Betamax videotape recorder, claiming it facilitated piracy.’
    • ‘How about the mass adoption of VHS over Betamax video format (Beta had superior technology) or the advent of full colour, cost effective glossy printing presses?’
    • ‘It was full of old videos - old VHS tapes and even old Betamax cassettes, mainly filled with Sci-Fi shows such as Doctor Who, Star Trek and The Prisoner.’
    • ‘Many readers might remember the battle between the two video formats Betamax and VHS in the 1980s. Betamax was universally hailed as the better technology, but eventually VHS won out.’
    • ‘Now we are about to see the Betamax vs VHS argument all over again with the imminent release of blue laser formats.’
    • ‘And finally, on the technology front, Sony has announced it is finally going to stop producing Betamax video recorders.’
    • ‘Technically inferior to Betamax, Sony simply bulldozed the format into dominating the market.’
    • ‘At the last count, Caouette had 1,349 films on VHS, Betamax and 16 mm, and 2,046 LPs and CDs from which he sourced material.’
    • ‘To my first ever trip to a video store, and the overwhelming choice of Betamax and VHS versions of Star Wars.’
    • ‘Some people compare MP3 versus Vorbis to VHS versus Betamax.’
    • ‘I think we're all well aware of the Betamax / VHS war and how that played out and I understand that nobody wants another standards battle on their hands.’
    • ‘That, they say, contrasts the case with Sony's famous victory over the movie industry, which ensured the consumer electronics giant could not be held culpable for misuse of its Betamax video recorders.’


1970s: from Japanese beta ‘all over’ + -max from maximum.