Betamax (also known as Beta, as in its logo) is a consumer-level analog-recording and cassette format of magnetic tape for video, commonly known as a video cassette recorder. It was developed by Sony and was released in Japan on May 10, 1975,[1] followed by the US in November of the same year.

Media typeMagnetic cassette tape
CapacityUp to 5 hours
Read mechanismHelical scan
Write mechanismHelical scan
StandardInterlaced video
Developed bySony
Dimensions15.6 × 9.6 × 2.5 cm
(617 × 334 × 1 inch)
UsageHome movies, home video
Extended toVHS
ReleasedMay 10, 1975; 46 years ago (May 10, 1975)
DiscontinuedRecorders discontinued August 2002; Blank cassettes discontinued March 2016.

Betamax is widely considered to be obsolete, having lost the videotape format war[2] which saw its closest rival VHS dominate most markets.[3]

Despite this, Betamax recorders continued to be sold until August 2002, when Sony announced that they were discontinuing production of all remaining Betamax models. Sony continued to sell Betamax cassettes until March 2016.[4][5]