In the late '70s and early '80s, a format war ensued between two video cassette formats, VHS and Betamax. These two competing standards for recording video onto cassettes both tried to make their format look as good as possible. Betamax arguably had better picture quality, according to many experts, but VHS won mainly because of it's longer recording time and cheaper recorder price.

So, Betamax lost the format war. But many professional recorders leaned toward Betamax because of its better picture quality compared to VHS. It didn't fade into obscurity right away, but when VHS achieved near total dominion, it was mostly forgotten. On a standard L-500 tape, a Betamax recorder could record 1 hour with Beta 1 recording speed, and 2 hours with Beta 2 speed. VHS, on the other hand, could record 2 hours on SP (the equivalent of Beta 1) and 4 hours on LP (the equivalent of Beta 2). This short recording time, combined with a variety of other factors like less advanced timers, caused the downfall of Betamax.

Since the main purpose of owning a videocassette recorder was timeshifting, or recording programs to watch at a specific time, the timer and recording length were very important. Betamax had neither of these going in their favor, so it lost the fairly drawn-out format war.

Betamax was developed by Sony, and was first to market, but eventually, even though a very big company had a first-to-market advantage, they still lost because of the fatal flaws the product had.
In 1980, a customer has to decide between a Betamax or VHS VCR.
Customer: "Hmmm... Should I get the more expensive Betamax machine with a less advanced timer, more expensive tapes, less recording time per tape, a smaller library, and better picture quality, or the VHS machine that is less expensive, has a larger movie library, cheaper tapes, more recording time per tape, but worse picture quality?"

"Betamax is dead, long live VHS!"
by EricICX September 30, 2018
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old format from the 70's. Famous for it's failure, it's price, it's quality, and porno.
by Franklin W. Dickson October 21, 2009
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A faggot, who isn't liked by any. They are gay and try too much to play "Piano Man". He is rejected by many in highfives and props, the door hits him on the way out of a room
by linguinipasta November 6, 2017
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Used to describe the process by which technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition.
Microsoft betamaxed Apple right out of the market!
by Johnny Thirteen August 12, 2007
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As opposed to the alpha male, the betamax is the ultimate form of a beta male and the ultimate counter to an alpha male. Betas are generally wayward and indifferent to typical social cues while meaning to define their own and can be seen as aloof, indecisive, and mysterious. However the betamax, while possessing those traits can express characteristics seemingly completely nuance and contradictory to beta behavior in short, powerful bursts given the proper catalyst relative to the betamax's interests.

Where an alpha male is rehearsed, the betamax acts with a raw yet tempered, nearly instinctual prowess provided by his various means of nonconformist mental conditioning. Alpha males and women tend to view the betamax as alluring though women's anxiety towards the betamax can become an issue due to his somewhat unpredictable nature despite his predominantly chill exterior. As the average woman tends to be submissive, absolving herself of responsibility for her actions through her passivity and being told what to do, a betamax will usually be seen with only alpha females who can think for themselves. Unlike women in the typical alpha/beta dynamic, the betamax inclines toward solitude while his alpha female finds herself drawn to his peculiar nature excited more by untold rewards than any risks.
Alpha male: I can barely wrap my head around it. One minute the guy's boring everyone with his jargon about brony existentialism and then the next minute, he's leaving the party with Stacy. Stacy!?!

Alpha male subordinate: Ikr?! That fucking betamax.
by thewaxrene12 July 4, 2017
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When a technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition.
Microsoft betamaxed Apple right out of the market
by Mudit January 31, 2005
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Finished software so maxed out with bugs it should still be beta.
Most of those new Apple Dashboard Widgets are so betamax.
by Richard Feder July 22, 2005
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