- Written by Duncan
With the continuing depression comes the revival of a video format long thought to be ahead of its time. Well it just could be that the time is now right for the emergence of what the press are calling "Betamax Reloaded". This new/old technology could very well revolutionize the way we record and play movies in the near future, and it is all due to market pressure from the global economic crisis.
The costs of Blu-ray discs have become too high, and demand for a cheaper alternatives forced manufacturers to look for a new solution. Surprisingly, the answer was staring them in the face. The existing Betamax format actually far exceeded the VHS capabilities, and was used by broadcasters or a long time after end users had migrated away from it. With a little adjustment to the original specifications, it has been improved to support full 1080p video format. And thus, the new Betamax-HD format was born!
Although specific manufacturers are keeping quiet on release dates, we have reports of several brand names re-tooling existing production facilities in preparation for a roll out of the new devices in early 2010. Early models can be upgraded with the new RCA-HDMI interface cable. If you have original Betamax tapes, they can be used, the new units will be able to play in standard and new widescreen Betamax-HD formats. You may notice some loss of resolution when you upconvert an old recording to full 1080i though.
Initial reaction to the announcement has been mixed. While manufacturers of Blu-ray disks and players are upset about the competition, the end users are excited. This new/old technology will allow end users to record full HD programs, using more economical format Betamax tapes. It provides a fully scaleable solution and competes with TiVo and other digital video recording devices. The manufacturer is already talking about additional fuzzy logic that allows the Betamax recorder to skip over commercials, which may get the attention of the advertising world.
When asked, Blockbuster said they had no immediate plans to stock titles in the new Betamax-HD format, waiting to see how big of a market hold the new format will have before making a commitment. Major film studios are considering issuing some titles on limited release in the new format by the end of 2010. If you have a collection of Blu-ray movies, you should be able to copy them directly to Betamax format with no loss of image resolution.
He have heard some rumors that at least one manufacturer has kept quantities of Betamax media in cold storage. If this is true, it could be a windfall for them.
In the pipeline is a special interface to Apple's Apple TV device, which allows users to back up their purchased movies to Betamax format for safekeeping. Stay tuned for updates!