Sony Corp. says it will stop making Betamax videotapes, calling it quits after sticking with the product for four decades after it was beat in the marketplace by the more popular VHS format.
“Sony will stop the shipment of Betamax videocassettes and micro MV cassettes in March 2016,” the company said Tuesday in a Japanese-language statement.
“With this step, all of our firm’s shipments will end for recording media using the Betamax format and the micro MV cassette format,” which is also a Sony-produced video standard, it said.
Sony first launched its Betamax products in 1975 as a magnetic video format for consumers to record analog television shows. At the peak in fiscal 1984, some 50 million Betamax videocassettes were shipped, while only 400 are expected to be shipped in fiscal 2015.
The format, initially supported by Toshiba Corp. and other electronics makers, is most remembered as the loser of an intense corporate battle in the 1970s and 1980s over setting the de facto household video standard, which was decisively won by the VHS format promoted by Victor Co. of Japan, now JVC Kenwood Corp., and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., now Panasonic Corp.
VHS since gave way to digital formats, such as DVDs, that in turn have largely been supplanted by online streaming technology.
Sony stopped making Betamax recorders in 2002 but kept making tapes for die-hard fans.
The company said that over the years it has sold more than 18 million Betamax-related items.
Sony said it may stop shipping Betamax tapes earlier than March, “depending on the demand conditions.”