The 80s saw a very vicious war, where there could be only one winner. It was the war between VHS and Betamax. Some people wondered who would win, but to me I knew who the winner would be. This was due to the fact that my father had a habit of always backing the horse that was shot in the stables before the race even began. He had a choice, to buy either a VHS or Betamax VCR. He chose to buy a Betamax, and therefore that’s why VHS won at the end of the day.
We had a Betamax VCR for many years, I can remember the days when we used to walk into a video rental shop and one side of the store contained VHS tapes, and the other Betamax. Everyone choosing a film from the Betamax section snarled at those in the VHS section, and those in the VHS section snarled at those in the Betamax section. It divided the world.
After the winner was declared, our Betamax VCR realised that there was no point carrying on, and one Saturday morning, while I was watching my tapes of cartoons, it made a very strange grinding sound, and caught fire. That’s typical of a Betamax VCR. If it’s going to lose, it’s going to take something down with, namely our house. It didn’t succeed though, and despite the evil thing it tried to do, we graced it with a decent funeral at the local tip.
Since I was young at the time, I can’t really make a comparison between it and a VHS VCR. Some say it was of superior quality compared to VHS. I don’t honestly know, all I can remember was that the buttons on it were not so much buttons, but huge heavy switches. So heavy in fact that I it was an almighty task pressing the rewind button after watching a tape. That was my excuse anyway. Since it was a top-loading machine, it was great fun to put my small plastic army soldiers on top of it and then jumping on the eject button. The army soldier that came with a parachute was definitely designed to be used in conjunction with a Betamax VCR.