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A Buying Guide for Betamax Players

Betamax was a video cassette format introduced by the Sony Corporation in 1975. It was a competitor of VHS and had many benefits that film buffs and collectors liked. You can purchase vintage Betamax players on eBay for great prices.

How do you choose the right player?

There were dozens of different types of these players manufactured between 1975 and 2002. The Sony machines are generally thought to be both reliable and durable, and Sony made these players long after other companies had stopped. Here is what to look for when choosing one of these players for sale:

  • Playback and recording options - Playback options include SuperBeta and ED Beta. The recording formats for Beta are BI, BII, BIII, and PAL/SECAM. BIII gives three times the recording time of BI.
  • Connectivity - Depending on the year it was made and the manufacturer, different Beta players might have different options to connect to your television. RCA connections and coaxial cable connections are most common.
  • Condition - Because the last of these machines were manufactured in 2002, and by then, not many of them were being made, the conditions of the machines available on eBay might vary widely. Check the physical appearance and the condition of the reader heads.

Do Betamax players have S-video playback capability?

Most Beta machines are composite-only, but there are three that were made with S-video, allowing playback quality of up to 576i on compatible cassettes. The three models with S-video support are listed here:

  • Sony-HF2100
  • Sony EDV-7500
  • Sony EDV-9500

What are the benefits of Beta players?

Betamax is a videotape format with tapes that measure 6.1x 3.7x0.98 in. Beta is thought to produce excellent video quality because its tapes have a minimum luminance resolution of 250 lines. The more advanced Beta players and tapes have even higher resolutions. The different resolutions are described here:

  • u001a - Resolution of 250 lines
  • SuperBeta u001a - This offers a resolution of 290 lines
  • ED Beta u001a - These offer 500 lines

What companies manufactured Betamax players?

The Betamax cassette standard was developed and released by Sony, but that wasn't the only company making these players. During the height of the formats used, Betamax players were manufactured and sold by Pioneer, Aiwa, NEC, Murphy, and Toshiba. They could also be found under the brand names Zenith and Wega. RadioShack, Quelle, and Sears all sold Betamax players under their store brands. eBay is a great place to look for machines from all of these sellers.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sony.