On This Day … 04 June [2022]


Events

  • 1977 – JVC introduces its VHS videotape at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago.
    • It will eventually prevail against Sony’s rival Betamax system in a format war to become the predominant home video medium.

JVC

JVC (short for Japan Victor Company) is a Japanese brand owned by JVCKenwood corporation and formerly by the Victor Company of Japan, Limited (日本ビクター株式会社, Nihon Bikutā kabushiki gaisha). Founded in 1927, the company is best known for introducing Japan’s first televisions and for developing the Video Home System (VHS) video recorder.

From 1953 to 2008, the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. was the majority stockholder in JVC. In 2008, JVC merged with Kenwood Corporation to create JVCKenwood. JVC sold their electronic products in their home market of Japan under the “Victor” name with the His Master’s Voice logo but used the name JVC or Nivico in the past for export due to differing ownership of the His Master’s Voice logo and the ownership of the “Victor” name from successors of the Victor Talking Machine Company. In 2011, the Victor brand for electronics in Japan was replaced by the global JVC brand. However, the previous “Victor” name and logo are retained by JVCKenwood Victor Entertainment, and are used as JVCKenwood’s luxury HiFi marque.

VHS

VHS, officially called the Video Home System, is a standard for consumer-level analogue video recording on tape cassettes.

From the 1950s, magnetic tape video recording became a major contributor to the television industry, via the first commercialised video tape recorders (VTRs). At that time, the expensive devices were used only in professional environments such as television studios and medical imaging (fluoroscopy). In the 1970s, videotape entered home use, creating the home video industry and changing the economics of the motion picture and television businesses. The television industry viewed videocassette recorders (VCRs) as having the power to disrupt their business, while television users viewed the VCR as a means to take control of their viewing experiences by allowing them to watch programming repeatedly and at more convenient times.

In the later 1970s and early 1980s, there was a format war in the home video industry. Two of the standards, VHS and Betamax, received the most media exposure. VHS eventually won the war, gaining 60% of the North American market by 1980 and emerging as the dominant home video format throughout the tape media period.

Optical disc formats later began to offer better quality than analogue consumer video tape such as VHS and S-VHS. The earliest of these formats, LaserDisc, was not widely adopted across Europe, but was hugely popular in Japan and a minor success in the United States. After the introduction of the DVD format in 1996, however, the market share for VHS began to decline. In 2003, DVD rentals surpassed those of VHS in the United States and by 2008, DVD had replaced VHS as the preferred low-end method of distribution. The last known company in the world to manufacture VHS equipment (VCR/DVD combos), Funai of Japan, ceased production in July 2016, citing shrinking demand and difficulties procuring parts.

Sony

Sony Group Corporation (ソニーグループ株式会社, Sonī Gurūpu kabushiki gaisha), commonly known as Sony and stylised as SONY, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. As a major technology company, it operates as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of consumer and professional electronic products, the largest video game console company and the largest video game publisher. Through Sony Entertainment Inc, it is one of the largest music companies (largest music publisher & second largest record label) and the third largest film studio, making it one of the most comprehensive media companies. It is the largest technology and media conglomerate in Japan. At the same period, it is also recognised as the most cash-rich Japanese company, with its net cash reserves of ¥2 trillion.

Sony, with its 55 percent market share in the image sensor market, is the largest manufacturer of image sensors, the second largest camera manufacturer, and is among the semiconductor sales leaders. It is the world’s largest player in the premium TV market for a television of at least 55 inches (140 centimetres) with a price higher than $2,500 as well as second largest TV brand by market share and, as of 2020, the third largest television manufacturer in the world by annual sales figures.

Sony Group Corporation is the holding company of the Sony Group (ソニー・グループ, Sonī Gurūpu), which comprises Sony Corporation, Sony Semiconductor Solutions, Sony Entertainment (Sony Pictures, Sony Music), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Financial Group, Sony Creative Products, and others.

The company’s slogan is Be Moved. Their former slogans were The One and Only (1979-1982), It’s a Sony (1981-2005), like.no.other (2005-2009), and make.believe (2009-2013).

Sony has a weak tie to the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) corporate group, the successor to the Mitsui keiretsu. Sony is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (in which it is a constituent of the Nikkei 225 and TOPIX Core30 indexes) with an additional listing in the form of American depositary receipts listed in the New York Stock Exchange (traded since 1970, making it the oldest Japanese company to be listed in an American exchange), and was ranked 88th on the 2021 Fortune Global 500 list.

Betamax

Betamax (also known as Beta, as in its logo) is a consumer-level analogue recording and cassette format of magnetic tape for video, commonly known as a video cassette recorder. It was developed by Sony and was released in Japan on 10 May 1975, followed by the US in November of the same year.

Betamax is widely considered to be obsolete, having lost the videotape format war which saw its closest rival, VHS, dominate most markets.

Despite this, Betamax recorders continued to be manufactured and sold until August 2002, when Sony announced that they were discontinuing production of all remaining Betamax models. Sony continued to sell Betamax cassettes until March 2016.

Videotape Format War

The videotape format war was a period of competition or “format war” of incompatible models of consumer-level analogue video videocassette and video cassette recorders (VCR) in the late 1970s and the 1980s, mainly involving the Betamax and Video Home System (VHS) formats. VHS ultimately emerged as the preeminent format.

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