On This Day … 07 June [2022]


Events

  • 1975 – Sony launches Betamax, the first videocassette recorder format.

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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