TWX: "Betamax" probably encompasses more than simply the end-consumer tape. "SuperBeta" is a common commercial standard...
Farmer Tim: The format used in broadcast was called Betacam (replaced by Betacam SP, Digibeta, Betacam SX and HDCAM in the same physical format, all incompatible with Betamax)
Indeed... came here to say this, want to say it again in bold text as people keep getting it wrong anyway.
*** REGULAR BETAMAX WAS *NEVER* WIDELY USED AS A PROFESSIONAL FORMAT. YOU'RE THINKING OF "BETACAM", A SEPARATE FORMAT WHOSE ORIGINAL VERSIONS USED THE SAME CASSETTE AND TAPE DESIGN, BUT HAD AN ENTIRELY INCOMPATIBLE AND MUCH HIGHER QUALITY RECORDING FORMAT! (And ran the tape at a much higher speed) ***
Ahem... thank you.
Anyway, minor credit to the GP for at least not *quite* repeating this fallacy in its usual form, but yeah, he's still wrong in confusing Betacam with SuperBeta, a marginally-improved and mostly-compatible version of the consumer format.
TWX:much in the same way that "SuperVHS" was a common commercial standard
NO IT BLOODY WELL WASN'T!!!
Jeez, I'm taking that "minor credit" back!
Apparently they tried creating a professional format called "M" which used the VHS cassette design but- like Betacam- had a much higher tape speed and entirely-incompatible recording format compared to its consumer sibling. Apparently it flopped and a later version called "MII" enjoyed moderate success at best.