Was Porn. The porn industry chose VHS and beta died. Or at least that's what I heard. Please do not provide authoritative sources to disprove me. This is what I want to believe. Thanks!!
Not gonna argue with you, I'm just curious...was this before or after Al Gore invented the internet?
LOOOOONG before. Back in the day, Beta tapes were higher resolution but only 1 hour long, whereas VHS tapes were 2 hours long and featured viewable resolution. (This is before the EP/LP modes that gave 4 or 6 hours on a VHS tape but sacrificed even more quality.) Anyway, the point is that the average movie is somewhere around 90-110 minutes long, so one tape is much better than two. And take it a step further: epics like Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago could be done on 2 VHS tapes instead of 4 Betas, so that was a big deal pricewise.
So what's that got to do with porn? Well, people like cheap porn. And VHS was the ideal vehicle, especially since the porn industry releases thousands of titles vs. Hollywood's dozens every year. Porn drove VHS adoption, and VHS adoption meant that mainstream movies went with VHS, which drove more VHS adoption...