> Although many felt Betamax was the superior format, most cite the longer recording length of VHS tapes — three hours versus one — and the cheaper manufacturing costs for VHS machines as the main factors as to why VHS eventually won out.
It's simpler than that: Betamax licence forbids adult content publishing, while VHS couldn't care less. People choose to watch combining of gene lines on app. 180-200 lines of resolution, rather than a year with a panda family NatGeo special on 300 scan lines.
Well, as a former VCR repair tech, I can tell you why we thought VHS beat BetaMax: the VHS machines were much easier to repair.
During lace-up, a VHS machine drew the tape out in a "M" shape, whereas the BetaMax drew the tape out and around the head unit in a "C" format. So a machine failure in VHS left the tape relatively easy to extract. With the tape wrapped around the drum in the BetaMax: it was a pain. From a repair standpoint, changing a VHS head was a matter of unsoldering 4 wires, pull the head off with a standard tool, drop the new head on, resolder the wires and send it back to the customer. With a BetaMax, that was only the beginning of the job: you needed specialized alignment jigs and other tools to ensure that you could play back standard tapes. VHS won, IMO, because they engineered all that stuff into the unit.
As far as "Beta was better"... that's a matter of opinion. Beta looked sharper on screen because the circuitry put a HF "ring" whenever there was a strong contrast change. VHS had a higher head-to-tape speed, with a higher chroma bandwidth (but it was still pretty crappy), I've heard about the "porn industry" reasons for years, but I've never see a single piece of evidence to back it up. To my mind, VHS won because the cost of repairing the machine was so much lower.