Beta to the MAX!

29 Mar

It looks like all  my dreams are finally coming true.  Earlier this year I acquired an RCA CED selectavision player, which had long been one of my most highly coveted pieces of defunct technology.  Alas, there was always one other machine I had desperately desired and was never fortunate enough to find. A Betamax player. Now, logic says I could easily go on Ebay, like I did for my CED player, but there is something so much more exhilarating about finding a treasure in the wild. Since I was a kid, around 9 or 10 years old or so, I remember stumbling upon a discarded beta player and being intrigued by the allure of it its rejected beauty. I was aware of the format war even then, and regretted not picking it up. However, little did I know I would spend the next 15 or so odd years always on the hunt for one. I would search to no avail. Until my media miracle this past weekend…

Daniel, my fiance and I were out on a date downtown in the city enjoying the sights (and the typical Seattle weather) and doing a few of the things we love most. After an enjoyable lunch on the waterfront, an encounter with an EPIC old van from the 70s painted with a Star Wars motif (pics to come!) and a quick jaunt to the arcade, we set out for some thrifting!  We had a lot of good finds, but most notable of all was my darling’s discovery of  that certain something I had desired for a very long time…

He took my hand and while grinning from ear to ear, led me into the electronics aisle (I had wandered off to another section) He told me what he was pretty certain he’d discovered.. and lo and behold, yes, my alpha male found me a beta!!  “Laura, I think I just found you a Beta player” I jumped with excitement and joy and a look of disbelief. He was just as thrilled with getting it for me as I had been with his discovery!  It’s a gorgeous Sanyo Betacord model, made in Japan. Unknowing if it would even function, naturally it was coming home with us.  Luckily, upon plugging it in and testing it out with a tape, we were thrilled to see it was in excellent working condition!

Sanyo Betacord

I’d often picked up the odd BETA I’d find here or there while at garage sales or thrift shops over the last few years, with the hopes of someday being able to play them. Finally, at long last  I can!! How wonderful to know that our dream of a defunct media room is becoming a reality bit by bit..  now all we have to do is organize our spare room, get all our old gaming and video systems set up, and find some way to display and store the massive amount of tapes we’ve got.  I  see a trip to Ikea in our future very soon…..

Testing out the player with a tape of Disney's Five Mile Creek


2 Responses to “Beta to the MAX!”

  1. Jon Darby March 27, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Just out of nerdy retrocuriosity, can you see a noticeable difference in tape quality with the Betamax? I stumbled here looking for CED stuff as those things always had a special place in my heart, and now I realize I don’t think I ever met a family with a Betamax growing up in the 80s! Fancy!

    • Laura March 28, 2012 at 12:30 am #

      I’ve set up the player and watched the few tapes I have on it. Betamax was always said to have been a bit superior in quality to VHS.. and I can honestly say, it does look a little better. A little cleaner, and a bit brighter maybe. It is subtle though. There wasn’t as huge of a gap between the way formats looked back then. I also LOVE CED’s. I have a great setup and a pretty large collection. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get around to blogging about that as well 🙂


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