This week, Sony announced it will cease the manufacturing of Betamax video cassette tapes in Japan -- the last country where they are available -- by March 2016. To which the response was: wait, Betamax is still around?
You can be forgiven for thinking that the technology had been obsolete for a while -- or depending on how old you are, not even sure what it is. But before the plethora of streaming platform options and the war between DVDs and Blu-rays, there was the VHS and Betamax feud.
Sony released its Betamax video cassette recorder in 1975, but the following year, competitor JVC came out with its rival tech: VHS tapes and VCR player. While Betamax was known for high-quality image and sound, over time, VHS became the dominant technology due to the lower price of the players, and the fact that the tapes could record for longer periods of time. Sony even started making its own VHS player in 1988, and ultimately stopped producing the Betamax players in 2002. JVC on the other hand, stopped making standalone VCRs in 2008.
This sort of consumer-electronics evolutionary arc is nothing new. Companies have always sought new ways to replace big and clunky machinery with a faster, sleeker and smaller new model that is able to store more information with less space -- and with planned obsolescence a given to ensure the customer is compelled to upgrade when the latest and greatest iteration arrives.
And while today you aren't likely to see a lot of people listening to a Walkman on the way to work, getting vacation photos developed on film at a drug store or using a phone with a rotary dial -- consistent users of outmoded technology still remain.
Here are a few other older technologies that still used today.