$9,800 For A Betamax Machine!

A few years back when Gateway was closing all its Gateway Country stores, I got a good deal on a DVD recorder. Even though the price I paid for it was about double what DVD recorders are going for now, the machine has served the Civee and I well, also acting as our primary DVD player. If there’s something I want to keep for posterity, I use the DVD recorder, as our VCR is relegated to the guest room.

With the recent demise of the HD-DVD format, Blu-Ray is now the wave of the future. Standard DVD should still be around for a while, and I’ve heard that Blu-Ray players can also play standard DVDs, so I don’t have anything to worry about.

With the recent death of HD-DVD, Popular Mechanics recently wrote about the top 10 expired home video formats spanning the last 40 years. Two aspects of this article are interesting; first, in most cases, the magazine lists the costs of the machines, both what they sold for when introduced, and also what it would cost today, adjusted for inflation. Many of these machines, when first released, sold for upwards of $1,000, which seems ridiculous.

The second interesting aspect of the article was one of the machines, was favored by the DHARMA Initiative. Here’s the write-up on the U-Matic machine, one of which was foundin the Pearl Station:

These 0.75-in. videotape recorders used one of the first enclosed cartridge formats on the market. Debuting at $1395 ($7292 in 2008 dollars), the machines could record 60 minutes of color television at 250 lines of resolution with full stereo sound. Nevertheless, the price was too steep for mom-and-pop TV watchers, so U matic never really caught on with consumers. It did, however, catch on with professionals, and serves as a workhorse format in television production to this day.
-Popular Mechanics

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