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Why do people claim BETA had a better picture than VHS?

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Old 04-19-2007, 05:33 AM   #1  
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Default Why do people claim BETA had a better picture than VHS?

This one has always stumped me. They have identical specs (240 lines horizontal resolution), so why would some people claim the Beta has the better picture?
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:17 AM   #2  
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This one has always stumped me. They have identical specs (240 lines horizontal resolution), so why would some people claim the Beta has the better picture?

I don't know my uncle always claimed the same thing but I honestly could not see any difference.
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:29 AM   #3  
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This one has always stumped me. They have identical specs (240 lines horizontal resolution), so why would some people claim the Beta has the better picture?
Beta had 160 lines for the color signal while VHS only had 80

LD had 400 HR and 240 for color
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:10 AM   #4  
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I work in TV, and I can tell you that as a source, BETA is far and away superior to VHS in terms of PQ.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #5  
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Beta absolutely had a better picture (I've had both). However, S-VHS at it's slowest speed was just as good as the fastest beta speed. Except, S-VHS never, ever sold in decent enough numbers to keep that variant vibrant.
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Old 04-19-2007, 01:33 PM   #6  
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I can also tell you that for some reason, the colors on S-VHS bleed horribly as time goes on (10 years later on some of my material). More than Beta.
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:47 PM   #7  
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EDBeta was better than SVHS which was better than SuperBeta which was better than VHS HQ. W-VHS blows away all of the analog videotape formats I have owned. Good grief, I have owned all of those I mentioned.

The commercial/professional variants of Beta, Betacam, Beta SP, Betacam SP were indeed very good. Resolution doesn't tell the whole story, far from it with the analog video formats. Other factors are more important. The differences between the old Betamax and VHS were indeed very small, objective data indicated a slight improvement with Beta.

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Old 04-19-2007, 03:22 PM   #8  
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The explanation of Beta having higher color resolution makes sense. Is a standard TV capable of 140 chromo resolution? In another thread, people told me a NTSC tuner can not resolve that many chroma lines.
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I work in TV, and I can tell you that as a source, BETA is far and away superior
Bzzzz. Your tv studio uses PRO-beta which is not the same as Consumer Beta.

Consumer Betamax = 240 lines (composite signal)
Professional Betacam == 300 lines (different & non-compatible Component signal)

A Betacam recording will not work in a Betamax home set, and vice-versa. Your experience with Pro-betacam has no relevance to the Consumer betamax version.


Other standards (consumer):
240 - VHS or Beta
290 - SuperBeta
400 - Super VHS
500 - Beta ED
540 - DVD (if the video is not compressed)

For HD-video (consumer):
W-VHS (analog 480i or 1080i)
D-VHS (digital ATSC)

Last edited by electrictroy; 04-19-2007 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:02 PM   #9  
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I can also tell you that for some reason, the colors on S-VHS bleed horribly as time goes on (10 years later on some of my material).
Any idea why?

S-VHS uses a component signal with separated Luminance and Chroma. Consumer Betamax uses a composite signal. Therefore the S-VHS ought to be a much more stable recording. ----- I've got some S-VHS tapes of Babylon 5 from 1999. Maybe I ought to go check them out & see if they degraded.
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:38 PM   #10  
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I can also tell you that for some reason, the colors on S-VHS bleed horribly as time goes on (10 years later on some of my material). More than Beta.
S-VHS offered approx 400 line HR but it added nothing to the 80 line color signal.

S-VHS found it's market in the camcorder sales and semi-pro units that were considerably cheaper than the Sony Beta-Cam camcorders that many were previously using - especially at events like weddings and such
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Old 04-20-2007, 06:42 AM   #11  
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Beta had 160 lines for the color signal while VHS only had 80.

LD had 400 HR and 240 for color
Just curious. Where did you obtain this information about the chroma resolution?
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Old 04-20-2007, 06:45 AM   #12  
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Just curious. Where did you obtain this information about the chroma resolution?
From articles published in Perfect Vision in the 1980's. Many were authored by Joe Kane.
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Old 04-20-2007, 09:06 AM   #13  
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Nothing published online?
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Old 04-20-2007, 09:27 AM   #14  
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When consumer Beta was introduced (later called Beta X1 or B1), it's higher tape speed and overall electronics gave it more resolution and lower noise than VHS was introduced with. But it had only 1-hour of recording time--deemed insufficient for consumer recording and obviously insufficient for movies. Beta X2 (B2) halved the tape speed to get two-hours, but degraded the image quality from X1.

To really see the difference, you need to look at early Beta and VHS machines. Over the years, so many improvements were made to both that the best would look about equal now--I heard it expressed that by the end of Beta, the difference in image quality between given Beta and VHS machines could be less than the difference between two Beta machines, even two of the same models from the same manufacturer!
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:28 AM   #15  
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When consumer Beta was introduced (later called Beta X1 or B1), it's higher tape speed and overall electronics gave it more resolution and lower noise than VHS was introduced with.
I was under the impression the "240 lines" specification was refering to the fastest speed for both standards? (B-I and SP, respectively.)

While we're on the topic: Anybody know what the specs were for the old 1960s-era U-matic tapes?


Or the Selectavision videorecords? (I know my videorecords always looked better than the VHS versions.) [Edit - 3 megahertz, or about 240 lines]

Last edited by electrictroy; 04-23-2007 at 08:46 AM..
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