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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Betamax

Betamax, also known as simply Beta, was a home video format introduced on 10 May 1975 by Sony, one year before its main rival, the similar videotape format VHS. Star Trek releases on Beta included the first six films, all episodes of The Original Series and The Animated Series and various episodes of The Next Generation before the format's demise in the early '90s. Due to the co-existence of both formats, titles, including those of Star Trek, were released concurrently in both formats, until Betamax – even though it was technically the superior one of the two – lost the format war and was phased out near the end of the 1980s. That Betamax held out for as long as it did was due to the popularity it initially enjoyed in the US and France in particular, persevering well after VHS had been universally embraced by the rest of the world.

TOS 01 Beta Package

A Betamax release

Beta tapes were first released in boxes that were slightly larger than the tape itself providing for a tight fit, similar to the sleeve that come with a blank video tape. All of the episodes, including the color version of "The Cage", were first released in this fashion. Paramount was one of the last, if not the last, studio to release video tapes in the Betamax format. Beta tapes released towards the end of the format's life were often in the boxes made for the commercially more popular VHS format. Star Trek releases were no exception to this and Beta tapes of the episodes were released in VHS sized boxes, with a piece of cardboard inserted into the box to make for a tighter fit and a big sticker on the front of the box saying "BETA" and smaller ones on the side of the box saying "Beta" that were used to cover up the VHS logo.

Release chronology Edit

Dates in italics are approximate.

1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993

Date Country Product released
1980
October US Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Unknown US Star Trek: Television Classics volumes 1-5 (all)
Unknown UK Star Trek - Shore Leave (Mountain)
1981
May UK Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Unknown UK Star Trek - Where No Man Has Gone Before, Star Trek - The Menagerie (EVC)
1982
May UK Star Trek - Trouble with Tribbles (Mountain)
June UK Star Trek - Amok Time, Star Trek - Dagger of the Mind (Mountain)
July US Star Trek: Space Seed
November US Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1983
March US Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Special Longer Version
April UK Star Trek - CIC-Arena 1 of 2
October UK Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
December UK Star Trek - CIC-Arena 2 of 2
Unknown Germany Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1984
October UK Star Trek - Double Bill
Unknown Japan Star Trek: The Motion Picture
1985
February US Tapes 1-10 ("Group 1") of 80 for Star Trek, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
March UK Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
April UK Volume 1 of Star Trek: The Animated Series (Rental)
May US Tapes 11-20 ("Group 2") of 80 for Star Trek
November US Tapes 21-30 ("Group 3") of 80 for Star Trek
Unknown Japan Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
1986
April US Tapes 31-40 ("Group 4") of 80 for Star Trek
November US Tapes 41-51 ("Group 5") of 80 for Star Trek; Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Special Longer Version, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock re-releases
1987
30 September US Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
September US Tapes 52-61 ("Group 6") of 80 for Star Trek
Unknown Australia Star Trek: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" & "The Corbomite Maneuver"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Unknown UK Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Volumes 1-2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Rental)
1988
April US Tapes 62-71 ("Group 7") & 72-79 ("Group 8") of 80 for Star Trek
1989
July US Volumes 1-11 (all) for Star Trek: The Animated Series
21 December US Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Unknown US Tape 80 of 80 for Star Trek ("The Cage" All-Color Collector's Edition)
1991
5 September US Tapes 1-3 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
Unknown US Star Trek - The Collector's Edition
1992
12 March US Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Director's Series
1 April US Tapes 4-7 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
1 July US Tapes 8-13 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
26 August US Tapes 14-17 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
11 November US Tapes 18-21 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
1993
26 May US Tapes 22-25 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
25 August US Tapes 26-29 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
13 October US Tapes 30-33 of 33 for Star Trek: The Next Generation
Unknown
Unknown Australia Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Unknown Spain Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Unknown Turkey Volumes 1-2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Unknown UK Star Trek - Trouble with Tribbles (Videon)
Unknown UK Volumes 2-4 of Star Trek: The Animated Series (Rental)

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