Betamax or Beta video cassettes in PAL, NTSC, Beta-HiFi, Super Beta
rectangular, dark grey, plastic video cassette

Sony Beta video cassette

introduction to Betamax cassette transfer

Betamax was (aka Beta) was the first commercially successful, consumer-level, analogue videocassette recording format. It was developed by Sony and launched in 1975.

At Greatbear, we carefully restore and digitise all types of Betamax video cassette, recorded in PAL, NTSC, Beta-HiFi and Super Beta.

We also transfer PCM audio recorded to Betamax tape.

We offer a range of delivery formats for our video transfers. Following International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives TC-06 guidelines, we deliver FFV1 lossless files or 10-bit uncompressed video files in .mkv or .mov containers for archives. We can also produce Apple ProRes mezzanine files for ease of editing. We provide smaller viewing files as H.264 encoded .mp4 files or on DVD. We're happy to create any other digital video files, according to your needs.

We can provide the appropriately-sized USB delivery media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

Betamax video cassette recordings can vary both in duration and in the extent of physical tape degradation, so we always assess tapes before confirming the price of a transfer.

We offer free assessments - please contact us to discuss your project.

For an introduction to our assessment and treatment processes, please see our guide to "what happens to your video tape".

Betamax machines

  • Sony F-30
  • Sony SL-HF100 Beta hi-fi
  • Sony SL-HF150 Beta hi-fi
  • Sony SL-T50
  • Sony SL-700ME Super Beta PAL / NTSC / SECAM

Betamax format variation

black rectangular cassette with ivory-coloured plastic reel hubs, resembling inverted cog wheels

Sony Betamax cassette rear, showing reel-hubs

2 rack-based Sony Betamax machines, the upper one labelled 7 system, the lower one with PAL button lit up

Sony SL-700ME Super Beta PAL / NTSC / Secam & Sony SL-T50 machines

Rectangular, dark grey, plastic video cassette with rulers showing width 15.6cm and height 9.6 cm

Betamax cassette dimensions: 15.6 × 9.6 × 2.5 cm (6​1⁄7 × 3​3⁄4 × 1 inch)

Betamax tape risks & vulnerabilities

Betamax recording history

Beta and Betamax logos black and white

Betamax logos

Video cassettes, tape boxes, compatible cameras and playback machines for the Betamax format can be identified by these logos. Betamax is a trademark of the Sony Corporation.