As more debate rages around the latest electronic gadgets to hit the market (or soon to hit the market) and internet communities argue the curved TVs Pros and Cons and whether the new iWatch will succeed, I take a look at some other devices that haven’t quite caught the public’s imagination.
Introduced as direct competition to VHS, Beta Max claimed to provide better sound and visuals in the 1970s. A war of attrition commenced into the eighties – VHS boasted their superior length whereas Betamax, with support from Sony, stuck steadfastly to their claims of technical superiority. Unfortunately, it was a battle the Japanese format were doomed to lose. They stopped being exported as long ago as the early nineties and were finally laid to rest in 2002.
Apart from a brief stint of vogue in the UK, 8 Track tapes only enjoyed mass popularity in the US. The cartridge was soon replaced with cassettes which were smaller and had the rewind function which was absent on the 8 track. However, many maintain that the 80s classic provides better sound quality.
The Dreamcast was the second of two consoles flops by Sega after they enjoyed so much success with the Mega Drive in the halcyon days of the early nineties. It’s hard to determine what the cause was for the Dreamcast’s downfall but many think it’s capability to connect to the internet and use of CDs instead of cartridges was ahead of its time. It spelt the end of Sega’s involvement in developing home gaming consoles.
Games consoles could have an article all to themselves but the Nintendo Gamecube was another major fail by a big time home entertainment player. With the GameCube, Nintendo moved into the family-friendly video game market which has worked long-term with the Wii but was not welcomed at the time in a very much a teen-dominated arena.
They were supposed to be the answer to everyone’s problems: The sound quality of CD with the recording function of cassettes but with the plastic casing to protect from scratches. Sony proclaimed it a revolution, the future of sound. Then MP3 came along and spoiled everything.
Still not completely dead but certainly in technology’s intensive care unit there are a few reasons why 3D has not made the leap from big to small screen. One reason was that the rush to convert on-screen material into 3D meant it often looked low quality. Consumers were also not willing to fork out for multiple pairs of 3D glasses which meant that programming such as sport – a group viewing activity and key area for the home 3D market – never took off in 3D.