VHS vs Beta myth @Anonymous Coward
It's really a bit of a myth that Beta was better than VHS - in fact any demonstrably superior technology tends to win out - it's just that in our complex world the reality is often more ambiguous than one thing simply being better than the other.
Originally Betamax was perceived to offer higher quality picture and sound (although VHS played catch-up), HOWEVER Betamax had a lower capacity per cassette, which meant that you often had to get two of them to show a whole film.
As people in the IT industry we often make strident statements about one technology being better than another because of some technical advantage - essentially we are all twelve year old boys at heart and like to play top-trumps...however reality too often refuses to behave like a perfect sphere moving in a vacuum.
I do remember as a child, though, that Staffordshire County Council insisted on having Betamax video players. This has the unintended side-effect of making them virtually un-nickable, as your local smack-head couldn't get anything for a player which would only, by then, play educational videos nicked from the school.