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Throwback Thursday: Do you remember the Betamax?

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Digital aficianado and Domain Group Product Director, Damon Pezaro, will be taking on our digital past with a regular Throwback Thursday column - kicking things off today with a flashback to the Betamax... 


Given the rate of change we have all lived through in recent times, it is often surprising (and comical) to see how dated some of our old favourite technology products have become. We thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and visit something from the technology vault from years gone by.

To kick things off, I thought we would revisit an old video recording technology, namely the Betamax, or Beta, videocassette.


This little gem was the only way to record, or tape as it was commonly referred to, your favourite TV shows. You were lucky to be able to record for an hour in the early days of this technology and I vividly remember having to "switch over tapes" to record anything of length such as the Royal wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Di back in 1981.

Yes, for those of you raised in the digital age, this is what we did before cable television, Netflix, YouTube and the like. It was a lesson in patience to use these cassettes. You'd have to rewind it each time before recording over the tape.

This technology sparked the rise of video libraries, which as we all know, are now DVD stores, which are almost a rarity themselves already. The video libraries would fine you if you happened to return a cassette without rewinding it. That's how painful a process it was.

The technology gave rise to one of the great corporate battles of 80's between Betamax and VHS, often referred to as the "format wars". It is a well-documented story and a battle that ultimately VHS won, with arguably the key differentiation being the ability to record up to 4 hours on a VHS tape.

In today's age of video and music streaming services and always-on type services, it's important to remember the foundations that were paved all those years ago that have enabled the technology we enjoy today.

In a technology sense, we truly are standing on the shoulders of giants.


My time in the digital industry: Almost 15 years (makes me feel old just writing that)

My mission at Domain.com.au: Ultimately my mission is to create engaging user experiences for our audience. This is driven from a strong belief that we hold both a user-centric and data driven perspective and focus when delivering on our overall business objectives and goals.

My special blog topics: Product development, digital industry trends and insights as well as a look back into the past to revisit some of the technologies that we used to love.

Digital trend I'm most excited about: Disruption. Never before have we seen so many digital companies challenge existing business models. Often this is the result of absolute focus on a particular problem that is being solved in a far smarter way using the technology we have today.

Brand whose marketing I admire: I admire the companies that position their product and user experience to market themselves. Companies like Uber, AIrbnb and Square are great examples of this.

Favourite digital campaign of all times: Probably the way Radiohead released and promoted their "In Rainbows" album back in 2007. It was a radically different approach and done without a record company. It was a digital first approach and allowed for the album to be downloaded and fans to pay any price they wanted.

Digital tool/gadget I cannot live without: It would be a combination of my iPhone and the apps I can't live without. Those being my camera applications (used to snapshot my kids growing up) and Spotify.



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Guest Wednesday, 18 January 2017