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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Betamax
TOS 01 Beta Package

A Betamax release

Betamax, also known as simply Beta, was a home video format introduced on 10 May 1975 by Sony, three years before its main rival VHS. Star Trek releases on Beta included the first six films, all episodes of The Original Series and The Animated Series and the first three episodes of The Next Generation before the formats demise in the early 90s.

Beta tapes were first released in boxes that were slightly larger than the tape itself providing for a tight fit. Similar to that one had with the sleeve one gets 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 used to cover up the VHS logo.

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Release chronology

Dates in italics are approximate.

Date Product released
1980
October Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Unknown Star Trek: Television Classics volumes 1-5
1982
July Star Trek: "Space Seed"
November Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1983
March Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Special Longer Version
1985
February Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek episodes 1-10 (Group 1)
May Star Trek episodes 11-20 (Group 2)
November Star Trek episodes 21-30 (Group 3)
1986
April Star Trek episodes 31-40 (Group 4)
November Star Trek episodes 41-50 and "The Cage" (Group 5), 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 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
September Star Trek episodes 51-60 (Group 6)
1988
April Star Trek episodes 61-70 (Group 7) and 71-79 (Group 8)
1989
July Star Trek: The Animated Series volumes 1-11
December Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Unknown Star Trek "The Cage" All-Color Collector's Edition
1991
5 September Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes 1-4
Unknown Star Trek - The Collector's Edition
1992
June Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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