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  1. Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    South Australia
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    I have a betamax tape deck (sl-c30) & someone has given me a betamax tape to transfer.
    Ive put it in the deck. I can't see any vision, but can hear audio. The audio is very slow & distorted.
    Did betamax players/recorders use LP and SP or are there different types of betamax decks that play different tapes?
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  2. The most likely issue is the tape being recorded in one of the Beta sub-formats that are incompatible with the standard PAL Betamax format.

    NTSC (USA/Canada/Japan) Betamax models ranged across three different speeds: BI, BII, BIII. The original Betamax was BI, getting only 60 mins on an L500 blank. When VHS arrived with its 120 min capacity, Sony was forced to cut the Beta running speed in half to create the new "BII" standard and get 120 mins on an L500, then later added BIII to get 180 mins. PAL-format Beta VCRs standardized at roughly the BII speed to get 130 mins on L500.

    Parallel to this, Sony also developed a plethora of higher-quality professional variations known as "Betacam" used mostly for live event taping and news gathering. Betacam runs even faster than BI, getting only 20 mins from an L500.

    So chances are, the lack of picture output and slowed audio means the problematic tape is in either NTSC BI format (unlikely in Australia), or a professional Betacam recording. Neither is compatible with a consumer PAL vcr like your SL-C30, unfortunately. Or, the tape could simply be in bad condition: if it has edge damage, the VCR has difficulty locking on to correct playback speed resulting in garbled video/audio.
    Last edited by orsetto; 1st Apr 2021 at 05:22.
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