Betamax vs. VHS - What does this tell us? How would Deming explain this?

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
Betamax - Better but fails in the market.
VSH - Cheaper and ends up being the 'standard'.

What does this tell us? How would Deming explain this?
 
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A

Al Dyer

#2
Sounds like the opposite of cassette vs 8 track and I wish I knew how he would explain it.

In your example I would like to say that if he was talking automotive it would be self explanatory.:)
 
G

Graeme

#3
Marc and Al,

My fuzzy memory is telling me that, while Betamax was a superior product on the "technical" level, the VHS tape transport mechanism was easier and less expensive to mass-produce. Also, the technical differences were of a nature that mattered to broadcast engineers but which we ordinaly folk can't tell the difference between.

As for 8-track vs. cassette, I don't know any of the "real" scoop but I do remember what sold me on cassettes. They were smaller, less expensive, CLEAN, had small hand-held recorders (great for college lecture notes), and I could send them to relatives in other countries where 8-track had never been heard of to any great extent. (At that time, remote places like England and New Zealand.)

I think at least part of the answer in both cases is quality as perceived by the consumer. Could it be that the majority of consumers choose not to buy the "technically superior" product if they have the choice of another that is "good enough" and is less expensive? In both cases I think that answer is a resounding YES.

"But what does the customer need? How can we be useful to him? What does he think he needs? Can he pay for it? No one has all the answers. Fortunately, it is not necessary to have all the answers for good management." (Out of the Crisis, pg. 175)

(By the way, do either of you know where I can get a new stylus for my LP record player? :D )

Graeme
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
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#4
Dr. Deming used to refer to Dr. Taguchi’s Loss Function (Marc, here is one more for the “Other Gurus”) in cases such as this. Graeme’s answer is about right, in my opinion.

Dr. Taguchi’s loss function shows where losses occur, before and after the targeted value in a parabola. Not enough quality was to the left, too much quality to the right. Oddly enough, having too much quality built into a product where the consumer does not need it or want it only adds to economic losses for the producer and the consumer, provided there isn’t another option available. In this case, the Customer value statement focused on the desired level of quality in consideration to necessary equipment and convenience of format and cost. While Beta is superior in many ways technically, physically it may have been less popular making it an inferior product. Consider this further when examining the buyer: an American in a ‘disposable goods’ society.

This is an excellent example of Dr. Taguchi’s loss function. I will remember to use this.

Regards,

Kevin

Added by Marc on 15 October 2001:

See http://www.mv.com/ipusers/rm/loss.htm

and

http://Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=1441
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#5
Upon further research, it appears that Dr. Deming may have preceded Dr. Taguchi in publishing a loss function. Although the loss function wears Dr. Taguchi's name, Dr. Deming published a definition of a loss function in early 1960 where as Dr. Taguchi released his definition late that same year.

I used The New Economics as my reference, so bias may be present, although I doubt it. Dr. Deming was all to likely to have given proper credit as his books are littered with such notations.

Just in case you were interested.

Regards,

Kevin
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
I wonder what role advertising has in the acceptance or rejection of options. I know there is the cost factor.

In the 8 Track issue, that was a pass-down attempt from commercial machines. As I understand it the design worked well in commercial use but consumer use subjected them to much more extreme 'use' and the design didn't hold up.
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#7
Marc,

That does sound familiar. As I recall when working at a little family restaurant, we had a tape the would run all day without duplication. Press play at the start of a day, stop 16+ hours later.

Kev
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#8
Probably the same. When they hit the consumer market there were very high failure rates (the tapes, not so much the players). And they were dirty because of what I remember to be a graphite like lubricant. Sunlight warped cases easily. I had - as I remember - 2 or 3 different (1 inside and 2 diffrent car units) 8 track systems and at one time had probably 100 or so 8 track tapes (God knows what I ever did with them). I remember I had a really nice AM/FM/8 Track by Pioneer which mounted flat on the floor in my van (you know how we hippies were). It slanted up at the driver. It was a powerful unit and really sounded good, but jeeze. Always tapes sticking or breaking.
 
#10
Beta vs VHS

There is another facet to this story. We must also look at political decisions. In the case of Betamax (I believe it was Sony) decided they would not make the technology available to others. The developer of VHS (JVC) decided to share the technology. The result was that VHS (the lesser technology) grew, while Betamax constricted. Even though Betamax was better, technically, the buying public was willing to accept the inferior VHS.

Quality is decided by the customer, and for the cost VHS was “close enough”.

I hope I got the story right. If not, oh well!!!

Dave B (the other Dave)
:D
 
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