Introduced in 1975 in the form of the Sony LV-1901, Beta was the first video cassette recorder intended for consumers. (VHS, a JVC creation, came 2 years later, and V2000, made by philips, came after that.)
Eventually overtaken by VHS, due to VHS's cheaper decks; Consumers bought what they could afford, and movies for it, meaning fewer Beta decks, meaning less demand for Beta movies, starting a vicious cycle that eventually killed Beta.
By 1989, Beta was effectively dead in the consumer market, although it is still used in Professional set ups, and by a few "Betaphiles".
Also known by the names "Betamax" and "Betacord".