People here working for Philips in Eindhoven still argue why the Video2000 recording system did not win from VHS. The Video2000 system was far better. It became a turkey not due to the fact that 'adult nature movies' were not available on time, but due to the fact that 9 on 10 of those V2000 recorders did not work properly ! ;-)
Anyway... It reminds me: Lots of those things with 2000 in their names went bust, isn't it ?
LaserDisc was pretty good - and was financially successful in Japan.
The irony is that most people thought it was some kind of digital standard when the recording was essentially a single RF carrier wave that was broken down into video and audio. Even the digital portion was just PCM encoded into part of the frequency spectrum. They also added Dolby AC-3 by recording over one of the analog stereo channels. I tried listening to the AC-3 stream as analog audio, and it sounded like some sort of patterned electronic noise.
I remember people who were in broadcasting, and I don't think they were using much Beta at the time of the VHS/Beta home format battle. They were using true professional formats like U-Matic and Betacam.
Quadraphonic lives on in spirit at least in x.1 (where X=5), surround sound, THX, etc., but yes, in itself, never lived up to the early hype.
Laserdisc actually did better than the typical turkey, and set the stage for CD/DVD. But who remembers RCA's boondoggle SelectaVision Capacitive Electronic Disc (CED) system? I'm just happy I did't lay any hard earned 1980's bucks on one of those puppies.
My eyes convinced me that Beta was a better format than VHS, and all films released at that time were available in both formats. Beta HiFi, which came out first, easily outperformed VHS "stereo" and could have been a game changer had JVC not released HiFi the following year. The war was lost to simple greed, not picture or sound quality. Sony didn't license Beta initially to other makers, and then later (too little, too late) to a small handful. By that point, everyone and his brother were making VHS machines, and price competition effectively shut Beta out of the volume mainstream consumer market. The final insult in this sad tale was Sony eventually caving in to produce VHS machines too.
IBM was not immune - Topview, and even OS2, though some argued it was better than Windows in it's day.
Some that I have been involved with: Ashton-Tate's Friday (circa 1984), National Instrument's BridgeView and HiQ.
And what about the latest HP gaffe, or should I say, 'gasp', in iPad's territory?
My favorites: Quadaphonic, LaserDisc, new Coke, smokeless cigarettes.
VHS won because of "pre-recorded" content AND specifically "ADULT" pre-recorded content. no more, no less ! Electronic News Gathering (ENG) exclusively used Beta and so did almost every cable / local broadcast..., but the comsumer paid for pre-recorded content. VHS companies went to Hollywood (both mainstream and Adult) and that was the deciding factor. End of Story.