1. Sony Betamax video
Japanese electronics giant Sony fought hard to convince us that its Betamax video system was better than the rival VHS back in the late 1970s and into the 1980s.
But the cheaper VHS system won the day – although you might be surprised to know that Betamax continued in production until the end of 2002.
(Original image by Bettenburg at de.wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Also known as DiscoVision in the US, LaserDiscs were the size of dinner plates but lacked a key function when it came to consumer versions. They could not record TV, which meant you still needed a video recorder.
But while LaserDiscs found a limited market in the US and Europe, it was a hit with videophiles thanks to its higher video and audio quality compared to Betamax and VHS tapes.
It was also more popular in Japan – where prices were kept lower – and parts of South East Asia. But the technology used in LaserDiscs was the basis for CDs, DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
(Image of laser disc: By Marcus Rowland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
3. Sega Dreamcast
It was the first games console to come with a built-in modem to link to online gaming and shifted some big initial numbers after its launch in 1998.
It made Sega $100 million on its first day on sale in the US, according to technology news site cnet.com. But that early success tailed off as the wildly popular Sony Playstation 2 arrived – with the Dreamcast proving to be Sega’s last ever games console. But many feel the Dreamcast was ahead of its time.
(Image: Sega Dreamcast by Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
4. Microsoft Tablet PC
Apple may get the plaudits for helping create today’s market for tablet computers thanks to the iPad, but Microsoft actually unveiled a Windows tablet PC prototype back in 2000.
The company said the vision for its Tablet PC was that it would be a full Windows computer but with the ability of the user to write on the screen using a stylus, with devices coming to market two years later.
But the stylus has been identified by some in the industry as one of the reasons why the Tablet PC failed to take off unlike the “touch and swipe” iPad several years later.
(Image of HP Tablet PC running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition by Janto Dreijer (Own work (I took this photo)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
5. 3D TV
A controversial choice for such a modern piece of tech perhaps, but 3D TV seemed to be over before it had begun.
Back in July 2013, the BBC revealed it was suspending 3D programming indefinitely due to a “lack of public appetite” for the technology.
Some might wonder whether the special glasses needed for sets could have something to do with it. Apparently, the next big thing is 4K TV…