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The quest for home video
Chronology

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1935    
•  Gerald Cock, Director of BBC Television, forecasts that ‘telegram’ sets will replace radiograms and long-running film records will be used instead of discs, the picture track being shown on the home television screen.
1959    
August  Grundig shows a simple monochrome video camera at the Berlin Radio Show (Funkausstellung). It costs £190 and is aimed at the amateur market. It plugs into the television receiver aerial socket.  
September  Toshiba VTR1Toshiba of Japan demonstrates its prototype VTR-1 helical scan videotape recorder. Two-inch tape runs at 15 inches per second. The demonstration spurs Sony to start a research and development programme in helical scan video recording.  
October 9  JVC applies for a patent on a two-head helical scan videotape recorder.  
December  General Electric Company of America announces a new system of video recording called thermoplastic recording. The process uses a high-melting-point film base coated with a transparent conducting layer and a thin layer of low-melting-point thermoplastic. Video information is laid down by an electron beam and the film is then heated to deform the surface in accordance with the information. Playback is by means of diffraction optics.  
December  JVC completes KV-1, its first production VTR and the first two-head helical scan recorder.  
•  Professor Okamura of Tokyo University of Electro-Communications patents the slant azimuth method of video recording later used extensively in all domestic video machines.  
1960    
January 9  JVC’s KV-1 helical scan VTR is shown publicly.  
July  Pulsed ruby laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), invented by Dr Charles H Townes, is demonstrated by its maker Theodore H Maiman (1927-2007) at Hughes Aircraft Company Research Laboratories, Malibu, California. It is the first practical laser of any kind.  
autumn  Colour version of JVC’s helical scan VTR, KV-2, is completed.  
1961    
January  JVC announces a two-head helical scan colour videotape recorder, model 770. Tape speed of 15 inches per second gives a recording time of 90 minutes.  
March  Stanford Research Institute (SRI) at Menlo Park, California, begins research into a photographic television recording disc in conjunction with 3M. The aim is to produce an inexpensive home video system.  
September  Kodak announces a new method for direct electron-beam recording on silver halide film. This anticipates the recording techniques used for CBS's EVR system.  
September  At the Berlin Radio Show (Funkausstellung) German consumer electronics manufacturer Loewe demonstrates its Optacord 500 videotape recorder.
Loewe Optacord 500
•  Siemens and Halke of Munich develop a magnetic video disc for recording single frames.  
1962    
June  Machtronics of California introduces high standard portable helical scan videotape recorder MVR-10 using one-inch tape running at 7.5 inches per second (ips). Machine contains a monitor and records for up to 90 mins. Followed by MVR-11, without monitor, weighing 65 lb.  
October  First images recorded and played back from 3M/SRI optical video disc.  
1963    
March  Sony introduces the world’s first fully transistorised portable videotape recorder, PV-100, for industrial use.  
June 24  Telcan fixed-head longitudinal videotape recorder intended for home-taping of television programmes is demonstrated on BBC television news. Developed by Norman Rutherford and Michael Turner of Nottingham Electronic Valve Company (NEVC), the machine uses quarter-inch tape running at 120 ips past fixed heads, carrying two 15-minute tracks. The intended price is £61 19s (£61.90). Both Telcan and NEVC collapsed. Click for picture Telcan
•  US firm Machtronics introduces helical scan videotape recorder.  
1964    
April  Winston Research Corporation, division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation, introduces a low-cost fixed-head videotape recorder using quarter-inch tape running at 120 ips.  
1965    
July  MVR of California demonstrates a single-frame video disc machine capable of recording 600 still frames or 20 seconds of action for immediate replay.  
July  US firm Westinghouse announces Phonovid system for recording and playback of still pictures and sound on a television screen from an ordinary home record player.  
August  MVR video disc machine VDR-210CF built to CBS specifications is used for instant replays on CBS coverage of an American football game.  
•  Matsushita introduces a compact half-inch industrial videotape recorder to match the Sony CV series.  
•  Sony introduces the first monochrome half-inch tape Video Rover portapak—used almost immediately by New York video artist Nam June Paik.  
•  German consumer electronics firm Loewe announces plans to market the Optacord 600 home entertainment centre—a combined television receiver and videotape recorder.
Loewe Optacord 600
•  Wesgrove home video recorder is developed in the UK (based on the Telcan). Outwardly resembling a Ferrograph audio recorder, it employs ¼-inch tape running at 90, 120 or 150 ips and giving up to 30 minutes' recording time on 11½-inch reels. A do-it-yourself kit, VKR-500, goes on sale for £97 10s (£97.50).  
1966    
March  Sony announces Videomat and Video Color Demonstrator machines using plastic discs for recording and playback of monochrome moving pictures and colour still pictures respectively. These developments are forerunners of the Mavica electronic stills camera system.  
April  Ampex announces VR-6000 fixed-head home video recorder using one-inch tape and having built-in tuner for recording one programme while watching another, and optional camera.  
April  Westel firm of California announces a portable television camera and back-pack recorder, WRC-150, weighing 7 lb and 23 lb respectively. Recorder holds 30 minutes’ supply of one-inch tape.  
1967    
July  Newell Associates of California announces a high speed fixed-head videotape recorder using tape speeds of up to 1,000 ips.  
October  CBS announces Electronic Video Recording (EVR) using twin-track 8.75mm film onto which signals are transferred by electron beam recording, one track for luminance, the other for either chrominance (to produce colour images) or luminance (to produce a second monochrome track). The 750 ft film is on a seven-inch diameter spool in a plastic cartridge. It is thus barely electronic, not really video and certainly not intended for home recording. The development team is led by Dr Peter Goldmark. CBS's partners are ICI and the Swiss chemicals company Ciby-Geigy. > 1968
November  International Video Corporation (IVC) of America introduces low-cost one-inch helical scan videotape recorder, model 800, weighing 52 lb and giving 60 minutes’ recording.  
•  Matsushita announces magnetic sheet concentric video recorder, VSR.  
1968    
February  Arvin Industries in US introduces prototype fixed-head colour videotape recorder. It uses 4,800 ft of half-inch tape compressed in a self-threading cartridge running at 160 ips.  
•  CBS demonstrates its EVR system of video playback to the US press. à 1969
EVR
1969    
April  Sony announces its first colour videocassette recorder. Known as the Magazine Videocorder, it uses one-inch tape running at 3.25 ips giving 60 minutes’ recording time. Sony’s one-inch videotape recorder model EV310, costing £1,200, is introduced this year.  
June 17  JVC announces plans to market cartridge video recorder using half-inch tape running at 7.5 ips for a maximum playing time of 30 mins. Audio to be on dual stereo tracks. JVC, Matsushita and Sony discuss standardisation of colour format under auspices of Electronic Industries Association of Japan (EIAJ).  
July 21  First public demonstration of EVR home video system at the International Audio-Visual Exhibition (Internavex) at Olympia in London. > 1970
EVR
September 30  RCA demonstrates its HoloTape video playback system. This appears to be a rushed response to EVR as the prototype machine has no audio facility.
HoloTape
October 27  Vidicord teleplayer is demonstrated in London. Using Super 8 cine film, stored in a cassette, it plays back in monochrome via the aerial socket of a conventional television receiver. The player costs £370.
Vidicord
October  RCA announces SelectaVision HoloTape holographic video playback system.  
October  EIAJ Type 1 video cartridge specifications are agreed and announced.  
  Electronic Industries Association of Japan sets CP-504 unified standards for non-broadcast open-reel videotape recorders.  
November  Matsushita introduces a magazine video recorder with audio-type cassettes containing two reels of EIAJ standard reels of videotape.  
November  Sony announces a new home videocassette machine called Color Videoplayer, using three-quarter-inch tape running at 3.15 ips, giving 90 minutes' playback with two audio tracks. A revamped version of this machine is re-introduced in 1972 as the U-matic system.  
1970    
February  JVC launches its first portable videotape recorder, model PKV-830.  
March  First demonstration by CBS of colour EVR.  
March  Sony introduces a new version of its colour videoplayer and mass printing system.  
May  Memorex of California announces a thermal contact method for duplicating videotapes.  
June 24  Teldec television disc (later known as TeD) is demonstrated in Berlin-the result of a joint venture between AEG-Telefunken and Teldec (the latter a joint venture of AEG-Telefunken and Britain's Decca Record Company). TeD video disc
June  Philips announces and gives the first public demonstration of its Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) system using half-inch tape coaxially mounted in a cassette and running at 5.6 ips.  
July  Cartridge Television division of Avco Corporation announces its Cartrivision half-inch videotape, giving 100 minutes of record/play from a continuous loop cartridge recorder.  
September  Ampex announces the Instavideo cartridge video system, using half-inch tape compatible with EIAJ standards designed in modular form so that the basic monochrome recorder could be portable with an optional camera. It is to be manufactured by Toamco, a joint venture with Toshiba, but Ampex later backs out of the arrangement.  
October  Du Pont describes a thermo-remanent process for high-speed duplication of chromium dioxide videotapes.  
•  Sony announces a portable half-inch open-reel colour videotape recorder.  
1971    
April 19-23  First International Cartridge TV, Videocassette and Videodisc Conference (VIDCA) organised by American Billboard publications and attended by over 600 commercial representatives is held at Cannes, France.  
October  Sony, Matsushita and JVC announce 3/4-inch U-matic cassette format for colour video recording.  
October 26  JVC announces its first U-format video recorders.  
December 23  CBS announces its withdrawal from the EVR Partnership.  
•  JVC markets the U-format video system based on Sony’s three-quarter-inch standard.  
1973    
May  JVC unveils a U-format videocassette recorder with integral tuner for off-air reception.  
August  Kodak announces VP-1 videoplayer for showing Super 8 film on television receivers. Go to VP-1 Kodak VP-1
1974    
January 8  JVC CR-4400JVC CR-4400JVC announces its CR-4400 U-format portable videocassette recorder.  
September 23  Philips and MCA agree on a merger of their respective video disc systems, Philips to produce and sell VLP hardware, MCA to develop and market Disco-Vision software. Formally ratified by the companies’ boards of directors on October 7.  
•  Philips acquires American consumer electronics company Magnavox.  
1975    
March 17  TeD video disc system is launched commercially in West Germany. Go to TeD video disc TeD
April 16  Sony announces the launch of the Betamax videocassette recorder format in Japan. Using half-inch tape cassettes, the format is launched in the US in November/December.  
•  Japanese companies Mitsubishi and Nintendo collaborate on the development of a video game application for the EVR video format. Go to EVR EVR
1976    
September 9  JVC HR-3300JVC unveils its VHS (Video Home System) half-inch videocassette recorder format at the Hotel Okura, Tokyo. Go to VHS VHS
September  Sony develops a laser-read digital audio disc system based on Laservision video disc format giving 30 mins playing time per side at 1,800rpm.  
October  Sony announces development of digital audio processor for use with videotape recorder for 12-bit quantised two-channel recording and playback.  
1977    
March 20  JVC places two-page advertisement in Asahi Shimbun newspaper to launch VHS video format in Japan.  
June 4  VHS VidstarVHS videocassette format is introduced to America under the name Vidstar at a press show the day before the Consumer Electronics Show starts in Chicago.  
June  Sony and NHK develop PAU-1602 digital audio processor for use with the U-matic videocassette recorder.  
September  Sony launches PCM-1 digital audio processor on consumer market for use with Betamax videocassette recorders.  
September  Digital audio disc system using PCM direct recording method developed by Sony. Player uses laser read-out to give one hour’s recording and playback per 900 rpm disc side.  
October  Six Japanese manufacturers have by now adopted the VHS videocassette recording format.  
October  Japanese manufacturers develop optical digital audio disc.  
November 8  Philips/MCA optical audio disc, playing 30 minutes a side, is demonstrated in London.  
December  JVC signs contract for OEM supplies of VHS recorders to Saba in West Germany.  
1978    
March  JVC signs contract for OEM supplies of VHS recorders to Thomson-Brandt in France and Nordmende in West Germany.  
spring  Recommended retail price in the UK of a JVC HR 3300 VHS videocassette recorder—the only JVC model available—is £710 plus VAT, making a total of £781. A three-hour tape costs £13.43 plus VAT (total: £14.77) but 30-minute, one-hour and two-hour versions are also available. JVC price list
June  Thorn EMI Ferguson in UK adopts the VHS videocassette recording format.  
October  Sony develops a long-play digital audio optical disc system using laser read-out of 450 rpm discs to give 150 mins playing time per side.  
December 15  The Philips/MCA LaserVision video disc system is launched on the US market in three stores in Atlanta, Georgia. Magnavision players, made by Magnavox, have a retail price of $695. Discs of recent feature film sell for around $15.95, classic films and television programming for $9.95.  
1979    
April  Sony announces a small-format optical digital audio disc.  
September  Electrostatic digital audio disc developed in Japan by JVC is adopted by 29 manufacturers.  

Page created 23 March 2006