Television History - The First 75 Years
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VCR and Home Video History 


Before the days of VCRs (Video cassette recorders), there were machines called VTRs (Video tape recorders).

The VTRs -- video tape recorders -- were similar to reel-to-reel audio tapes, with large spools of multi-track magnetic tapes, from 1/2" to 2" wide by 7,000 feet long, moving at high lineal tape speed (20 to 30 feet per second for the early machines).  This high speed was necessary to fit all of the black and white picture information onto the tape.

Experimentation with magnetic tape recording of video signals began just post World-War II.  Prototype machines were built in the early 1950s.  The first practical, commercial broadcast quality video recorder was released by Ampex in 1956.  The model VR-1000  cost $50,000 and used 2" wide videotape. KING-TV in Seattle got Serial Number 1. (CBS in Hollywood had earlier received the first production prototype, the VRX-1000.)

World's First Broadcast via Videotape  --  CBS airing of the Douglas Edward and the News program on November 30, 1956, from New York. CBS Television City in Hollywood replayed the broadcast three hours after it was received on the West Coast.  The show was in black and white (the VR-1000 was designed for B&W - it could not handle color broadcasts).

World's First All-Transistor VTR (Video Tape Recorder) -- RCA's 1962 release of the TR-22 -- Commercial Use Only

World's First VTR Intended for Home Use -- Developed by SONY in 1964 -- CV-2000 (only a few hundred were sold)
        Size: 10-3/4" High x 17" Wide x 15.5" Deep.  Tape: 1/2" reel-to-reel, 1 hour max. record at 7-1/2 ips.

World's First Video Cassette Recorder (for home use)  --  Phillips Model 1500 
         Introduced in England in 1972 -- 22" Wide x 6.5" High x 15" Deep

First VHS VCR --  JVC's  HR-3300 -- Introduced in the Fall of 1977  -- featured a 2 hour recording time.

World's First HD-Compatible Digital VCR in U.S. Market (July 1999) --  Panasonic PV HD-1000

Panasonic NV-9300 UMATIC VTR.JPG (29608 bytes) (30K)
Late-1970s Panasonic NV-9300 U-Matic VCR 3/4" Tape
Size: 27" Long x 9" high x 20" deep
Weight:  "A Ton"
Cost New: $5,000 

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