[Cross-posted to the Ampex List]
Interesting reading the 1965 "Annual Issue On Tape" of High Fidelity Magazine.
Ampex content first. Mention is made on pages 39 and 104 of the Ampex VR-303, "a video recorder that
runs at 100-ips and uses 1/4-inch tape." The article describes the machine as using a 12" reel of
tape capable of 25 minutes in each direction, with auto-reverse. The machine is described as using
fixed heads. Anyone have one of these machines? Any more details? Scans of literature?
The same article describes the Norelco EL-3400 machine, which used 1-inch tape "reeled off at 9 ips
past a rotating head - the result is a scanning speed of 1086 ips." The machine is further described
as using 8-inch reels capable of 42 minutes recording time and costing $65.
Both the Ampex and Norelco machines are described as costing $3950 -- in 1965 dollars!
Interesting side note -- Norelco apparently loaned one of these units to Andy Warhol in 1965,
wanting him to write an article about using it. See the description of its short life in The Factory
about halfway down this page, under the heading "Outer and Inner Space."
Anyone have more details on the Norelco machine? Were they produced for retail sale? How long was
this format in use? It seems to be a forerunner of the Japanese 1/2" reel to reel video recorders of
the early 70's.
Finally, in the High Fidelity magazine, on page 31, "High Fidelity Newsfronts," a section describes
Westinghouse's Videodiscs, a form of LP records "gets up to 400 still shots and 40 minutes of sound
... playing at 33 rpm." Further: "the video and audio information in the record groove is picked up
by the stylus of an ordinary audio cartridge, and fed to the scan converter, which decodes sound and
picture and feeds them to the TV set." Also: "the technique involves multiplexing audio and video
information onto the normal 20-kc bandwidth of a microgroove disc." I'm assuming this is slow-scan
video, since it's still pictures? Was this ever commercialized?
-- Tom Fine