Video tape recorders hit the market 60 years ago reports on a topic perfect for the week before NAB: The VTR (and VCR)…

In 1956, the first video tape recorders hit the market. It was almost another 10 years before they became part of “home entertainment.” Bet you’ve still got a few VHS tapes lying around…

Video has gone through so many mutations it is hard to keep track. From Ampex’s studio-bound VRX-1000 Quadruplex tape machine in 1956 to more commercial models through the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

To be precise, the Ampex VRX-1000 was a reel-to-reel machine, but you do still talk of cassettes, and people say this is where the VCR began.

Even as a mainstream product back in the day, people often rented the machines along with the tapes to watch. And as the technology got more affordable, we used to share VHS tapes stuffed full of the latest music clips. That was when sharing was still legal. In any case it was before Digital Rights Management (DRM), so in my book, it was “legal.”


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