Monday, March 22, 2010

And For The With-It Set; The Pulsing, Driving, Right-On Sound Of Rock! (in optional stereo)

Behold: THE FUTURE!  Well... sort of.  Whilst we take these days of $50 DVD recorders and DVRs for granted in our comfortable 21st century, home taping from TV in 1972 really was the stuff of the future.  If you missed a programme... well, tough.  You had to wait until it was repeated.  Enter Cartrivision, America's first domestic VCR! 

Note the jerkiness of the video; not because of a bad You Tube dub, Cartrivision operated on a creaky fifteen frames per second (NTSC is 30fps, PAL 25fps, by comparison) thanks to a recording/playback method of recording only the third video field and playing it back three times, a method that conserved video bandwidth, increasing the recording time of each cartridge to 114 minutes.  Betamax, introduced three years later, could only handle an hour in the early years.  Tapes featuring movies could be rented by mail (sounds familiar!) and played only once; the cartridges featured a rewind mechanism that could only be triggered by specialist equipment at the rental company.

What may have done for the format was the fact that its parent company, CTI, only sold the units as a VCR/TV combo with a hefty price tag of $1350.  That would run you almost seven grand in today's money.  The $700 standalone unit that could connect to any regular TV was scheduled for launch in 1973, but the company went bust before they could be manufactured.

Check the shamelessly extended commercial that popped up on an edition of "What's My Line?".  Confident, wasn't he?

Posted via web from The Paul And Spike Show

No comments: