A Little History Lesson

For those of you brought up in the digital age without knowledge of analog technology that had plagued those before you, here is a very brief lesson in the history of video technology.

This, is what is known as a video tape deck, ¾ inch tape player to be exact:

For many years, broadcast tv stations used ¾ inch and beta as the industry standard. This is a ¾ inch tape. Notice that it is much bigger than the VHS that your parents may still have floating around the basement somewhere. VHS is known as ½ inch.

Yeah, that particular tape is over 20 years old, but the video and audio is shockingly still in decent shape. Although the station I work for began transitioning to digital tape and then DVD by the early 2000′s, we still very much used beta and ¾ inch up until about 2008. Digital tape is what the name implies. It is an early hybrid of digital technology put to tape. Here is an example:

I was not a fan of the digital tape formats (Digital S, DVC Pro, Mini DV). Sure, the video and audio were far superior to the quality of beta, ¾, VHS, and Super VHS, but they sometimes had the tendency to pixelate or even display black bars during playback, especially for long duration programs. Now we have DVD, Bluray, and even just files on a computer. While the current technology has its drawbacks too, I wouldn’t want to go back to analog.

I could go on but I won’t as it can get really boring if you’re not a video tech geek. Besides, all this can be found by googling it. As a follow up to an earlier post though about me finding some old tapes, The dinosaur tech above surprisingly is still working and I have been able to dub at least the ¾ inch tapes to DVD format. Sadly, some of the works I am proudest of (one even won a couple awards) I have not found. For some reason those tapes were not in the same box as the others and I’m kicking myself. Wish I could remember the program needed to convert DVD to usable file on a Windows OS to put on youtube or facebook or something. At work we use Macs, so converting them at work would do me no good as my home OS is Windows (Vista at that! lol). Shocking how the tapes I did find managed to survive being in a garage for 10 years without proper climate control and with as old as some are. These tapes range from the year 1994 through 2004. The sporting event in the mix from 2001 looks like it was just taped earlier this year. Hope you enjoyed the glimpse of old tech. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog about random stuff.


About DarkPhoenix

I am an open book. My pages are just stuck together.
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