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Thread: TV & Video Equipment

  1. #1
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    TV & Video Equipment

    Now for something completely different to the usual anxiety-related stuff, I thought I would start this thread as a kind of 'escape' from all the horrible things that have been happening over recent months, and also for a bit of a 'positive' nostalgia trip.

    This is a discussion about TV and video equipment (mostly from the 80s onwards) and how it has evolved.

    This thread isn't just literally about TV sets and VCRs per se, other video-related media such as camcorders, Blu-rays, DVDs etc, are also just as relevant, though I intend to start another thread dedicated to audio equipment in due course in order to assist in keeping us all from easily straying slightly off-topic.

    Please share your favourite AV memories, and let's have some fun!!

  2. #2
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Oh where to start.

    I recall my first visit to Richer Sounds at London Bridge as a teenager and buying my first separates. Nostalgia is hard.

    I work (in a roundabout way) in the music business (training, sound design, video courses, making music etc) and it's been a long 30 year stretch from that to my current studio space -

    2020-07-04 18.50.04.jpg

    My first memory of a camcorder was one my Dad brought home one day. It was a massive Sony carbuncle that had to be connected to our Sony BETAMAX(!!!!) VCR in order to work. Now, in the studio I have a couple of Sony A6300's which record unbelievably high quality 4k video that I use for work. They're not massively expensive and the difference between those and the old Betamax camera is obviously vast.

    I'm not really into expensive TV's, but that's another area where progress has been immense. As a teenager I used to have a little Sony Trinitron TV in my bedroom (I had a paper round and two weekend jobs) which I recall paying £200 for in about 1986. Last year I think I paid £300-400 (I'm a miser here lol) for a 43" Samsung Smart TV, and it's like sci-fi in comparison lol. Actually one of the biggest advances I see in TV's are the Smart capability and integration of apps. When I set up the Samsung, it was very clever about picking up my Samsung phone over wifi and using that to connect itself to my home network. It was that seamless setup that impressed me most tbh.

  3. #3
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Simon Bates telling us what the cert meant on the VHS tape...often seen in fast forward

    TVs with wooden panels or built into a piece of furniture.

    4 channels and how we got excited about channel 5 coming along and whether our aerials were good enough to pick it up.
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  4. #4
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Just the other day my husband and I were explaining to my 6 year old the days before the internet when you were playing a video game, got stuck, and there was nothing you could do except try to figure it out yourself. Maybe you could ask a friend for help if they had the same game, but mostly you were just stuck! And, your best hope was waiting for cheat codes to be published in Nintendo Power or another magazine.

  5. #5
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsTerry View Post
    Simon Bates telling us what the cert meant on the VHS tape...often seen in fast forward

    TVs with wooden panels or built into a piece of furniture.

    4 channels and how we got excited about channel 5 coming along and whether our aerials were good enough to pick it up.
    Surely Sky/Satellite TV had already been around for about 8 years or so prior to the launch of Channel 5.

    I remember us getting our first system with a satellite dish during the post-Christmas sales at our local branch of Currys in very early 1994, together with a new Sony Trinitron TV set that replaced our previous 1984 model that served us well for almost a decade, and an Akai VHS VCR with NICAM stereo sound capabilities, that was connected directly to my dad's Aiwa hi-fi system that he had only purchased a few months earlier, and having a NICAM stereo-capable VCR alone was still quite a big deal for most people back then, when even many of the TV sets and VCRs with just bog standard monophonic (and analogue) sound capabilities still cost an arm and a leg for many people, unlike nowadays where flat-screen TV sets with 2-channel stereo sound and built-in DVD players can be obtained as cheap as chips.

    By the early 2000s, especially owing to the advent of DVDs, home cinema systems with 5.1 Dolby Surround sound were de rigueur in many living rooms the world over, though throughout the 2010s, the trend seemed to move back towards more simplified AV equipment with just ordinary 2-channel stereo sound capabilities, with many seemingly ditching the multiple speaker systems, that had previously been all the rage since around the late 90s or so.

    I suppose amongst the reasons being we can never really beat proper cinemas for the true surround sound experience, coupled with most people probably no longer wanting their living rooms to be cluttered with half a dozen black boxes scattered around the place.

  6. #6
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Yes but many of us were still on normal TV and not forking out for Sky. Until freeview turned up getting an extra channel was a big deal.
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Four channels, Terry? I remember rushing home from school to see the launch of Channel 4!!

    My interest in TV and video equipment goes back much further than this: as I write this, I'm looking at the back of a floor-standing Bush TV with a 12" round tube, built in 1950.

    In the period in question, colour came late to our home - it was only when my brother forced the issue with my father by renting a Pye "StudioColour" set that we had a colour telly. This'd be around, oh, 1978/9? A video recorder followed in 1982 - a Sanyo Betamax (we'd briefly had a Philips N1502 but it was troublesome). By then the Pye had been sent back to the rental company as we'd acquired a monster 26" SABA TV in a cabinet with sliding doors from the mother of the local butcher. It had ultrasonic remote control and a polished real wood case too!

    When I got married, we had a secondhand 26" Telefunken TV, and a secondhand Sony C5 video. The Telefunken was replaced with a secondhand Pye in a cabinet from the same source as my parents' SABA, and that had Teletext too!

    When NICAM came along, we bought a brand-new Panasonic "Prism" A1, which had true high-fidelity sound and a 24" screen. This'd be about 1990. We also bought a JVC HiFi VHS machine to go with it.

    Whilst the JVC has long been pensioned off the Panasonic TV is still in service, still giving excellent sound and picture quality.

  8. #8
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamplemousse View Post
    Four channels, Terry? I remember rushing home from school to see the launch of Channel 4!!

    My interest in TV and video equipment goes back much further than this: as I write this, I'm looking at the back of a floor-standing Bush TV with a 12" round tube, built in 1950.

    In the period in question, colour came late to our home - it was only when my brother forced the issue with my father by renting a Pye "StudioColour" set that we had a colour telly. This'd be around, oh, 1978/9? A video recorder followed in 1982 - a Sanyo Betamax (we'd briefly had a Philips N1502 but it was troublesome). By then the Pye had been sent back to the rental company as we'd acquired a monster 26" SABA TV in a cabinet with sliding doors from the mother of the local butcher. It had ultrasonic remote control and a polished real wood case too!

    When I got married, we had a secondhand 26" Telefunken TV, and a secondhand Sony C5 video. The Telefunken was replaced with a secondhand Pye in a cabinet from the same source as my parents' SABA, and that had Teletext too!

    When NICAM came along, we bought a brand-new Panasonic "Prism" A1, which had true high-fidelity sound and a 24" screen. This'd be about 1990. We also bought a JVC HiFi VHS machine to go with it.

    Whilst the JVC has long been pensioned off the Panasonic TV is still in service, still giving excellent sound and picture quality.
    Wasn't the Philips N1502 in their own proprietary Video2000 format, which (I think) is similar in principle to audio cassettes, but were one of the first to lose the video 'format war' of the time?

    The Sony C5 was a top-loading Betamax. My dad rented the front-loading C6 from late 1981 through early 1985 (the first-ever VCR in our house), and replaced it with the SL-F30, together with a matching Trinitron TV, both our first 'owned-outright' colour TV set and VCR. The set the Trinitron replaced (that was also rented) was a Ferguson Colourstar.

    My dad purchased the Sony Trinitron TV/SL-F30 Betamax VCR package from the Sony centre in Birmingham City Centre, a few weeks prior to us moving to our current address in April 1985, which was also (and still is) our first 'owned' house, but wasn't a newbuild at the time, though that's another story.

  9. #9
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Lencoboy View Post
    Wasn't the Philips N1502 in their own proprietary Video2000 format, which (I think) is similar in principle to audio cassettes, but were one of the first to lose the video 'format war' of the time?
    No, it predates the Video 2000 system, which was extraordinarily clever.

    The N1500 family goes back to about 1972: in this format the tape reels are stacked one above the other with a concentric drive system. Picture quality was as good as off-air due to a very high effective tape speed: however, the problem was a short recording time of 90 minutes maximum. This was addressed with the N1700 family, which ran at a slower tape speed and allowed up to 3 hours of recording time however, recordings made on a 1500 couldn't be played on a 1700 and vice versa despite using identical tapes.

    Picture quality was still impressive, but not as good as the N1500 family. Still way better than VHS and Betamax though.

    V2000 was technically very innovative but just couldn't get the market penetration. In the end, we ended up with the worst of the lot - VHS.

  10. #10
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    Re: TV & Video Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamplemousse View Post
    No, it predates the Video 2000 system, which was extraordinarily clever.

    The N1500 family goes back to about 1972: in this format the tape reels are stacked one above the other with a concentric drive system. Picture quality was as good as off-air due to a very high effective tape speed: however, the problem was a short recording time of 90 minutes maximum. This was addressed with the N1700 family, which ran at a slower tape speed and allowed up to 3 hours of recording time however, recordings made on a 1500 couldn't be played on a 1700 and vice versa despite using identical tapes.

    Picture quality was still impressive, but not as good as the N1500 family. Still way better than VHS and Betamax though.

    V2000 was technically very innovative but just couldn't get the market penetration. In the end, we ended up with the worst of the lot - VHS.
    I had a dekko at a video on YouTube about the N1500 and it looked very hi-tech and way ahead of its time for an early 70s piece of kit.

    The tape mechanism looks very similar in principle to those (audio) 8-track tape cartridge things that were also popular around that same era, especially with the 'stacked' tape spools inside the caddy, rather than the more common left-to-right RTR mechanism as seen in VHS, Betamax, V2000, U-Matic, Video-8, DV and of course, the open-reel type formats (both pro and domestic).

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