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Ampex

Needs more here on the development of the system and the derivation of the name. Plus, Ampex isn't just a tape format, it's also a company, so maybe needs separate entries for each.

The first television program recorded on the new Ampex Quadruplex recording system was "CBS News with Douglas Edwards" in Oct 1956.

Since the early 1950s, Bing Crosby and others tried to record video on very fast-moving magnetic tape. One semi-successful attempt was the BBC's VERA.

Only Ampex had the wisdom to rotate the heads at high speed and keep tape movement slow. The "Quad" head assembly has 4 heads that rotate at 14,400 rpm. They write the video vertically across tape that is 2 inches (5 cm) wide and runs at 15" (38cm) per second. This allows programs of one hour to be recorded on one reel of tape. But in 1956 one reel of tape cost 300 dollars. The machines themselves cost about 75 to 100 thousand dollars. So the only videotaped archives that exist are network programs as the typical television station could not afford an Ampex VTR. RCA called them "television tape recorders."

The Ampex video system is now obsolete. Those machines which still survive have been pressed into service to transfer recordings onto modern digital video formats.

Deleted "in 1956 money" as an awkward construction, but conversion to current values would be useful.



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