High Energy Tape For Video Recording Applications (1971)

By H. Lee Marks and Arden R. Thompson

Over the past two decades, cable television has grown from small community antenna systems serving remote areas to large systems penetrating all types of communications. As cable television entered the "70's", new demands and opportunities represent fantastic challenges. Demands for program origination and better quality pictures must be met. Advances in technology such as two way cable, and more channels, offer new opportunities. Also, rumbles were being heard concerning improvements in television recording. This news of better things to come seemed to be all encompassing. From a hardware standpoint promises of new and improved video recorders were being backed up by introductions of sophisticated machines for both quadruplex and helical recording. The industry began using a new type of video tape that guards itself against damage. Several announcements and demonstrations have been made concerning revolutionary approaches to the duplication of recorded video material. All this is fascinating and important to our developing industry, but a common denominator that cuts across all of the topics that we have mentioned is the capability of the magnetic recording medium itself.

There have been vast improvements in the media during the last several years. Improvements that took us from what we thought were good black and white pictures, to the well defined, richly colored pictures that each of us expects to see on our monitors today. The low noise oxide introduced in the mid-sixties, coupled with advanced clean running binders, was an important breakthrough moving us toward that excellence that we now take for granted. Because of the improved signal-to-noise ratios attainable with the low noise oxide, multiple generation dubbing was not only possible, but became the accepted way to produce everything from a dog food commercial to a ninety-minute extravaganza. In the close analysis, the oxide on the tape has caused a lot of changes in the television industry, and it appears that these changes are not about to stop.

In exploring new ways to make even further improvements in the electro-mechanical properties of video recording tapes, it appeared that we had gone just about as far as was possible with our present day family of synthetic low noise oxides. If we wanted to see a meaningful improvement in the key recording characteristics of both RF output and signal-to-noise ratio, we would have to enter into some extensive research centered upon modifying the basic oxide particle.

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