Helical Video Tape Interchangeability Requirements (1974)

By K. Blair Benson, Goldrnark Communications Corporation

In the initial applications for helical video tape recording and playback equipment, the necessity for recordings to be playable on any number of players in a variety of locations generally was not a serious consideration. In most cases recordings were made off-air or of local originations, either of entertainment or educational programming, for subsequent playback on the same VTR equipment used for the recording. Although there were some exceptions, such as regional or state educational organizations where video tape was used to avoid the expense of intercity transmission and the scheduling limitations of network programming release from a central location, these were in minority and thus not a major factor at the time in forcing development of technical improvements and standards dictated by interchangeability requirements.

More recently, however, with the increased use of helical color video tape in fully automated cable and hotel pay-TV origination systems, for advertising and sales promotion, and for expanded educational non-interconnected networks, all requiring quality competitive with that of television broadcasting, the need for optimum interchangeable performance has become acute. The problems have been compounded, first by the large number of organizations providing a recording service in a manner not unlike that of a film processing laboratory producing prints for distribution to theaters and other exhibitors, and second by the increasing number of manufacturing sources for equipment and tape.

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