Edit Proposal: Milestone-Proposal:Ampex Videotape Recorder - 1956 You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason: You are not currently logged in. The action you have requested is limited to users in the group: Users. Please log in or create an account. Docket ID: (admins only) Thank you for proposing a technical achievement for possible recognition as an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing. Your efforts help preserve the heritage of technology. Detailed information on the Milestone application process may be found at: Milestone Guidelines and How to Propose a Milestone. At least one of the proposer(s) must be an IEEE Member (including Student Member) in good standing. To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? If the answer is "yes", the proposal cannot proceed further. None Yes No You must be able to answer "yes" to all of the following questions. If the answer to any of the following questions is "no", the proposal cannot proceed further. Contact us at email@example.com if you are unable to answer "yes" to all of the following and would still like to proceed. Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes No Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes No Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes No Was it of at least regional importance? Yes No Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes No Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes No Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes No Has the owner of the site given permission to place an IEEE plaque? Yes No Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred: Title of the proposed milestone. (Include date or date range in title. Example: “Alternating Current Electrification, 1886”) Please provide a plaque citation in English summarizing the achievement and its significance. Text absolutely limited by plaque dimensions to 70 words; 60 is preferable for aesthetic reasons. NOTE: The IEEE History Committee shall have final determination on the wording of the citation. Names of living persons are not normally used in citations. Exceptions to this are cases where the person's name is linked to the achievement itself (e.g. the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, Maxwell's Equations, etc.) or where the person's name is so widely recognizeable to the general public that it makes sense to use it. When used, the names should be the names of the engineers, scientists, or technologists who actually made the achievement, rather than managers or executives. For more information and suggestions about writing milestone citations, please visit Helpful Hints on Citations, Plaque Locations. In 1956, Ampex Corporation of Redwood City, California, introduced the first practical videotape recorder for television stations and networks to produce and time-shift broadcasts, replacing impractical "kinescope" movie film previously used to record TV. The Emmy-award-winning Ampex "VTR" analog-video standard ruled broadcasting and video production worldwide for twenty years. In what IEEE section(s) will the milestone plaque(s) reside? Please specify the IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone, and supply name and contact information for the senior officer from those OU(s). Sponsorship has three aspects: 1) Payment for the cost of the plaque(s), 2) Arranging the dedication ceremony, and 3) agreeing to monitor the plaque and to let IEEE History Center staff know in case the plaque needs to be moved, is no longer secure, etc. Number 3 must be done by the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) is located, but aspects 1 and 2 can be done by any IEEE Organizational Unit, and they need not be the same one. Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address. IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s) Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: Unit: Senior Officer Name: E-mail: IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque IEEE Section: IEEE Section Chair name: IEEE Section Chair e-mail: IEEE Section: IEEE Section Chair name: IEEE Section Chair e-mail: Milestone proposer(s) Proposer name: Proposer email: Proposer name: Proposer email: Proposer name: Proposer email: Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s). Please include coordinates in decimal format rather than degrees. What is the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s) relation to the achievement? The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque. Also, please Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). (e.g. Is it corporate buildings? Historic Site? Residential? Are there other historical markers already at the site?) Are the original buildings extant? Please provide the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. How is the intended plaque site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public? If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give details as well as the contact information visitors will need in order to arrange to visit the plaque. Who is the present owner of the site(s)? In the space below, please describe in detail: the historic significance of the achievement, its importance to the evolution of electrical and computer engineering and science, its importance to regional/national/international development, its benefits to humanity, the ways the achievement was a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement of existing technology. The material submitted here will constitute the main descriptive article on the ETHW website for readers to learn about the milestone. Space is unlimited, and detail is encouraged. Most milestones require 1000 to 1500 words of support, however there is no word limit. The article should be readable by a wide audience that includes practicing engineers, scholars of history, and the general public. Some examples of the text of good milestone articles are First Radio Astronomical Observations Using Very Long Baseline Interferometry] and G3_Facsimile International Standardization of G3 Facsimile (Do not worry about the formatting of the page, IEEE History Center Staff will do that afterwards.) What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? Ever since the advent of public television there has been a need to record TV programs. Archiving, delayed transmission to accommodate time zones and editing are some of the reasons for this desire. At the beginning of public television in the middle of the 1940s until 1956 the only means available for the recording of TV was film (movie film). For accommodating transcontinental time zones in the United States it was necessary to record a program for the Eastern Time zone and replay the program at the appropriate time for each time zone across the country. (The same method was used in other countries around the world.) Fortunately, the industry was able to install a transmission line across the country which made it possible to send live programs with pickoff points along the way in various time zones. The method used was to pick the undelayed televised program off the transmission line and display it on a TV monitor while pointing a movie camera at that monitor, thus making a film record of the program. Next, the film was rushed to a film-developing lab for rapid development and returned to the TV station where the film would be edited and at the appropriate time projected into a TV camera and that video signal broadcast into the surrounding area for local TV sets to receive. Some time zones might have only one hour to record, develop and transmit a program whereas other zones might have three hours for that process. The negative aspects of this whole scheme were many. To start with, film was very expensive and, of course, it could only be used once. However, it was easy to archive for future needs. Another major drawback was the quality was very poor. For higher quality, 35 mm film was used but for most programs used16mm film. Sometimes a recording was made of a live performance and the developed film mailed to the station that was going to broadcast it. This made for better quality (especially when color broadcasting became available), however, again, this was very expensive. Several companies worked on the process of trying to record TV onto magnetic recording tape. Some of these companies in the USA were RCA, General Electric, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. and Crosby Enterprises. In Europe several companies including Bausch Gmbh and BASF were working on the process. Baird TV and BBC in England spent large amounts of money in this pursuit. In 1951 Ampex Corp., in the United States, started a video recording project which had little enthusiasm from management but was to be a buffer by developing some experience in TV. When one of the other major companies developed the process Ampex would already have some knowledge in television recording. After about a year of development the project was put on the shelf in favor of a project in sound recording for theaters. The project was revived in September 1954 and five engineers and one machinist produced a beautiful TV recorder, which was shown at an NARTB (National Association of Radio and Television Engineers) convention in Chicago on April 24, 1956. The first production recorder was completed and put into service late in 1956. The format used became the standard throughout the world for the next twenty years. The VRX-1000 set off a storm when it was demonstrated on April 14, 1956 at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention, sending RCA and all the other VTR developers back to the drawing boards. The VRX-1000 was renamed the Mark IV and sold briskly at $50,000. Ampex dominated the broadcast VTR business for a number of years to come. What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome? It is easy to understand why it is difficult to record television on magnetic tape compared to recording sound on the same medium. Normally it is considered that the range of frequencies in human audio sound is twenty to twenty thousand cycles per second (Hertz). The frequencies one might find in television signals that are to be recorded using a modulated carrier frequency (either AM or FM) are about one thousand times greater. The range of wavelengths on the magnetic recording tape of an audio recorder (when running at 15 inches per second) would be 15/20 = .75 inch to 15/20,000 = .00075 inch. Reading such a wavelength with a playback head gap of .00025 would be no problem. The recorded wavelength on recording tape running at 15 inches per second and while recording 20,000,000 cycles per second would be 15/20,000,000 = .00000075 inch. A playback head gap of about one third this dimension (0.25 uinch) would have essentially no output. The logical solution would be to run the tape at a higher speed. To obtain the same short wavelength as was indicated above for the highest audio frequency the tape would have to run at 15,000 inches per second. Of course this is not logical. Even running at 1500 inches per second (125 ft./sec.) would be difficult to do. (A 5000 foot real of tape would last 40 seconds.) Companies (other than Ampex) were trying this high-speed tape method and even multi-track configurations using frequency division multiplexing were used (from two-track to 10-track). Each of these companies were able to get some degree of success but none came even close to an acceptable picture for television broadcast. Ampex chose to use a multi-transducer (4 heads on a 2-inch diameter drum) rotating at 240 revolutions per second (providing 1500 inches per second writing speed) to produce a picture within broadcast specifications. What features set this work apart from similar achievements? The Ampex Videotape Recorder was the first successful video recorder to be exhibited and to reach the market place. Other recorders that followed the Ampex machine took licenses from Ampex or just coppied their unit illegally. Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. The full reference, in English, must be uploaded, not just the citation. See below section for details on uploading material to the website. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation. Stewart Wolpin, "The Race to Video", Invention & Technology, Fall 1994. "TV Goes to Tape", Popular Science, Feb. 1960, p. 238. Ed Reitan, RCA-NBC Firsts in Color Television (commented) "Charles P. Ginsburg", Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Vol. 7, 1994, The National Academies Press, Washington DC. Albert Abramson, “The History of Television 1942 to 2000” (http://books.google.com/books/about/The_history_of_television_1942_to_2000.html) Videotape Recorder (VTR), U.S. patent number 2,956,114 Fred Pfost, First Hand History, "Recollections of Ampex and the Video Recorder" (Draft, unpublished, IEEE GHN) John Leslie and Ross Snyder, "History of the Early Days of Ampex Corporation", AES Historical Committee, 2010 December 17 Quadruplex Videotape, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadruplex_videotape Charles P. Ginsburg, "The Birth of Video Recording", at http://www.labguysworld.com/VTR_BirthOf.htm Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC) which can be made publicly available on the IEEE History Center’s website (i.e. unencumbered by copyright, or with the copyright holder’s permission). All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. Images and photographs are especially appreciated, however, it is necessary that you list the copyright owner for these and obtain the copyright owner’s permission to reuse. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information. To add attachments, first upload the file and add by adding the text: [[Media:(filename)]] For example, if the file you uploaded was named "Milestone Reference.pdf", include the text: [[Media:Milestone Reference.pdf]] in the appropriate field. While not formally a proposer, we'd like to thank Fred Pfost for preparing the historical information and context above. Notes for why the plaque text is worded as it is: The bodycopy is 69 words. I added the word "practical" to the VTR's description, something I always did at the Ampex Museum of Magnetic Recording when describing this technology. As early as 1956, RCA, with their "television recorder", and Bing at Crosby Video, had firm plans to commercially offer their longitudinal-scan machines; either one would have been eagerly embraced by an industry desperate to end film-based kinescope recording. Either Crosby's and RCA's longitudinal scan technology would have been better than kinescopes, but both were still fundamentally impractical, with their huge reels and high tape speeds gobbling up tape stock. The mention of the Emmy means a lot to many Americans, especially good on a public plaque like this. Even techies and some academics love show biz! I hope the plaque maker can reproduce the "registered" ® symbol for "Emmy". It's copyrighted and NARAS is picky about this. We don't want to have to recast this plaque! But have no fear: with the simple ® symbol [or (R), if the plaque guy can't cope], no one needs their permission and can freely use the name "Emmy®". s I changed the headline to "Videotape Recording" from "Videotape Recorder". The point here is the breakthrough technology, not that particular machine. Like many American companies using "Corporation" in their formal names, it's always simply "Ampex Corporation" never "the Ampex Corporation". Typically, organizations using the word "Company" do tend to add the definite article, as in "The Selznick Company". Especially on a generalist plaque, the day and month are not important. The year is. The street address is also unimportant, unless you're erecting the plaque at 934 Charter (where you might just say, "At this location"), instead of at Stanford. Anyway, before Charlie Anderson, Alex Maxey, and Fred Pfost joined the team, Charlie Ginsburg, Ray Dolby, and Shelby Henderson did some very important, early R&D work at 820 Charter! The word "videotape" is an adjective, while "video tape" is the recording medium. Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to email@example.com with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s). Submit this proposal to the IEEE History Committee for review. Only check this when the proposal is finished Summary: This is a minor edit Watch this page Cancel Retrieved from "http://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Milestone-Proposal:Ampex_Videotape_Recorder_-_1956"