top of page

Breakthrough on Television Tape Recorders

Apr. 4, 1964 - A major breakthrough in the use of television tape to make home movies and also to record programs from the screen was demonstrated in Syosset, L.I., today by the Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation. The tape recorder will sell to the consumer for less than $500. A children’s show, a gold match, a situation comedy, and commercials were electronically recorded from the screen on TV tape and then played back immediately through a conventional receiver.

With a mobile hand camera selling for about $150, Charles Tobias, vice president and general manager of Fairchild’s research division said, members of a family should also be able to make an hour-long home television movie. They would then be able to see themselves on their own TV set. The quality of the reproduced TV images was on a par with the original scenes that came over the air.

Before now, no U.S. company as offered a picture tape recorder for less than $11,500. John Carter, chairman of the Fairchild board, said he believed videotape recorders would become a rapidly expanding branch of the electronics industry. Sony, the huge Japanese electronics organization, is also understood to be working on a home tape recorder.

Inexpensive videotape recorders are expected to have many applications in entertainment, education, and industry. Some recording specialists believe that, eventually, pictorial records of theatrical events could be as common as today’s long-playing recordings of concerts.

Operation of the Fairchild recorder was a simple matter of pressing buttons. A light touch on four buttons put the recorder in operation, allowed for tape rewinding to the starting point of the recorded material, and then set the playback in motion.

An 11-inch spool of tape now costs about $30, but in time this will be brought down to $15 or $20. Each tape can be used 500 times, but complete erasure of an old program must precede the recording of a new one.

Support this project at


bottom of page