Mass Media & Technology

Memories Of Video

What's your oldest recollections?

Ne1L C Recently warned Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
In times of crisis its often comforting to remember past moments. So I have an idea. Its probably been done before but right now it might help.

What's your earliest memories of using VCR's etc. For example what formats did you use, what was the first cassette you bought etc?

I'll start. I grew up in the 1980's and remember the video rental store on the corner of our road sold both VHS and Betamax.

About 90% was VHS with a tiny corner selling Betamax.
Neil Jones Founding member Central (West) Midlands Today
Cue the Joe Pasquale Joke... "I had a girlfriend once, her dad owned a video store. Said she had to be back by half past nine. Didn't get her in until quarter to twelve, so I had to shove her through the letterbox and pay another £2."
nwtv2003 Granada North West Today
As I was born in the late 1980’s we always had a Video Recorder in the home. We had access to a decent video rental store in our village which had thousands of videos, a good number from the 1980’s which were on display a long time, well into the very early 2000’s. They had also had an Adult section which was popular to say the least.

In the early 1990’s we also got a Ritz turned Blockbuster Video in our village which was just as popular. Blockbuster outlived the independent store by about good 5/6 years.
commseng London London
I grew up in the 1970s, and ended up being the audio visual kid at junior school.
The teachers didn't have the knowledge to operate the Philips N1500 video recorder, so I ended up recording the schools programmes on both that and also the radio ones onto cassette.
Gave me the ability to work to the clock, and keep an ear and an eye on programmes which has been useful for the 35 years of working life in the industry.
Edit - found a picture of it.
Note the analogue clock to set the record times, just like an alarm clock.
From the rewindmuseum website, it cost £499 in 1972 (that's £6,650 today) and tapes were 30, 45 and 60 minutes long. The 60 minute tape would set you back £240 in today's money.
No wonder they were not found in any homes that I knew of!
Last edited by commseng on 28 March 2020 10:16am - 2 times in total
ToasterMan and thegeek gave kudos
davidhorman Channel Channel Islands
Who had Betamax? ✋Probably still got a ton of Bergeracs on them somewhere.
BillyH Founding member London London
Our household was fairly late to the video revolution, finally getting our first one in 1996 - an old top-loading early 80s model that cost 50p second hand! My father decided to have some fun with the purchase and "planted" a videotape in the garden the previous evening, revealing it had grown into a video recorder the following day Laughing

It was interesting to follow the decline of VHS in favour of DVD in the early 2000s, as late as 2002 most shops still had huge VHS sections with a small but gradually growing DVD section, and there were still two local video shops near me at this time. 2003 saw the DVD section overtake that of VHS, and by 2004 there were just a small handful of videotapes at clearance prices for a few pounds each. The last time I saw VHS for sale outside of bootsales/charity shops was very early into 2008, at a Morrisons supermarket stuffed away in the corner.

It's often forgotten that home-recorded videotapes carried on a bit longer - I stopped using tapes to record when On Demand/iPlayer arrived in 2006-07, but other members of my family carried on until 2009-10. DVD Recorders were briefly popular in the mid-2000s but were soon overtaken by online/streaming options.
Member since 26 May 2001
Neil Jones Founding member Central (West) Midlands Today
You can still buy blank tape...

Can't remember how much I paid for them back in the day, probably not £20 for three.
Technologist London London
And CPC sell head cleaning cassettes....
I’ve just bought three ... as a job for “lockdown “
Is to transfer off some tapes I found at my mothers !
DVB Cornwall West Country (West) Spotlight
My First VHS ... An Hitachi cost £599 and the E180's were £12.99 EACH. (approx 1979!)

The EU/UK version of this one ...

London Lite Founding member London London
Started off with Betamax in the early 80s, the PQ from recording analogue tv was far superior to VHS.

The first VHS recorder we had had piano style keys and was a top loader. It was the fact more movie titles were on VHS that persuaded my father to change.

While my family was straight in with home video, I didn't get a CD player until 1996!
Ne1L C Recently warned Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
In the mid 90s we got our first long play VCR (Ferguson) and I remember how I would press pause every time an advert break came to squeeze as much as possible onto a three hour tape. Taught me a lot about editing.
thegeek Founding member London London
My First VHS ... An Hitachi cost £599 and the E180's were £12.99 EACH. (approx 1979!)

The EU/UK version of this one ...


Ours was a Baird top loader from Radio Rentals, not unlike that one, with a cabled remote control.

(For our younger readers, Radio Rentals was a shop which hired out TVs and VCRs)
Avatar credit: SMPTE RP198

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