Updated February 2014

Vintage Video Recorders and Missing TV programmes

During the 1960s and 1970s video recording was in its infancy, with machines suitable for domestic use being hard to find, hard to use, and very expensive. There was no standard so many different formats were produced, mostly using open reel tape, with widths of tape varying from 1/4 inch up to 1 inch. Most were only capable of monochrome recording, although some colour capable machines did start to appear after the 60s. Some were only capable of recording in 405 lines.

As the result of this plethora of assorted formats, a lot of tapes existed containing programmes recorded off air, some of which often failed to be archived by the TV companies at the time, due to cost problems.  By 1990 these old machines were turning up for little money or being given away, and having a technical interest in video recording, I realised that all these different formats would be turning up one day needing machines to replay them. Having assembled a large collection of all these old format machines, I found they sometimes came with lots of old tapes. These tapes could, and occasionally did, contain interesting old material. This is the reason behind my recovering a number of old programmes believed "lost". Maintaining the old format machines in working order is another story, giving immense satisfaction when one can coaxe a picture out of a long lost tape.

The following links will continue the story relating to some of this work:

And a couple of links with some further information about the old video formats:

Video Formats

The following list will indicate many of the video formats for which I possess machines theoretically capable of playback of those formats. In practice of course, old machines are rather unreliable and one working yesterday may fail if used today. Its a never ending battle to keep them all working!

One inch tape formats

Ampex A format
IVC (machine now sold)
Philips EL3400
Philips EL3402

Three quarter inch tape formats

Umatic low band cartridges

Two thirds inch tape formats


Half inch tape formats

Sony CV2000
Sony CV2100
Rank Nivico
National Cartridge
Philips LDL

and other cartridge types:

Philips N1500
Grundig SVR
VHS and super VHS

Quarter inch tape formats

Akai VT110, (only one of many such variants)
Philips V2000
Technicolor CVC


Philips Laservision disks

EVR film

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