1/2" Sony CV Video Format

1/2" Sony CV Format Information:

Videotape Format: Sony 1/2" CV

In use: 1965 - early 1970s

Recording mode: Analog video, rotary 2 head, single track helical scanning. Tape speed: 7.5 inches per second

Tape width: 1/2" open reel to reel

Features: Generally considered to be the first videotape recorder to be used by consumers at home, business, and education institutions.

Existing machine longevity: Near extinct.

Videotape longevity: Low.

Prior usage: Home, business, and educational installations.

Notes on the 1/2" Sony CV...Generally speaking, this format opened up the door for many individuals, schools, and business to be able to record and instantly playback a video image with sound. Although expensive by 1965 standards, it was cheaper to purchase and operate than the few other formats available. All 525-line machines were black and white, but some European CV decks could record and reproduce color. The picture quality, recorded by a method known as "skip field" (on U.S. machines), produced images that were of much lower fidelity than broadcast quality or even those originating from a single tube vidicon camera (such as the one Sony sold with some CV series models.) Even so with the less that stellar video quality, many tapes were recorded over those years of operation. Some of these tapes still surface today, but are very difficult to transfer to any other media. This is due to factors such as: The CV series of machines was never intended to provide a system in which a tape was recorded on one machine and then would be played back on another, hence no tracking control was on these decks. Furthermore, the off-tape video signal is usually of such low quality with sync and video distortion, along with tape path issues resulting in flagging and irregular RF reproduction. These problems all add up to make each tape playback a challenge, and only a few time base correctors will handle these irregular recordings. Hence, it is a time-consuming chore to transfer CV recordings.

The advent of E.I.A.J. ½" compatible video-recorders, manufactured by several manufacturers (with tracking controls), made widespread tape interchange possible. The "skip field" technique was replaced by a higher quality, full two-field system, yielding better pictures. Color capable E.I.A.J. machines helped further the death or the CV format.

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