I never realised it, but I also seem to be collecting unusual audio/video equipment :) Just recently a friend showed up at my place with the very unusual Sony CRV machine and said it was just something for me, seeing as I had so many other odd A/V machines already. I looked around, and indeed, there were! Here are a few of them.
This is a machine I never heard of before. It is a Sony LVR-6000A Laser Videodisc Recorder. It uses (as you may be able to see from the picture from the manual) giant write-once cartridges. It can record about half an hour normal video, or about 32.000 separate pictures on each side of such a cartridge. It cannot use normal video discs. It also can record separate pictures and play them back as a video, so it is easy to make animation movies. It must have a very high picture quality. Unfortunately I do not have cartridges for this beast, so I can't check this myself. I don't even know if the machine still works :(
This is the Philips N1520, the studio version of the N1500 system, the very first video home cassette recorder ever. It existed before there was Beta or VHS. It could record an hour of color video on the cassette. The N1500 itself also had an analog clock with which you could do timed recordings, and it had a six channel built-in TV tuner. The N1520 on the picture did not have the clock and the tuner, but it had edit and assemble circuitry in that place.
The predecessor to the N1500, the Philips LDL1000, aka the 9180 video tape recorder. This black and white reel to reel machine from 1972 has almost the same head drum and tape as the N1500 recorder. It does not have a built in tuner, but needed a specially modified TV to record from and play back to. Video inputs and outputs were not usual on the TVs of those days.
The Philips N1502 was the last machine of the N1500 lineage. It had more modern circuitry, a better tuner, and a stop-motion function. Unfortunately it does not age well, the tape take-in mechanism relies on a special plastic band that goes brittle and breaks when old.
The N1700 appeared when other VCR brands had much more running time than the 1 hour of the N1500 series. The N1700 used the same cassettes, but had a slower tape speed so a 1 hour N1500 cassette held 2 hours when used in a N1700. Later an 150 minutes cassette was available, but it was very fragile because of the very thin tape used. Among us hobbyists there even circulated a modification to the N1700's tape speed circuitry that would slow down the speed even more, so you could record three hours on a two hour tape, but then only the machine that had recorded the tape could play it back and the image quality was low.
The Philips CDV495 laser disc player. This machine can play back the LaserVision disks with analog sound, and the LaserDisc and CD Video disks with digital sound. It also plays regular audio CD's. It does not play Video CD, because on these the images are digital too. On the other formats the image is analog, not compressed. When recorded well, the Laserdisc has an astonishing image quality, which even looks good when played back through a video projector on a large screen. Laserdiscs are still sold today and many new movies appear in this format, for those that put image quality above price.
The CDV495 in this picture does not work sadly, it has been used a great deal and the laser does not deliver enough light anymore to reliably read a disc. I'll just have to be patient untill I find another one...
The first Philips CD-I system. This one can't play video discs, the FMV cart wasn't developed yet.
The Philips V2000 VCC video cassette recorder. This specimen is the VR2024, the first stereo version. The VCC video cassette was the first (and only) system that could record on both sides of a cassette. you could turn a 4 hour cassette over and have another four hours to record. The cassette held standard half inch tape, of which only half the width was used to record one side, in colour with stereo sound. This feat could be pulled off because of a feature called 'Dynamic Track Following'. The video heads on the drum were mounted on very small slices of piezo-electric material, that could bend a litte to keep the video heads always aligned to the middle of the track. No tracking control needed. The Philips V2000 VCC system flopped unfortunately because there were not enough prerecorded programmes available for hire in the video store.
The little box you see on the bottom right of the machine is the infra-red receiver for the remote control. In this picture you see on the right the remote control unit for the 202x series of recorders, and on the left you see the A/V box. The recorder did not have standard audio and video connections on the machine, only antenna in and antenna out, but if you hooked this box up to it you had the extra connections.
The CD200 was the second Philips CD player, a top loading one like the CD100. This one is a rare preproduction model. It has worked flawlessly from the start and still works today.
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