When Was the First VCR Invented?

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Work began on the predecessor of the video cassette recorder (VCR), known as the videotape recorder (VTR), in 1952, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The project was developed by the Ampex Corporation; Charles Ginsburg, known as the "father of the video cassette recorder," and his team came up with an idea for a machine which ran tape at slower rates.

The fruit of Ginsburg and his team's labor resulted in the Ampex VRX-1000 videotape recorder. This device was introduced in March of 1956 and cost approximately $50,000. With the price tag, mostly news stations purchased the devices early on. However, these VTRs gave news stations the power to replay broadcasts at later times, effectively changing the landscape of network news. RCA and Ampex joined forces to create a machine for home use. Sony released its home model in 1964 and RCA/Ampex followed suit one year later. Three VCR formats emerged in the late 1970s: the Betamax (Sony), the VHS (JVC) and the V2000 (Phillips). The VHS introduced longer modes of recording earlier and eventually won the first "Format War." Starting in about 2000, DVDs started to make video cassette recorders obsolete and took control of the video market.