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  1. Member
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    Not that it makes a whole lot of difference now, just curious. It seems I heard somewhere that the earliest VCRs had heads optimized for SP and LP (as SLP/EP did not exist at that point). However, as time went on, it just became more advantageous to optimize the heads for SP and EP recording and drop LP.
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  2. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Yeah, true. Well, SP appealed to those trying to get the best quality. SLP/EP appealed to those trying to squeeze as much time in as they could. LP was always a DUAL compromise. Plus, as time went on, vcr makers used multiple head designs and there wasn't physically enough room for 3 sets of optimized heads on the head assembly, so LP was the odd man out and went unoptimized, and then ignored and removed (the usual downward spiral).

    Scott
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Yeah, true. Well, SP appealed to those trying to get the best quality. SLP/EP appealed to those trying to squeeze as much time in as they could. LP was always a DUAL compromise. Plus, as time went on, vcr makers used multiple head designs and there wasn't physically enough room for 3 sets of optimized heads on the head assembly, so LP was the odd man out and went unoptimized, and then ignored and removed (the usual downward spiral).

    Scott
    I always still found it ironic in that many of the machines that would no longer record in LP (due to it being "dropped"), would still play an LP tape. I only ever encountered one vcr that did not regonize LP speed and that was a player only deck from the early to mid 80's (it would play an lp tape like putting a PAL tape in an NTSC machine)
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  4. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    I don't blame people for using EP/SLP back in the day. Buying a brand new tape in 198X was expensive.

    And then, just when I decided to use LP in that "compromise", somewhere around 1997 or 1998, with a couple of brand new VCRs I bought then, is when the new VCRs decided to drop it. They would play it, but wouldn't record to it, which I too found odd.

    I actually went back to the store to find out why. "They don't make them with that feature anymore."

    Personal vent here: I've never had any luck with this format. I hate VHS. I always did.
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  5. I watch alot of blu rays but i look back with fond memories of vhs days, some good times.
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  6. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VideoChunkster View Post
    I watch alot of blu rays but i look back with fond memories of vhs days, some good times.
    I too have fond memories on tape, and is the reason why I'm going through the burden and trouble of VHS capture to rescue them.

    And I don't use the term "rescue" lightly.

    I wish they were on a better format. It would have spared me much agony from dealings with VHS over the years.
    I hate VHS. I always did.
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    Originally Posted by VideoChunkster View Post
    I watch alot of blu rays but i look back with fond memories of vhs days, some good times.
    Completely agree. I think that is why restoration and preservation is so important to me. VHS is the last bastion of so many memories.
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    LP wasn't part of JVC's VHS specs. Matsushita / Panasonic added it without JVC's consent. When JVC finally gave in and added the SLP / EP mode, they allowed playback, but not recording of LP.

    JVC eventually added a second set of heads (4 head VCRs) optimized for SLP. Since it was impractical to add a third set of heads for LP (though I believe there were some), LP became a bastard mode. Never supported for recording by JVC and not optimally recorded / read by the wider SP or narrower SLP heads.

    Edit: For grammar
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  9. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    LP wasn't part of JVC's VHS specs. Matsushita / Panasonic added it without JVC's consent. When JVC finally gave in and added the SLP / EP mode, they allowed playback, but not recording of LP.

    JVC eventually added a second set of heads (4 head VCRs) optimized for SLP. Since it was impractical to add a third set of heads for LP (though I believe there were some), LP became a bastard mode. Never supported for recording by JVC and not optimally recorded / read by the wider SP or narrower SLP heads.
    LP could have been a good idea though IMO if executed properly.

    Unfortunately, it was a sour grapes effort by Matsushita/Panasonic after them bringing forth a professional version of JVC's VHS with MII and losing to Sony's Betacam (Betamax'es professional cousin).

    (Yes, Beta beat VHS in the broadcast industry.)
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    While Betacam did beat out MII in the professional arena, LP recording was offered long before either format was developed. RCA requested 4 hour recording for it's first VCRs (circa 1977) to be able to record USA football games. The original (and I believe all) RCA VCRs were rebadged Matsushitas.

    As I recall, SLP/EP was a response to Sony's Beta III and 4 1/2 hour recording capability. Sony was able to use thinner tape and add more to the cassette since the gentler U-Load of the Betamax allowed it. While T-160 (2 hour, 40 min / 8 hour) and T-180 (3 hour / 9 hour) VHS cassettes were later released, they were extremely prone to load / unload issues.
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  11. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    One reason lp was not used was in the pause mode and ff/rw the picture was angled due to losing sync.
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    I used LP recording back in the days of a 29" CRT TV but when I went to a 46" LCD well LP recording looked crap so I only did SP until I bought a DVD recorder..
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  13. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Do you NTSC guys know that in PAL countries we only had SP and (later) LP? SLP/EP was practically unheard of, except on a very few machines towards the end of the VHS era.

    But as our tapes ran at 0.7x physical speed compared with yours, we could already fit 1.4x as many minutes on the same physical amount of tape, making our "LP" mode only 6% less efficient than your SLP/EP mode. It always looked quite murky to me, and hopeless during visual search. I never used it, but many people seemed to use only LP mode.

    Visually, NTSC SP doesn't seem to look much sharper than PAL SP (thinking about the magnetic tracks, you'd expect it to), but it does seem to have a little less noise. I'm talking about my subjective impression of many many different consumer VCRs of both formats, rather than any objective test.

    Anyway, LP mode was never discontinued in PAL countries.

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  14. Originally Posted by 2Bdecided View Post
    Do you NTSC guys know that in PAL countries we only had SP and (later) LP? SLP/EP was practically unheard of, except on a very few machines towards the end of the VHS era.

    But as our tapes ran at 0.7x physical speed compared with yours, we could already fit 1.4x as many minutes on the same physical amount of tape, making our "LP" mode only 6% less efficient than your SLP/EP mode. It always looked quite murky to me, and hopeless during visual search. I never used it, but many people seemed to use only LP mode.

    Visually, NTSC SP doesn't seem to look much sharper than PAL SP (thinking about the magnetic tracks, you'd expect it to), but it does seem to have a little less noise. I'm talking about my subjective impression of many many different consumer VCRs of both formats, rather than any objective test.

    Anyway, LP mode was never discontinued in PAL countries.

    Cheers,
    David.
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  15. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    LP wasn't part of JVC's VHS specs. Matsushita / Panasonic added it without JVC's consent. When JVC finally gave in and added the SLP / EP mode, they allowed playback, but not recording of LP.

    JVC eventually added a second set of heads (4 head VCRs) optimized for SLP. Since it was impractical to add a third set of heads for LP (though I believe there were some), LP became a bastard mode. Never supported for recording by JVC and not optimally recorded / read by the wider SP or narrower SLP heads.
    LP could have been a good idea though IMO if executed properly.

    Unfortunately, it was a sour grapes effort by Matsushita/Panasonic after them bringing forth a professional version of JVC's VHS with MII and losing to Sony's Betacam (Betamax'es professional cousin).

    (Yes, Beta beat VHS in the broadcast industry.)
    Originally Posted by lingyi
    While Betacam did beat out MII in the professional arena, LP recording was offered long before either format was developed. RCA requested 4 hour recording for it's first VCRs (circa 1977) to be able to record USA football games. The original (and I believe all) RCA VCRs were rebadged Matsushitas.
    Yes, my mixup on product - but for the same reason - adding LP recording mode was indeed Panasonic's intention to get Sony (as well, there was bitterness over the RCA deal). Panasonic felt (likely rightly so) that the way to beat Sony's Betamax would be to beat Betamax'es then 3 hour recording ability with something better, like 4 hours with introducing a "Long Play" LP mode. They had such a notorious hatred and bitterness for, and overwhelming desire to beat, Sony to the length of even going against their agreement with JVC's intention to keep VHS at high quality SP mode only.

    Although both JVC and Panasonic were under the same Matsushita corporate umbrella, the sour grapes continued on "internally". JVC then introduced an "Extended Play" EP mode to be one up on Panasonic (which Panasonic decided to be stubborn and call it "Super Long Play" (SLP) instead to make it an extention of "their LP") and JVC also made sure (at least for the early runs) that any VCR would choke on LP or not play it well.

    Isn't corporate greed lovely (even among siblings)?
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    [QUOTE=PuzZLeR;2313753]
    Originally Posted by PuzZLeR View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    LP wasn't part of JVC's VHS specs. Matsushita / Panasonic added it without JVC's consent. When JVC finally gave in and added the SLP / EP mode, they allowed playback, but not recording of LP.

    JVC eventually added a second set of heads (4 head VCRs) optimized for SLP. Since it was impractical to add a third set of heads for LP (though I believe there were some), LP became a bastard mode. Never supported for recording by JVC and not optimally recorded / read by the wider SP or narrower SLP heads.
    LP could have been a good idea though IMO if executed properly.

    Unfortunately, it was a sour grapes effort by Matsushita/Panasonic after them bringing forth a professional version of JVC's VHS with MII and losing to Sony's Betacam (Betamax'es professional cousin).

    (Yes, Beta beat VHS in the broadcast industry.)
    Originally Posted by lingyi
    While Betacam did beat out MII in the professional arena, LP recording was offered long before either format was developed. RCA requested 4 hour recording for it's first VCRs (circa 1977) to be able to record USA football games. The original (and I believe all) RCA VCRs were rebadged Matsushitas.

    Sorry to be so anal about the subject, but as a former Betaphile, this is a subject dear to my heart having gotten into Beta in 1981.

    LP mode was introduced with the original RCA VCRs in 1977. Beta III and 3 hour recording didn't come out until ~1980 with with original 5000 series (SL-5400, SL-5600, SL-5800). Matsushita / RCA started the "time wars" by introducing LP recording. Sony was always about the best quality (keeping Beta I available in Japan). They countered with the Beta Changer to retain rather than reduce quality further than Beta III, but the public wanted more. As stated before, SLP was a response to Sony's 4 1/2 hour recording capability with the L-750.

    Not sure about later, but there was no bitterness between RCA and Matsushita early on. Matsushita chose RCA to introduce their VHS product because they were a well known product in America. RCA insisted on the LP mode as part of the deal.

    As for JVC purposely dissing LP, while there may have been some "bitterness", it was more a matter that LP was a bad out of spec choice. When JVC upped the "time wars" ante, they did it properly with an extra set of optimized heads.

    As for hatred between Matsushita and Sony. It was actually very gentlemanly with Matsushita reluctantly closing JVC's VHS because of Sony's refusal to allow two hour recording.

    An excellent read about the beginnings of the "VCR Wars" is James Lardner's "Fast Foward", Hollywood, The Japanese and the VCR Wars".
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  17. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lingyi
    As for JVC purposely dissing LP, while there may have been some "bitterness", it was more a matter that LP was a bad out of spec choice. When JVC upped the "time wars" ante, they did it properly with an extra set of optimized heads.
    Yes, it was poorly executed as I mentioned, and business "motives" were ahead of proper R&D, etc. I personally would have very much liked the concept myself.

    It wasn't so much the price per tape that was the issue (although they were expensive, and just noticed they STILL are today for a good brand), but 2 hours per tape really started to overfill shelf spaces for most people as recorded collections grew, and 6 hours cuts quality too much - yes, you could still see the differences even on the older sets then.

    LP, or 4 hours per tape on a regular 246m, would have been an ideal compromise for many. I happened to make the decision to further explore this option when it was too late as it was lifted from market. Maybe a good thing as it may have been problematic down the road in playback/capturing/etc.
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  18. Member cornemuse's Avatar
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    Explain why VHS was chosen ober BETA!

    (Yes, I know)
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  19. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    lingyi has the chronology.

    RCA initially had discussions with Sony to make an RCA BetaMax, but RCA insisted it must have more realistic recording time than the utterly useless one-hour-per-tape of the original Beta spec. (Seriously, WTF was Sony thinking with a 60 minute recording time? At introduction in 1975, North American broadcasts were flooded with 90-minute "movies of the week" and smash hit 90-minute anthology series like "Columbo." DOH!)

    Sony eventually capitulated with Beta II 120 mins option, but it was too little too late: Matsushita devised the quickie four-hour LP hack, and RCA eagerly jumped all over it. Sony desperately countered with the 180-min thinner tapes, then the BIII 270-min speed, but by then an annoyed JVC came up with the optimized 4-head SP/EP six-hour trick and it was game over.

    The original LP speed on the original LP decks actually wasn't half-bad: as a compromise it worked reasonably well with the LP-optimized heads (LP on a $23 TDK HG T120 looked comparable to SP on a $17 TDK SA T120). SP recording quality suffered somewhat with the narrower LP heads, but not nearly as much as JVC's hysterics claimed. The visual difference between SP and LP was significant, the difference between SP recorded on SP heads and SP recorded on LP heads was invisible to everyone but JVC employees. Of course, this was before features like EP/SLP and visual search were introduced: then the whole mess went to hell and wasn't stabilized until 4-head SP/EP became the standard affordable VCR for everyone. Meanwhile, we had a trainwreck of popular (i.e. hundreds of dollars cheaper) 2-head units that laid down skinny SP and LP tracks that played poorly on the pricier 4-head models (you haven't seen ugly home video until you've seen an SP tape recorded in a top-loading two-head Matsushita played back in an early 4-head JVC: yikes-ville).

    In their earliest models, both JVC and Mitsubishi spitefully ignored LP (wouldn't record it or play it). JVC caught a LOT of flak for this outside Japan, and their sales tanked in North America against the "Matsushita RCA Panasonic Quasar Magnavox Curtis-Mathes" and Sanyo-Fisher three-speed units. JVC grudgingly added LP playback beginning 1983 or so. Mitsubishi held off a little longer, which didn't matter because they were a complete non-entity outside of specialty stores (Mitsubishi VCRs were so under-powered and over-priced that even the wealthy avoided them: they priced their 2-head VCRs a couple hundred dollars more than a JVC 4-head, their only ace being an early exclusive with full wireless remote control).

    At their peak of profitability in the mid-80s, there was endless variety of VCR makes and models, to a degree unimaginable today. Even with Matsushita fielding eight brand names covering more than half the market, many other brands competed with differentiating designs. Its a shame the VHS format itself was never particularly good, because all that competition should have produced some amazing-quality VCRs. It was nice to have choices, nonetheless: it was a bigger free-for-all than the auto industry in the 1920s.
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    Originally Posted by cornemuse View Post
    Explain why VHS was chosen ober BETA!

    (Yes, I know)
    The same reason why sheeple think that a 700MB movies looks as good as full Blu-Ray!

    Also the same reason why my beloved plasma technology has gone the way of the Betamax. Sorry, off-topic, but it seems that the best isn't always appreciated.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post

    RCA initially had discussions with Sony to make an RCA BetaMax, but RCA insisted it must have more realistic recording time than the utterly useless one-hour-per-tape of the original Beta spec. (Seriously, WTF was Sony thinking with a 60 minute recording time? At introduction in 1975, North American broadcasts were flooded with 90-minute "movies of the week" and smash hit 90-minute anthology series like "Columbo." DOH!)

    Sony eventually capitulated with Beta II 120 mins option, but it was too little too late: Matsushita devised the quickie four-hour LP hack, and RCA eagerly jumped all over it. Sony desperately countered with the 180-min thinner tapes, then the BIII 270-min speed, but by then an annoyed JVC came up with the optimized 4-head SP/EP six-hour trick and it was game over.
    Back then, Sony was actually concerned about quality. *Sigh*

    I think the reasoning was that most Japanese programs were an hour or less and recording movies *shudder* wasn't a part of the "time-shifting" intention of the Betamax. There's some delightful irony that Sony was behind allowing home users to record movies at home and now they're (technically Sony Pictures) the biggest a**hats about digital recording rights.

    Agreed, a completely dunderheaded move by Sony, although in their defense who would have foreseen that people would choose quantity over quality. *Double sigh*

    A bit of trivia about the development of LP mode. When RCA demanded 4 hour recording for their VCRs, what was expected to be six months of development, took only six weeks. Many would say it shows in the end product, but still a remarkable achievement!
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  22. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    One other thing was the vhs mechanics were much easier to fix then beta.
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  23. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    I was a confirmed fan of LP (for VHS, particularly Pannies), using it regularly on various models.

    Beta was indeed much "betta", especially B1s high-band. That includes any SVHS I ever saw.

    I don't think you can readily find any premium quality VHS blanks anymore, if they are even still made. Fry's had as good a selection as anyone, and by several years ago it was all low grade KRAP. These days, it may be gone entirely -- haven't strolled through that section for a good while, though.

    @ lingyi,
    Tragic, if indeed plasma is now also gone from the market. I have two plasma panels, both excellent. I guess it is axiomatic: Good stuff goes away, chased out of the market by the cheap and convenient.

    Maybe my memory is faulty here, but it seems endlessly and horrendously ironic that the "Betamax Fair-Use Home Copying" high court decision (or whatever the proper name for it was) ultimately got trumped or supplanted by DMCA and the current anti-decryption legal moves against DVDFab. A long journey by Sony, from Hero to Villain ! (They have plenty of company as the latter, of course.)
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  24. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    I don't think you can readily find any premium quality VHS blanks anymore, if they are even still made. Fry's had as good a selection as anyone, and by several years ago it was all low grade KRAP. These days, it may be gone entirely -- haven't strolled through that section for a good while, though
    Pretty easy still to find in PAL land.

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Brand-New-Sealed-Box-of-50-Blank-Sony-E180-Professional-VHS...-/251491830443
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  25. Member cornemuse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cornemuse View Post
    Explain why VHS was chosen ober BETA!

    (Yes, I know)
    Seriously, the porn industry chose VHS over beta and back then with the new technology allowing "not having to go to a sticky floored dive to watch smut", eventually, everyone else followed suit.
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    LOL! I forgot about porn!

    IIRC, Sony was approached first about offering porn on Beta, but refused. The VHS camp agreed and the rest is history!

    edit: Nearly 30 years later, porn may been a deciding factor in the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray wars. The porn industry embraced Blu-Ray and history repeats itself.

    Just goes to show what the public REALLY wants. ;-p

    edit 2: Trivia: One of the first, if not THE first 3D video released in Hi-Def in Japan was porn. I remember reading the article speculating about whether it would spur the sales of 3D HDTVs.

    Sorry...back to G rated posts! ;-p
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  27. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    I doubt that porn had any deciding factor on any media,people cared more about media for family.
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    Why? Greed by corporations + engineer stupidity.

    The stupidity by JVC has been explain quite well above.

    Tapes could have been 3-hour SP and 6-hour LP. But companies didn't want to sell tapes with 1/3rd extra tape, because prices would eventually be driven down. There's more profit to be made here.

    The idea that porn had anything to do with any video format is 100% myth. That BS started in the early 2000s.

    LP is almost SP quality, while SLP/EP has more issues.
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  29. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    But lordsmurph, you must be forgetting historical timelines. "180min" tapes weren't able to be reliably produced in quantity until the early/mid nineties - over a decade after those extended speeds were first introduced. 3 hour was not originally possible because tapes could not be made thin enough for winding that much time in standard cassette sizes without stretching or breakage.

    I can attest firsthand, as a former video rental store manager (at "the Movie Store" in Austin, a progenitor of the collector's/art/boutique store format - by my direction), that even by the mid 80's, porn had already sided with VHS and was markedly instrumental in the tide turning in favor of that format. No BS necessary, just fact.

    And qualitywise, from early on, LP had been both a marketing and engineering orphan. And, because of the usual viscious circle of such things, became capable of only worse and worse quality.

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    Hey LS! Funny, I was just thinking today about how I haven't seen you post in awhile. Hope you'll be back regularly, there's a lot of threads that could use your knowledge and input!

    I know you've been around long enough to remember the early days of VCRs, but I have to politely disagree with your last post.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Why? Greed by corporations + engineer stupidity.

    The stupidity by JVC has been explain quite well above.

    Tapes could have been 3-hour SP and 6-hour LP. But companies didn't want to sell tapes with 1/3rd extra tape, because prices would eventually be driven down. There's more profit to be made here.
    T-160s and T-180s took a long time to be introduced because the VHS M-Load mechanism had difficulty with the thinner tape. Where L-750 cassettes were easily handled by the 2nd generation Betamax series (SL-5400, 5600, 5800), early VHS machines would often choke on the thinner tape. Further evidence of lack of reliability of the T-160 and T-180 tapes is that I've never seen a pre-recorded VHS recording on anything longer than a T-140 (2 hrs 20 min), though I'm sure there were some, especially bargain bin tapes.

    As far as price being a factor, early L-750s cost ~50% more than a L-500. In 1982, a L-500 cost $15-18 and a L-750 ran $22-25. It wasn't until the early 90's when $3-4 tapes became commonplace that the L-750 was the bargain deal. In fairness, I've never had any success with L-830s. Every Betamax I owned choked sometime on the load/unload of these.


    The idea that porn had anything to do with any video format is 100% myth. That BS started in the early 2000s.
    Having lived through the early days of home video, Porn definitely did have an impact on VHS winning the VCR wars. Unlike mainstream videos, porn was largely purchased rather than rented (people didn't want to have their name renting an X-rated title kept on file). As VHS started to gain in popularity, manufacturers, distributors and retailers eagerly cut their inventory in half by having to only stock one format.

    In addition, of the dozens of video stores that came and went here in Hawaii, those that remained strictly family friendly closed far quicker than those that offered or specialized in adult videos.

    A bit of trivia: One of the largest distributors of children's films, Family Home Entertainment (now defunct) was created by Noel C. Bloom, with money generated by his first video company, Caballero Home Video which specializes in porn.


    LP is almost SP quality, while SLP/EP has more issues.
    I hope you're being facetious about this. Maybe I've never owned a VCR that could record or play back LP with anywhere near the quality of SP. Though I'll admit I've owned only 3-4 mid-line VHS machines vs nearly 2 dozen Betamaxes including 2 ED-Betas and the ultimate Betamax, the SL-HF2100.
    Last edited by lingyi; 21st Apr 2014 at 03:49. Reason: Edit: Cornucopia beat me to the punch while I was posting! :-)
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