The Japanese Enter the Video Race
Sony Starts Running
Sony's founder, Masaru Ibuka, began work after WWII by setting up the Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujyo company (later Sony) in 1946. Along with Akio Morita, Ibuka created Japans first tape recorder called the G-Model in January 1950. The G-Model was able to financially secure Sonys future through government purchases used mostly to replace courtroom stenographers and for police. (Lardner p.44) However it would be Sonys helitical scanning VTR technique that would revolutionize video technology.
In July 1960, Long visited Ibuka and Morita in Japan where the negotiations in information sharing began. Sony was highly invested in the new technology of transistors that had come to replace vacuum tubes, while Ampexs engineers still relied on the tubes. Sony agreed to produce transistor circuits for Ampexs VTRs in exchange for Sonys right to produce VTRs to non-broadcast customers. (Lardner p.63) Sony, therefore, was able to copy Ampexs existing technology under their own name; they received the rights to future developments through transistor technology. By 1961, Sony released the SV-201 VTR that used the helical scanning technique and transistors, but the market was limited to mostly educational uses, but Sony envisioned a future home market for the VTR. Ampex on the other hand decided to expand on the broadcasting market through its invention of the EDITEC.
The instant electronic editing would become a major factor in commercial television when in 1967; Ampex released its VR-3000. The VR-3000 was a portable color VTR that used the editing capabilities of the EDITEC to manipulate the image. Specifically, this revolutionized the commercial sports industry by allowing slow motion and instant replay. The first use of this technology came in 1967 when ABC taped the World Series of Skiing in Colorado and slowed down the images so viewers could follow the action. (Kunin p.3) This technology was useful to the broadcasting world, but Ampexs failure came through its lack of development in the home market.