Videotape Recorder

Charles Ginsberg invented the videotape recorder, that put images onto tape, in 1951. Ampex sold their first video recorder, the VRX-1000, in 1956 to CBS for $50,000 ($462,000 in 2018). Ampex recorders were sold exclusively to television studios.

Before videotape recordings, television broadcasts either played a movie in front of a TV camera or broadcast live. There were earlier video tape-recording devices, but they never worked well enough for commercial use. Pre-recording television shows became the norm after the invention of the videotape recorder.

Ampex was a “stock market darling” during the 1950s. However, after a 1960 announcement that GE was entering the market (which they never did), the stock price dropped and never recovered.

Eventually, Japanese companies earned the lion’s share of revenue and profits from home video technology. After two bankruptcies, Delta Information Systems purchased Ampex for the brand name in October 2014.