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Dead medium: Phonovid Vinyl Video
From: dmorton@rci.rutgers.edu (David Morton)

Source(s): Source: New York Times, May 6, 1965 (((bruce remarks: also see Working Note 29.2, "'Vinyl Video' conceptual art project.")))

"Westinghouse Putting TV on Phonograph Records"

"The Westinghouse Electric Corporation introduced yesterday a new electronics system that plays sound and television pictures from phonograph records. The new system, to be called Phonovid, was displayed before the Edison Electric Institute convention at Miami by Dr. William E. Shoupp, vice president for research at Westinghouse. 'The record is not just an audio recording that triggers pictures from a slide projector,' Dr. Shoupp said. 'Both the audio signal and the video signal are present in the grooves of the record and both are picked up by the phonograph needle.'

"In answer to questions, Dr. Shoupp disclosed that the price of a Phonovid installation was $10,000. He indicated that closed-circuit television in schools would be a prime market and that television stations might find Phonovid useful for news background pictures and reports.

"It was emphasized that the series of still pictures, voice and music came from the same phonograph records. Up to 400 pictures and 40 minutes of voice and music are available from two sides of a 12-inch, 33 1/3 r.p.m. recording, known as the Videodisc. The pictures can be line drawings, charts, printed text, or photographs.

"Dr. Shoupp did not cite a price on Videodiscs but indicated they could conceivably run as low as classical records if the demand warranted it. He explained Phonovid would thus provide 'a complete 400-page picture book on a single long-play phonograph record. . . with the accompanying sound equal in quality to that broadcast by an AM radio station.'

"In operation, the record would be played on n ordinary turntable and the pictures and sound could appear on any number of television receivers in a classroom or throughout an entire building. Any part of the recording and picture can be held, skipped or repeated by manually lifting the tone arm of the record player.

"The key to the system is a scan converter == a series of electronic circuits that 'scan' the video signals on the recording and convert them into a video image. This is a technique similar to that used for obtaining television pictures from signals broadcast from weather satellites and space probes."

David Morton (dmorton@rci.rutgers.edu)