It takes a leap of faith to introduce a totally new product. You can do all the research you want but until it hits the market and takes off you never know for sure if your going to have a hit. Before the first home recorder was introduced in America Sony felt confident that the time was right but they didn't have any way of knowing if it was what the public really wanted. They made a bold step but it wasn't an all or nothing venture.
As we have learned from the previous panels Sony already knew several important parts of the equation. They knew that industry and broadcasting recognized the value of video recording, so the public should too. They knew that using a cassette was convenient and popular, from their dominance with with U-matic format. And they knew that home recording was going to happen soon, because other companies were testing products of their own. What Sony did that really was a stroke of marketing savvy was to use their reputation as a premier quality television maker to outsmart the competition. The photo above is of the first ever home recorder. The genius of this model, the LV-1901A, is that for the price of a new car (to own a Sony TV wasn't cheap and it carried with it a certain amount of prestige) you could own a quality Trinitron color TV and a video recorder. The television helped sell the Betamax. Before the Betamax there were numerous attempts to market a successful home format. Click on the picture and many of these are shown. As you can see several of these are from some pretty heavy hitters. The competition could of been fierce. Click again and you can see the tape loading schemes and cassette set ups of theses various formats. (If you want to go into detail on each of these cassette designs they can be found by clicking here.) Click again and a features page for the LV-1901A is shown. Not a lot of these units were sold (electronics manufacturers are notorious about not releasing sales figures) but it was enough to establish two things. These were, that Sony was the new home recorder manufacturer being first on the scene with something that people wanted in mass, and that the public wanted the recorder without the TV. The LV-1901A was one of a kind, revolutionary in a way but never duplicated again in any form. The Betamax and the TV would remain forever separated. Click again and the sales brochures are shown. If you want to see them in detail click here. Next we look at the stand alone video recorder that rocketed Sony into that marketplace as the Betamax maker.
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To got to the next panel "The Betamax" click here.