Its on again -- Off again relations with the Broadcast Industry.

Now over five decades old, Ampex Corporation has been involved in broadcast and at the forefront of technology breakthroughs nearly all the way. Their "foot in the door" was the, now legendary, real-to-real audio tape machine found in nearly every radio station from 1950 on. Among Ampex's many contributions are the development of the first practical videotape recorder, the introduction of helical scan recording and the invention of slow motion instant replay.

It is sad to see Ampex making one more turn away from the broadcast industry. According to their current CEO, Ampex has recently decided to refocused its business and is leveraging its core expertise in hopes of becoming a leader in the next stage of Internet development – Internet video.

Through its iNEXTV subsidiary, Ampex has entered several Internet video-related markets, including advertising and commerce-supported original video programming and improved video streaming technology, as well as Webcasting services.

Through what some perceive as gross misdirection of marketing and management, Ampex has gone from a household word in broadcasting to nearly a "has-been." What appears to some as a step in this same direction, Ampex intends to sell its high performance mass data storage operations to help fund this "strategic" redirection, as they call it.

There is little proof that the name, AMPEX was an accident.  Approcifa tales aboud that it is the initials of it's founder Alexander M. Poniatoff and the other two letters were suposed to be for "Electric Company," but the C got mistaken for and X.  Not a bad mistake.

To help perpetuate what once was, the following is a chronology for milestones Ampex has achieved when it was truly one of the greatest.

Mile Stones


Ampex Electric and Manufacturing Company is
formed by Alexander M. Poniatoff in San Carlos,



American Broadcasting Company uses an Ampex

Model 200 audio recorder for the first-ever U.S. tape

delay radio broadcast of The Bing Crosby Show.


Ampex introduces the first "dedicated"

instrumentation recorder, Model 500, built for the

U.S. Navy.


Ampex introduces the first multi-track audio recorder

derived from multi-track data recording technology.


Ampex introduces the first magnetic theater sound

system, made for Todd/AO CinemaScope.



The Ampex VRX-1000 (later renamed the Mark IV)

videotape recorder is introduced on March 14, 1956,

at the National Association of Radio and Television

Broadcasters in Chicago. This is the world's first

practical videotape recorder and is hailed as a major

technological breakthrough. CBS goes on air with

the first videotape delayed broadcast, Douglas

Edwards and The News, on November 30, 1956,

from Los Angeles, California, using the Ampex Mark



NASA selects Ampex data recorders and magnetic

tape, used for virtually all U.S. space missions



The famous Nixon-Khrushchev "Kitchen Debate"

takes place at the Moscow Trade Fair, and is

captured on an Ampex videotape recorder.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

presents Ampex with an Oscar for technical



Helical scanning recording is invented by Ampex,

the technology behind the worldwide consumer video

revolution, and used in all home VCRs today.


Ampex introduces EDITEC electronic video editing,

allowing broadcast television editors frame-by-frame

recording control, simplifying tape editing and

making animation effects possible. This was the

basis for all subsequent editing systems.


Ampex introduces a new computer peripheral digital

tape transport, the TM-7. Its design far surpasses

previous tape drives, using 80 percent fewer parts

and completely eliminating pinch rollers and brake



Ampex introduces the VR-2000 high-band videotape

recorder, the first ever to be capable of the color

fidelity required for high-quality color broadcasting.


ABC uses the Ampex HS-100 disk recorder for

playback of slow-motion downhill skiing on World

Series of Skiing in Vail, Colorado. Thus begins the

use of slow motion instant replay in sporting events.


Ampex introduces the RG memory. It is a medium

capacity memory with an access time of 350

nanoseconds (less than half of one millionth of a

second) and expandable from medium to very large

capacity (up to 5,000,000 bits) by adding memory



The introduction of the Ampex VR-3000

revolutionizes video recording


Ampex invents magneto-resistive (MR) heads, now

used in advanced computer disk drives.


Ampex introduces the Videofile® system, used by

Scotland Yard for the electronic storage and retrieval

of fingerprints.


Ampex introduces the ACR-25, the first automated

robotic library system for the recording and playback

of television commercials.


Ampex introduces TBM (TeraBit Memory), a 2-inch

transverse tape-based online digital storage system

for high-performance computing applications.


The first TBM delivered reaches a

never-before-achieved 3 trillion-bit capacity.


Ampex introduces the AVR-2, the first modular

quadruplex recorder/reproducer for professional

broadcasters. It requires one-half to one-third the

operating space required by other quad machines.


Ampex introduces the VPR-1, helical scan, 1-inch

videotape recorder. The VPR-1's successor, the

Type C VPR-2 (1978), becomes the industry

standard for video recording.


Ampex introduces the AST® process, the first

automated scan tracking for variable speed effects,

making slow motion possible directly from tape for

the first time.


Ampex introduces Electronic Still Store (ESS™)

which allows producers to store digital video images

for later editing and broadcast.


Ampex introduces the HBR-3000, the first high-bit

rate, high-density magnetic recorder for logging and

storage of electromagnetic data.


The Ampex Video Art (AVA™) video graphics

system is used by artist Leroy Nieman on air during

Super Bowl XII. AVA, the first video paint system,

allows the graphic artist, using an electronic pen, to

illustrate in a new medium, video. This innovation

paved the way for today's high quality electronic

graphics, such as those used in video games.


Ampex introduces the ADO® system, which creates

digital special effects, allowing rotation and

perspective of video images. This changed forever

the way television material would be manipulated

and created.


Ampex introduces the DCRS digital cassette

recorder, offering compact cassette storage with the

equivalent of 16 digital, 14 inch, 8 DDR

instrumentation reels on one cassette.


Partial-response maximum-likelihood (PRML) data

decoding technology has its first use in Ampex's

DCRsi™ recorders. This technology is now

commonly used in high performance computer disk

drives and other high density magnetic data storage



Ampex introduces D-2, the first composite digital

video recording format.


Ampex obtains patent for keepered media, which

adds a soft magnetic layer to magnetic recording

media, increasing the resulting recording capacity.


Ampex introduces its DCT® products, the first digital

component post-production system using digital

image compression technology to produce

unsurpassed quality images. The system includes

the finest videotape recorder ever made, the DCT



Ampex introduces its DST® products,

high-performance computer mass data storage

systems able to store half the contents of the Library

of Congress in 21 square feet of floor space.


Ampex introduces the DIS™ 120i and DIS 160i dual

port, data/instrumentation recorders, making it

possible for the first time to capture real time

instrumentation data and then utilize the same

recorder to process the data in a computer

environment through its second port using SCSI-2



Ampex introduces the new double density DST data

storage product line, offering the highest capacity

data storage system in the industry. The DST 812

robotic library can now store 12.8 terabytes of data,

the entire Library of Congress, in 21 square feet of

floor space.


Ampex introduces the DST 712 Automated Cartridge

Library System capable of storing up to 5.8

terabytes with an aggregate data transfer rate of up

to 40MB/sec.


Fox Television Network becomes the first network to

store its primetime television programs as data files

on DST media and library systems.


Ampex Introduces scalability to the to the DST 712

library system, allowing multiple DST 712 cabinets

to be connected via a simple cartridge pass through

mechanism Multiple libraries can be configured for

almost unlimited capacity.

Emmy Awards


VTR development


VR-2000 color VTR


AST® Video Tracking


Type C format development


ESS™ Still Store


ADO® Digital Effects System


VPR-5 (first helical scan portable VTR)


Zeus™ Advanced Video Processor


VPR-3 Videotape Recorder


D-2 video recording technology development


ACR 225 Commercial Spot Player

Monitor Awards

Presented by the International Teleproduction Society for

outstanding technical achievement


ADO® Digital Effects System


VPR-5 Portable Videotape Recorder


Zeus™ Advanced Video Processor


DCT 700d Digital Tape Drive

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