Ampex's

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

1944

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

California.

1948

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.

1950

Ampex introduces the first "dedicated"

instrumentation recorder, Model 500, built for the

U.S. Navy.

1954

Ampex introduces the first multi-track audio recorder

derived from multi-track data recording technology.

1954

Ampex introduces the first magnetic theater sound

system, made for Todd/AO CinemaScope.

1956

 

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

IV.

1958

NASA selects Ampex data recorders and magnetic

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

since.

1959

The famous Nixon-Khrushchev "Kitchen Debate"

takes place at the Moscow Trade Fair, and is

captured on an Ampex videotape recorder.

1960

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

presents Ampex with an Oscar for technical

achievement.

1961

Helical scanning recording is invented by Ampex,

the technology behind the worldwide consumer video

revolution, and used in all home VCRs today.

1963

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.

1963

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

cylinders.

1964

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.

1967

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.

1967

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

modules.

1967

The introduction of the Ampex VR-3000

revolutionizes video recording

1968

Ampex invents magneto-resistive (MR) heads, now

used in advanced computer disk drives.

1969

Ampex introduces the Videofile® system, used by

Scotland Yard for the electronic storage and retrieval

of fingerprints.

1970

Ampex introduces the ACR-25, the first automated

robotic library system for the recording and playback

of television commercials.

1970

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

transverse tape-based online digital storage system

for high-performance computing applications.

1972

The first TBM delivered reaches a

never-before-achieved 3 trillion-bit capacity.

1974

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.

1976

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.

1977

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.

1977

Ampex introduces Electronic Still Store (ESS™)

which allows producers to store digital video images

for later editing and broadcast.

1977

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

rate, high-density magnetic recorder for logging and

storage of electromagnetic data.

1978

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.

1981

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.

1983

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.

1983

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

devices.

1988

Ampex introduces D-2, the first composite digital

video recording format.

1991

Ampex obtains patent for keepered media, which

adds a soft magnetic layer to magnetic recording

media, increasing the resulting recording capacity.

1992

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

1700d.

1992

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.

1995

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

protocol.

1996

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.

1997

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.

1998

Fox Television Network becomes the first network to

store its primetime television programs as data files

on DST media and library systems.

1999

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

1957

VTR development

1967

VR-2000 color VTR

1978

AST® Video Tracking

1978

Type C format development

1981

ESS™ Still Store

1983

ADO® Digital Effects System

1984

VPR-5 (first helical scan portable VTR)

1986

Zeus™ Advanced Video Processor

1986

VPR-3 Videotape Recorder

1989

D-2 video recording technology development

1990

ACR 225 Commercial Spot Player
 
 
 
 

Monitor Awards

Presented by the International Teleproduction Society for

outstanding technical achievement

1983

ADO® Digital Effects System

1985

VPR-5 Portable Videotape Recorder

1987

Zeus™ Advanced Video Processor

1994

DCT 700d Digital Tape Drive

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