JVC Yokosuka Plant
58-4, Shinmei-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa
At the Yokohama Plant of Victor Company of Japan, Limited, a team of engineers headed by Shizuo Takano and Yuma Shiraishi developed VHS (Video Home System) format. They looked ahead to the need for home video tape recorders and embodied their idea in unique inventions. The first model JVC HR-3300 was announced on 9 September 1976. Their basic design with subsequent improvement gained wide customer acceptance. VHS became the world standard for home video tape recorders. Beginning with Valdemar Poulsen’s first magnetic recording of the voice in 1898, magnetic recording and reproduction was first put into practice in the 1930s. In the 1950s, research and development of the videotape recorders for use in broadcasting finally started. In Japan, inventor Kenjiro Takayanagi’s dream to develop a technology capable of storing images on some form of magnetic material was shared by Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo Takano. They took the task of creating a workable home videotape recorder (VTR) at Victor Company of Japan, Limited (JVC). In 1975, Sony released the first Beta format home VTR, SL-6300. This ½-inch, two-head product was the first serious home VTR, targeting individual consumers. As a forerunner, Sony’s Beta format was regarded as a standard in the industry. However, JVC utilized its technology and marketing techniques and educated the public to accept VHS as a new standard. Distinct from the one-hour recording time of U-format and Beta format VTRs, the JVC technology had two-hour recording capability and good picture quality. Finding a niche in this area, JVC on 9 September 1976, released a VHS-format home VTR, HR-3300. With a weight of 30 pounds, it was smaller and lighter than any other equivalent VTRs. To attain breakthrough levels of compact size, light weight, and long recording time, JVC developed the following three critical technologies: 1. Parallel loading mechanism: While U-format and Beta format used one loading pole going around the head drum in a U shape and winding the tape, VHS format adopted the new mechanism, which pulled out the tape into an M shape with two loading poles and wound it onto the head drum. It made compact size possible. 2. DL-FM system: As a newly invented circuit, this system placed a high pass filter, a low pass filter and two limiters prior to the FM demodulator. This invention made high-density recording possible. 3. PS color process: The slanted azimuth recording system, both in VHS and Beta formats, was used to raise the recording density. However, color signal crosstalk could not be eliminated through the azimuth effect. Thus, PS color process was developed to eliminate crosstalk by utilizing the strong line correlation of color signals. Aided by these inventions, VHS was able to obtain broad support from consumers. Its simple structure also made manufacture easy and many manufacturers entered the market for VTRs with the VHS format. The number of VHS VTRs steadily outstripped sales of Beta format VTRs despite its head start. In 1977, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) launched the VHS format in the United States and the American market contributed to the enormous growth of VHS.