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Richard1978
20-02-2012, 21:24
There are a few audio - visual formats that didn't quite become common, but didn't totally flop either.

Here's a few I can think of

Quadrophonic records

8-Track cartridges

U-Matic video tapes

N-1500 & derived formats

Laserdisks

Digital Audio Tapes

Minidiscs

I'm sure there are some more.

Retrogames
21-02-2012, 09:07
Video 2000

Reel to Reel tape

Pixelvision (video on audio cassettes)

DCC Philips digital compact cassettes

CED videodisc (always wanted one of these!)

Roxxy
22-02-2012, 01:24
Reel to reel tape was the standard format from around the time of WW2 up until the late '60s; it was popular alright, as it was the only tape technology that was available then, but since the advent of the tape cassette it rapidly became obsolete for entertainment uses. However, it was used by the media up until only about 10 years ago- my sister is a journalist and used to have her own Revox reel-to-reel tape recorder up until the late '90s, as editing tape was easier in those days than doing digital editing.
Likewise, 8-track cartridge cassettes were very popular in the early '70s because they were the cheapest form of compact tape on the market (conventional cassettes were around but were much more expensive back then). The limitation of the 8-track was that you couldn't record on them, only play back, which is why they had such a short lifespan. But it wasn't that these technologies weren't popular, they very much WERE in their day- it's just that they have been superceded so totally that people tend to imagine that they never caught on, which they DID.
The videodisc of the early '80s was an enigma, as essentially they were pretty much the same as DVDs- the technology was the same, both are read by laser, it's just that the videodisc was larger (the same size as a vinyl LP) and, once again, could only be played back and not recorded on. But when they first appeared c.1981, videodisc players were half the price of video-cassette machines and are now highly sought after on eBay. Never be fooled into thinking that DVDs are a super new 21st century innovation- the technology has been around for over 30 years!!
In the early '80s, there was a great struggle for supremacy between VHS and BetaMax format for video cassettes- VHS eventually won, but BetaMax was the preferred option for news organisations, and the media still use BetaMax cassettes to this day (for this reason, BetaMax video cameras and players that pop up on eBay now and again are not as expesnive as you might think).
Quadrophonic records? Hmmm, yes, they never took off as one might've expected- I think the reason for THAT one was because most consumers of the time could not afford the hi-fi systems that would've played them to their best advantage, so it didn't really make any difference to them whether the album they were buying was quadrophonic or not. They fetch a bit on the collector's market these days, mind you.

Retrogames
09-04-2012, 20:01
Ignoring the erroneous information above- Roxxy, CED videodisc is certainly not the same as a DVD, it's more akin to a vinyl album, no lasers involved- anyone have any pricing info on CED players? There is nothing online and nothing has sold on eBay that I can find. I have found a working player and 100+ discs and knowing the seller he'll want me to decide the price.

shilton dipper
09-04-2012, 20:36
I remember people talking about Quadraphonic sound but can't say I knew anyone that actually had it.

Trickyvee
10-04-2012, 09:42
I remember people talking about Quadraphonic sound but can't say I knew anyone that actually had it.

I don't even know what stereophonic sound is. Is that just posh for stereo?

PC66
23-06-2013, 21:30
Some formats also became more popular in some places than others. For example, 8-track tape cartridges were far more common in the U.S. than in the U.K., and some American auto manufacturers offered 8-track players as standard factory options in cars right up until the early 1980's. But before the 8-track cartridge, there had been several other cartridge tape formats in the mid 1960's which had very limited use and then pretty much sank without trace.

As for U-Matic video tape, while it might not have ever seen popular home use due to the cost and the fact that Betamax and VHS then came along, it was an extremely common cassette format in professional circles for many years, being used widely in broadcast environments as well as for things like CCTV recording of factory processes etc.

PC66
23-06-2013, 21:31
I don't even know what stereophonic sound is. Is that just posh for stereo?
Stereo - Short for stereophonic
Mono - Short for monaural
:)

Richard1978
25-06-2013, 20:31
Some formats also became more popular in some places than others. For example, 8-track tape cartridges were far more common in the U.S. than in the U.K., and some American auto manufacturers offered 8-track players as standard factory options in cars right up until the early 1980's. But before the 8-track cartridge, there had been several other cartridge tape formats in the mid 1960's which had very limited use and then pretty much sank without trace.

As for U-Matic video tape, while it might not have ever seen popular home use due to the cost and the fact that Betamax and VHS then came along, it was an extremely common cassette format in professional circles for many years, being used widely in broadcast environments as well as for things like CCTV recording of factory processes etc.

I remember reading in Record Collector there was a company in the USA that made licenced 8-tracks well until the 1980s, mostly for truckers who liked the fact they could a lot of music without needing to be turned over.

My Dad can remember having training videos on U-matic in the 1970s.

PC66
26-06-2013, 17:01
Most of the commercially produced 8-track cartridges tended to run for about 11 to 12 minutes for once around the loop, so about three-quarters of an hour total playing time - Roughly the same as one side of a C90 Compact Cassette.

Avahi1057
27-06-2013, 00:15
Zip drives.

Cartimand
27-06-2013, 10:47
I bought a second-hand quadrophonic SQ matrix decoder unit for my hifi, but had very few records that used the technology - a couple of Krautrock ones (Ash Ra Tempel and Cosmic Jokers) and Tubular Bells. Was impressive sound for the time though - had the speakers set up in the 4 corners of my bedroom. Can still remember my dad yelling "turn that **** down!" (he never really appreciated Krautrock).

PC66
27-06-2013, 11:46
One of the things which probably led to the low take-up of quadraphonic, aside from the more expensive equipment, need to find room for more speakers, etc., was the plethora of different formats. The SQ matrix-encoded system was one of the two main disc formats, designed with the intent that records should be playable on regular stereo equipment as well. Then there was CD-4 which was totally incompatible, used a high-frequency carrier to enable four discrete channels to be carried, and required a special pickup and stylus. But there were also many variations, especially of the matrix-encoded types, and I think without any clear, single emerging standard public interest rather waned.

By contrast, a standard method of encoding stereo discs was adopted in 1957 and remained unchanged for as long as they were produced.

Richard1978
27-06-2013, 13:11
There were some rare quad 8-tracks (16-tracks!?) cartridges & players that were a standard design (I guess) & didn't need any encoding of channels.

I'm not sure if they were sold here much if at all.

PC66
27-06-2013, 16:57
There were some rare quad 8-tracks (16-tracks!?) cartridges & players that were a standard design (I guess) & didn't need any encoding of channels.
That was the Quad-8 format. It still had only 8 tracks across the quarter-inch width of the tape, so the whole presentation was just two passes of the loop. It used a quad-head to pick up tracks 1, 3, 5 & 7 on the first pass, then 2, 4, 6 & 8 on the second (compared with the Stereo-8 format's double head which used 1 & 5 on the first pass, 2 & 6 on the second, etc.).

Quad-8 players had the advantage of being able to play normal Stereo-8 cartridges, a small notch in the casing of the Quad-8 cartridges selecting the correct mode. But Quad-8 cartridges couldn't be properly played in a Stereo-8 player, since the latter would pick up only half of the required number of tracks.

escorteclipse1990
27-06-2013, 18:03
I found a box full of 8 track cassettes years ago (1990s), about 100 or so cassettes. I had no 8 track player to play them on, and nobody wanted them so they went into the skip. Shame really.

Arran
18-07-2015, 20:50
Video8, Hi8, and Digital8 camcorder cassettes.

Video8 was Sony's alternative to VHS-C but nowhere near as popular because unlike VHS-C cassettes could not be played back in a VHS video recorder using a special caddy.

Hi8 was a prosumer format often used for news gathering and by small companies producing documentaries and educational videos. It is the second highest quality analogue camcorder format.

Digital8 was Sony's alternative to MiniDV but was only available on consumer grade camcorders.

The formats are backwards compatible with each other.