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CED in the History of Media Technology


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Sony Betamax SL-7200

1976: First Stand-alone Sony Betamax VCR Released in the U.S.

The first stand-alone Sony Betamax VCR in the United States, the SL-7200, came on the market in February 1976 priced at $1295. This unit sold much better than the previous TV/VCR combo LV-1901. The external clock to turn the unit on and off at preset times was an optional accessory.

An interesting story about the clock is that it became external at the behest of Sony chairman Akio Morita. Upon seeing a prototype unit in a lab with an internal clock, he insisted that the clock be external so that if a clock malfunction took place, it could be repaired without bringing the whole VCR to the service center. When VHS VCR's appeared on the market in 1977, their integrated clocks were used as a marketing advantage in addition to their longer recording time.


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