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|CED in the History of Media Technology|
On September 27, 1951, RCA chief David Sarnoff celebrated the 45th anniversary of his start in the radio industry with ceremonies at RCA Laboratories. In a speech to the engineering staff, he suggested three technical innovations he would like to receive as birthday presents on his 50th anniversary, five years in the future:
When his 50th anniversary came around in 1956, Sarnoff didn't get the first two items, but he was presented with a prototype "Hear See" videoplayer by Harry Olson (at left above), director of the RCA Acoustics Laboratory. But this was a definite anticlimax, as Ampex a few months earlier had introduced a highly-successful commercial videotape recorder. RCA did eventually emerge as a major player in the home videotape player market with the introduction of the VBT200 in 1977. But this first VHS-format unit was based on technology licensed from Matsushita rather than developed in-house at RCA Laboratories. RCA's in-house MagTape consumer VCR had been abandoned in 1974.