See Your Home Movies on TV (Jun, 1970)

See Your Home Movies on TV

Does the idea of seeing your home movies on television sound appealing? You’ll be able to soon, when the Vidicord, a new British invention that is part projector, part TV camera, becomes available.

You just plug the output of the Vidicord into your TV antenna connection, switch on the set, and sit back. There’s no need to draw the curtains or turn out the lights. If there’s sound on your film you’ll get that, too. And you can hold any frame at the flip of a switch for an instant still.

Here’s how it works: You thread your film into the machine as you would with any projector. A low-temperature light source behind the film projects a crisp image through the focusing lens onto the sensitized target plate of the Vidicon camera tube. The cold light will not warp or burn the tiny 8-mm frame even when stopped for a still.

The tube scans the image and its amplified output modulates a microwatt RF oscillator to produce the video signal. For sound, there is a magnetic pickup head.

Oscillators operate in one of the UHF bands, and are tuned to the frequency of an unused channel on your TV. The combined signals are wired into the set through a coaxial cable, so you just twist the selector to change over from broadcast programs to your own closed-circuit one.

Though still in the pre-production stages, the Vidicord has already been successfully tested in a hotel in Spain, where filmed shows and tourist infor mation are piped to TV sets in individual rooms. The London Hilton may be another early customer, using the equipment to plug into the hotel’s facilities.

Schools would be another natural for this device. Educational films could be shown simultaneously in any number of classrooms. Doctors could use it, too, for consultations.

Sets for home use are still in the future. Volume manufacture has not yet started, and the present price runs around $500. A lower-priced version under development works as an “op-tronic reproducer.” It bypasses the projection process, scanning the illuminated film directly. Color? Still a long way off, although you can still get a black-and-white screening of color films.—David Scott

  1. Hirudinea says: July 18, 20125:08 pm

    1970, eh? I think I’ed just wait for the VCR. (Note to self, NOT BETA!)

  2. Toronto says: July 18, 20126:12 pm

    How did he get “Fireball XL5” on 8mm film? (I loved that show!)

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