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The fTlQQQzine Of Home Video 


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Spring, Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Nine 

Volume Two, Number Two 


The Videodisc Is Here 10 

by Alexander J. Haiken 

First came the home videocassette recorder. Now a new form of 
video promises to further change the way we view television in the 
home. I magine owning The Godfather for $16 . . . an offer you can’t 

What’s Next? Teletext 18 

by Nigel Cawthorne 

Pick up the phone, dial in to a central computer and start punching 
numbers on a handheld keypad that looks like a calculator. On your 
TV screen appears a list of movies in town, complete with review, 
show time, and theater name and location. 

Video Environment 26 

Coming out of a notable New York background in TV production at 
CBS and two major video houses, cocktail lounge proprietor Bruce 
Lang of Providence, R.l. has found large-screen TV both a business 
and a pleasure. 

Video Wallpaper 59 

by Gary Jitt 

A new series of 14 half-hour videocassettes are designed to “bring 
nature back home.” After a hectic day at the office, sit back, relax, 
and watch the waves roll in, on your TV. 

Video Programming Guide by Rena Adier 35 

An eight-page section. News & Views. Tops on the Tube. A New Source for Pre-Recorded 
Programs. More Programs to Come. Programming Notes—Readers’ Questions Answered. 

VideoTestS by Berger-Bralthwalte Labs 44 

Zenith KR-9000 Beta Videocassette Recorder 
Sharp 19C100 Color Television 
Magnavox 8240 Color Camera 
Hitachi VT-4200 VHS Videocassette Recorder 
Coleco Telstar Arcade Video Game 
Zenith SK-1961 Color Television 

Mike Staup of Magnavox with 
the Magnavision player and 
MCA DiscoVision disc at press 
debut two days before system 
went on sale for first time in 
world in Atlanta. On screen is a 
scene from “Smokey and the 
Bandit" with Burt Reynolds, 
one of the two best-selling 
titles on first day of sales. 
Other top seller was “Jaws.” 
(Videodisc artwork courtesy 
of MCA, Copyright 1978 MCA 
DiscoVision. All rights reserv¬ 

FEEDBACK VIDEO Readers Air their Views . 8 

VIDEOGRAM A Regular Report of Video News & Information .14 

NEW PRODUCTS The Latest in Home Video Equipment & Accessories .21 

TECHNICAL Q & A Some Help with Common Problems .24 

CHANNEL ONE What Is Video? .Bruce Apar 6 

THE TV DEN Curing the Blank-Screen Blues .David Lachenbruch 30 

THE VIDEO PROGRAMMER Rent, Borrow & Swap .Ken Winslow 33 

VIDEO is published five times a year—Spring, Summer. Fall. Annual Buyer s Guide, and Winter—by 
Reese Publishing Company, Inc., 235 Park Avenue South, New York. N Y. 10003. Single copy price $1.50 
(Annual Buyer’s Guide issue $2.25). One-year subscription $6.00. Application to mail at second-class 
postage rates is pending at N Y., N Y., and at additional mailing offices. = 1979 by Reese Publishing Com¬ 
pany. Inc. All rights reserved. = under Universal. International and Pan American Copyright Conventions. 
Reproduction of the editorial or pictorial content in any manner is prohibited. All material listed in this 
magazine is subject to manufacturer's change without notice, and the publisher assumes no responsibili¬ 
ty for such changes. Printed in the U.S.A. 

ISSN 0147-8907 

Video 5 

Future Video 
from Panasonic 

If you’re the least bit impressed 
now at what the family TV set is 
turning into—a veritable video 
information center in the home— 
you’d hardly believe your eyes at 
what a Panasonic sneak preview 
revealed is in our video future. 

Displayed by Panasonic’s 
parent company, Matsushita 
Electric Co. of Japan, at a recent 
business exposition—the 1979 
Winter Consumer Electronics 
Show—were products now in the 
prototype stage and some ready 
to be mass produced. Though it’s 
not likely you’ll find any in your 
local store for a good year or so, 
neither are these items science fic¬ 
tion imaginings. They’re real, 
they work, and they can be made 
available to the general public at 
prices that are reasonable by 

current economic standards. 

Not all the items demonstrated 
were video, but each was 
fascinating in its own right. 
Paper batteries, for instance. 
Allowing electronic products 
such as transistor radios, 
watches, and calculators to be 
freely designed without any 
restriction because of the 
battery’s size and shape, these 
paper-thin dry-power cells are 
0.03 inches thick (0.8 mm) and 
can be produced in any contour, 
making possible ultra-tiny 
products that fit in a pocket. 

In addition to the products pic¬ 
tured here, on view were a high¬ 
speed duplicating system that 
can copy a 2- or 4-hour VHS 
videocassette in five minutes (as 
compared with the two or four 
hours “real time” previously re¬ 
quired); an automatic antenna 
system with a special circuit that 

fully eliminates ghosts from your 
TV screen; and a high-definition 
TV system with remarkable 
resolution and color so sharp the 
viewer can almost sense a three- 
dimensional image on the screen. 

Unfortunately, this last piece of 
future video is confined for now to 
closed-circuit applications. 
That’s because its unusually 
sharp picture is the result of 1,125 
scanning lines. American televi¬ 
sion sets are on a standard (called 
NTSC) that uses only 525 lines. 
The system produces such a clear 
image it can be projected on a 55- 
inch screen and still be superior to 
a conventional television’s pic¬ 
ture. (As a rule, the larger a TV 
picture, the lesser its resolution 
and sharpness.) 

Other differences in the Pan¬ 
asonic prototype TV system is 
that it operates on a frequency of 
30 mHz, five times the width of a 

normal U.S. TV station frequen¬ 
cy, and its “aspect ratio” 
(relationship of width to height) 
is 5:3 (five units wide, three high) 
instead of the 4:3 ratio that stan¬ 
dard TV screens have. 

Another item still a few years 
away from availability but of 
great value to business and 
education professionals is a 
processor that in two minutes 
produces a fully mounted 35 mm 
color slide that’s ready for im¬ 
mediate viewing. Called “Insta- 
Moment Panacopy Slide 
Processor,” the system can make 
slides from a variety of sources, 
such as a chart, full color 
photograph, print, or illustration. 

Described on this page are 
other video products of the not- 
too-distant future that Mat¬ 
sushita featured in its exhibit. 

Mr. Gutenberg may not believe it but this "Picture Paper" TV Incorporates a "prin¬ 
ting press" device that delivers right to the viewer's hands a hard copy sheet of what 
appears on screen. The full color print-out emerges from a slot under the receiver. A 
picture signal is multiplexed over the audio wave of the TV broadcast, triggering the 
printing device. Printing time is two minutes. "We can see this developing into elec¬ 
tronic home delivery of the daily newspaper in color.” says a company spokesman. 
"The viewer can also get printed copies of weather reports, dramatic programs, 
texts of speeches, news background, or even recipes." 

Miniature black-and-white televisions to take on trips 
to the beach, a picnic, in a car. boat, or on vacation are 
quickly gaining in popularity. Until now, though, mini 
color TVs have not existed. This 4.5-inch diagonal TV 
weighs under 10 pounds and uses a new color tube 
that operates off dry battery power. The bright color 
TV picture can be easily viewed outdoors. Using only 7 
watts of power from 8 "D " batteries, it measures 5'U x 
8-3/8 X 11 '/2 inches (h/w/d). Matsushita says it will 
begin production this summer, but won't say when it 
will be on sale in the U.S. 

Home movies may be permanently pul to pasture 
when cameras like this become widely available. With 
a sensitivity three times that of normal video cameras, 
and weighing a feathery 4.4 pounds, this handy color 
camera reproduces a clear, bright TV image with as lit¬ 
tle as 50 lux of light, or the equivalent of a 7.2-watt 
lightbulb. The pick-up tube used is a new design and is 
called "Newvicon." The f/1.8 lens has automatic iris. 

This "fun and teach" TV 
machine is a two-way 
system that turns the TV into 
an electronic canvas by 
allowing the user to write on 
the screen in different colors 
with an electronic light pen. 
Basic animation, mul¬ 
ticolored charts, and 
graphics are some of the 
video effects that can be 
created. A standard 
audiocassette tape records 
and stores the screen infor¬ 
mation, with 350 separate 
frames fitting onto a 60- 
minule tape. Talking back to 
the TV is another feature, 
with pre-recorded tapes 
stimulating two-way com¬ 
munication. The tape can 
also record audio for music 
soundtracks or voice narra¬ 
tion. Color bars on a 
keyboard panel provide 
various hues from which the 
budding "video artist" can 
choose to paint an elec¬ 
tronic masterpiece. 


boosted somewhat, becoming more 
prominent than they were in direct 
reception, but there was no increase 
in clarity. 

Ease of Operation 

The placement of the controls on 
the Hitachi is logical, and learning 
to use them is easy. All are located 
on the front of the deck and are clear¬ 
ly marked. 

The frequently used jacks—for 
audio input, video (camera) input. 

and remote pause control—are also 
on the front of the unit, right under 
the VHP and UHF channel selector 
knobs, and we found it extremely 
useful to have these jacks so easily 
accessible. The only hidden control 
is the little-used RF channel selector, 
which is found on the bottom of the 

All the controls performed their 
functions flawlessly. Our only 
reservation—combining the stop 
and eject controls on one switch. 


Overall, the Hitachi VT-4200’s pic¬ 
ture was distinct (good in the SP 
mode, really quite good in LP); its 
audio clear and unmuffled; and its 
controls easy to operate and sen¬ 
sibly located. 

A nice special feature is the freeze- 
frame capability during playback, 
though it’s not without its stability 
problems. A common feature that’s 
lacking on this unit, however, is 
audio dub. 


Date of test: December 1978 
Model: VT-4200 

Suggested retail price: $995 (including all necessary 
cables, remote pause control) 

Function: record and playback on videotape 
Tape format: VHS 

Record/playback capability: up to 2 hours at SP, 4 hours 
at LP 

Dimensions: 6'/h x 19 x Id’A inches (h/w/d) 

Weight: 34 pounds 

Casing: simulated wood grain plastic with chrome trim 

Channel selectors: clickstop VHF & UHF 

Audio dub: no 

Mic input: yes 

Mic included: no 

Pause control: yes 

Remote pause control: yes 

Counter & memory: yes 

Auto shut-off: yes 

Timer: yes 
Camera input: yes 
AFT: yes 
AFC: no 

Tracking control: yes 
Skew control: no 

Controls: VHF & UHF channel selectors, AFT, 
clock/timer settings, tape counter & memory, tape 
speed switch, output selector, Fast Forward, Rewind, 
Record, Play, Stop/Eject, tracking, power/timer 
Special features: freeze frame in playback 



Overall picture quality: very good good 

Audio quality: very good good 

Timer accuracy: excellent excellent 

Rewind time: 4 minutes 4 minutes 

Fast forward time: 4 minutes 4 minutes 

Energy consumption: 35W 35W 

Overall performance: very good good 


THE Telstar 
Arcade from 
Coleco is a pro- 
game system 
(with all play¬ 
ing accessor¬ 
ies included) 
that offers a 
fairly wide 
range of color 
games — paddle games, target 
games, battle games, racing 
games—for one, two, and occasion¬ 
ally four players, at a modest cost. 

The console is unique because it’s 
triangular. This gives maximum 
control-panel area in the smallest 
possible space, which allows for per¬ 
manent placement of the various 
game accessories (steering wheel, 
gun in holster, etc.) right on the con¬ 
sole, but the design is a mixed bless¬ 
ing since many games are played us¬ 
ing controls located on a side not fac¬ 
ing the players. 

We received the game console and 
accessories, an AC adaptor, the 
TV/game switch box, and four game 

cartridges (Cartridge #1, containing 
tennis. Road Race, and Quick Draw, 
comes with purchase of the unit). We 
displayed the games alternately on 
the Zenith and Sharp TVs reviewed 
elsewhere in this issue. 

Setting things up for play was 
easy; the instructions on assembly 
were clear and well illustrated, and 
things fit where they were supposed 
to. Most of the parts simply snapped 
together; only the pistol holster had 
to be screwed into place. Our only 
problem was with the game 
cartridges—they did not always 
slide into place easily on the first try, 
and we occasionally had to do some 
wiggling to get them properly seated 
in their triangular spot on the top of 
the console. 

We liked the fact that the channel 
selector on the bottom of the console 
is well protected against accidental 
displacement; unless you move to 
another area where the channel 
selected was not vacant it would 
probably never need adjustment 
once set. As is usual wdth most 
games (and video recorder/players). 

it offers the choice ofchannel3or4. 

The Telstar Arcade did not seem to 
operate exactly on frequency, 
however. We used it in¬ 
terchangeably with other TV 
accessories operating on channel 3, 
and the game was the only one that 
required some TV set re-tuning; if 
you have a VCR or other attach¬ 
ment, then, you may find fine tuning 
a way of life. 

Picture & Audio Quality 

The Telstar Arcade is not a par¬ 
ticularly sophisticated game as far 
as graphics are concerned. Colors 
are clear (though limited), however, 
and legends and on-screen scores 
are big, bright, and easy to read. 

Game sound effects are also rather 
elementary—car crashes, beeps, 
gunfire, etc.—but satisfying enough. 
Important to note is that they come 
from the game unit itself, not from 
the TV, which means that they can’t 
be raised or lowered in volume. It 
also means, however, that the 
volume on the TV should be turned 
all the way down, and this 

Video 53 


THE Zenith 
Model SK- 
1961W is a 19- 
inch table- 
model color re¬ 
ceiver in a ca¬ 
binet with a 
cleverly ta¬ 
pered design 
that makes it 
look slightly 
more compact than it really is. In 
common with most table models, it 
has a built-in telescoping anten¬ 

na—a full dipole, not a mere 
monopole—plus a UHF “bow-tie” 
that clips onto either VHP pole. 

like many current sets, this one 
was designed primarily for opera¬ 
tion by remote control, and all the 
controls on the set itself are hidden 
behind a door to the right of the 
screen. When the door is closed, the 
only features visible are fourteen 
channel-indicator windows, an 
ambient-light sensor, and a light 
that signals when the exclusive 
“zoom” feature is in operation. 

There’s no pilot light, as a channel 
indicator will glow whenever the set 
is on. 

The remote control holds buttons 
to turn the set on and off, mute the 
sound (a very handy feature), and 
operate the zoom, plus up/down but¬ 
tons for volume and channel. 

The zoom is Zenith’s most unusual 
feature: pressing a button on the 
remote control enlarges the central 
portion of the picture about 50 per¬ 
cent, somewhat as if the studio 
camera had zoomed in on it. When 

54 Video 

eliminates the rather nasty “blank 
channel” noise that occurs during 
cartridge changes, when the power 
on the game unit must be turned off 
to avoid “blowing” a cartridge. 

The Games 

The four cartridges offered a total 
of twenty games, and each cartridge 
contains more than one type of 
game: Cartridge #2 has various pad¬ 
dle and target games; Cartridge #3 
has pinball and target games; Car¬ 
tridge #4 has paddle and target 

Although there were numerous 
variations and gimmicks (action 
speed-ups, ball slams, ball english, 
disappearing targets, etc.) that spice 
up play, and some games (four- 
player hockey, for instance) were 
reasonably challenging, in general 
we found the game selection 
somewhat repetitive and the action 
a bit on the bland side. 

Ease of Operation 

The instruction sheets that come 
with the cartridges are quite clear, 
and working them is easy enough. 
But because the various knobs, but¬ 
tons, and levers control different 
functions for different games. 

things can get confusing and game 
playing can be slowed down. Forex- 
ample, there are four positions on 
the game selector switch, so with 
cartridges that offer more than four 
games, choosing is done with ad¬ 
ditional controls—like the gear shift 
on the road racing panel. In other 
games, like pinball, the paddle 
knobs or the steering wheel modify 
the playing field. We had more fun 
trying to figure out what control 
would add a twist to the games than 

Our testing lab had trouble with the 
cartridges: “They did not always slide 
into place easily on the first try.” 

we did actually playing them; on a 
few it was possible to get the balls 
hung up and watch them make 
endless rounds of the court without 
our intervention or watch them go 
through what should have been 
solid sidewalls or bumpers. 

We were glad that the game had 
suction feet to prevent the control 
panel from skidding around, but we 
found that having needed controls 
on sides of the console triangle away 
from the one used for the game in 
progress was distracting. Another 
nuisance, though minor, was the 
fact that the knob on the game selec¬ 
tor never lined up with the numerals. 


In summing up the Video Arcade, 
we have to say that for every plus 
there was an accompanying minus, 
and although some games did pre¬ 
sent pla 3 dng challenges the similari¬ 
ty between many of them made our 
enthusiasm wear thin after a while. 

In addition, the action was not 
particularly engrossing and the 
graphics were bland. 

Its overall design, plus the fact 
that it packs its own gun and holster 
and steering wheel, might make it 
just right for kids. 


Date of test: December 1978 
Model: Telstar Arcade 

Suggested retail price: $59.95 (including AC adaptor, 
TV/game switch box. Cartridge #1); additional 
cartridges—$19.95 each 
Function: programmable video game 
Dimensions: width—18 inches each side; height—4 inches 
plus projections 
Weight: 4 pounds 
Casing: plastic 

Controls: power on/off, pro/beginner skill, game selector, 
reset button, left and right control knobs, left and right 
slam buttons, steering wheel, shift lever, target starter, 
pistol trigger 

Games available: Cartridge #1—tennis, Road Race, Quick 
Draw; Cartridge #2—tennis, hockey, handball for 1,2,4 
4 players. Jumping Target, Quick Shot; Cartridge #3— 
pinball for 1 or 2 players, Shooting Gallery, Shoot the 
Bear; Cartridge #4—Naval Battle, Speed Ball, Blast- 

Overall picture quality: fair 
Computer figures: good 
Computer scoring and legends: good 
Overall audio quality: fair 
Ease of operation: poor 
Energy consumption: 9 volts 
Overall performance: fair 


the zoom enlarges the picture, 
however, picture grain, snow, and 
raster lines are enlarged too, so 
there’s no real gain in picture detail. 
Contrast and colorwash out slightly 
as well, and rarely is the picture’s 
center of interest actually centered 
on the screen; rather, the zoom is 
likely to cut off a portion of whatever 
you’re zooming in on. There’s no 
zoom button on the set itself; if 
you’re close enough to touch the set 
you wouldn’t need to zoom in closer. 

Most—but not all—of the Zenith’s 
other controls are quite conven¬ 
tional. There are switches for master 
on/off, power on/off, a “Color Sen¬ 
try” control (which limits the range 
of the color, tint, and brightness ad¬ 

justment), and AFC (Automatic Fre¬ 
quency Control). Control knobs are 
also provided for volume, tint, color 
level, sharpness, black level, and 
picture; and a rocker switch gives 
on-the-set up/down channel selec¬ 

Since “sharpness” and “black 
level” may be unfamiliar terms, and 
“picture” means different things on 
different sets, they deserve an ex¬ 

The “sharpness” control varies 
the amount of detail in the picture. 
At its sharpest setting, it 
emphasizes ghosts, complexion 
problems of on-screen actors, and 
other undesired details as well as 
desired ones; if you like a brutally 

realistic view of what passes for life 
on TV, you might prefer that setting. 
At its softest, textures turn creamy 
and smooth, without the faint halo 
effect produced in movies in which 
diffusion filters are used; roman¬ 
ticists might prefer that setting. 
Zenith gives this control a clickstop 
detent at the center of its range, and 
we found that setting quite satisfac¬ 
tory for virtually all our viewing. 
(For comparison, the Sharp TV set 
reviewed in this issue had about the 
same degree of picture detail as the 
Zenith did when set slightly to the 
soft side of control center.) Though 
we used Zenith’s recommended set¬ 
ting most of the time, we still ap¬ 
preciated having the extra degree of 

Video 55