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CED in the History of Media Technology


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Ampex Signature V

1963: First Consumer-only Video Tape Recorder

The Ampex Signature V was offered in the 1963 Neiman-Marcus catalog at a price of $30,000. This behemoth was nine feet long and weighed 900 pounds. It was affectionately called "Grant's Tomb" after Gus Grant, the marketing manager who came up with the idea. The video portion of the system included the Black & White reel-to-reel video recorder with TV tuner and automatic timer as well as a home television camera.

The cabinet also housed a complete audio system including an AM/FM tuner, stereo amplifier, record player, reel-to-reel audio recorder, and stereo loudspeakers. A color TV was viewable from the front of the console, while all other components were accessed from the top. The $30,000 price tag included a personalized plaque and installation by an Ampex service engineer.


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