Legacy formats, Happy 40th U-matic

By | 9th September 2011

U-matic was one of the first video cassette formats. Until then open-reel tape was the norm. Prototype U-matic video recorders were first shown by Sony in 1969.

Japanese electronics giants Panasonic and JVC joined Sony and five other non-Japanese companies to agree unified standards for the format in 1970. The first U-matic products were introduced to the market in September 1971.

Five U-matic facts:-

  • The format was named after the U shaped tape path
  • Betamax, BetaSP and derivatives shared the same “U-load” system
  • U-matic S was the official name for small format U-matic tapes
  • S-format portable recorders gave the world ENG (Electronic News Gathering)
  • Most digital audio recordings in the 1980s were mastered to U-matic

The development of high-band U-matic saw the original format being named low-band U-matic. U-maticSP was the swan-song of the format.

Click here to find out more about our U-matic video transfer facilities.

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