RCA Selectavision VCR
"Expirmental"
1974
RCA Consumer Electronics Division,
7900 Rockville Road,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46224
USA

    This experimental video cassette recorder is based on RCA's "MagTape" format, a format that never got beyond the research stage. From what I've been able to find out on the internet, RCA started developing the MagTape system in 1971 and in 1974 they made 200 field test units to test out the system but RCA abandoned further development on the system in October of 1974. I think this is one of those field test units. The abandonment of the MagTape system led RCA to develop and market the CED video disk system.
    I found this unit at a westside Indy Goodwill Outlet Center in January 2009.

Measurements:
Height...6 inches
Width...24 inches
Depth...17 inches

Power Source:
AC...120 volts

Click here to view, by means of TerraServer, the factory complex as it looks today.

    Bell & Howell developed the mechanics and RCA developed the electronics. The drum head, measuring 9 inches across, consists of 4 video heads. The tape only comes in contact with 1/4 of the drum assembly's area and there are two pinch rollers, one on each side of the contact area of the drum. Instead of pulling the tape out of the cassette and wrapping around the drum assembly, like VCRs today do, this unit shoves the drum assembly partly into the cassette. Unfortunately I don't have a cassette to try out this unit and doubt I'll ever find one so this unit is just going to stay as a silent curiosity. Currently the control levers are stuck in place and someday I'll have to open up the underside and free them up. Construction wise, it looks more like a well made homebrew or kit unit then anything that was manufactured. The chassis is very flimsy and if you were to lift up one corner of the machine, it will bend and twist. This unit is big and heavy, it's about the size of a late 1970s Kenwood monster stereo receiver and weighs a hefty 42 lbs.

    This paper tag is mounted on the back of the VCR.

This web page was last updated: February 1, 2009