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Audio CD mastering[edit]

Someone should add that the U-matic tape was the original mastering tape for Audio CD and is only recently being phased out in favor of other digital tape formats and error-checked CD-R burned on high quality CD recorders.

Details here.


In accordance with Wikipedia recommendations, this article should preferably retain Commonwealth English ('British') spellings, as those were used in the original version. (This comment posted in response to changing of spelling to U.S. English by one editor). Fourohfour 10:55, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Nothing against the fine country of Great Britain (from where my parents hailed) but I'm not sure why British spelling should be preferred over American spelling, which often contains fewer letters and is arguably used by more far more people. (E.g., the population of the United States is about five times that of Great Britain.) Also, my British relatives tell me that the American spelling of things is starting to make its way across the Atlantic.

Long footnote on porno[edit]

The long footnote on porno was written by Donreed for the article on videocassette recorders. It was too long and too tangenital for that article, so I transferred it here. Even here, it is dubious. For one thing, it never establishes that there was any commercial market in pornographic U-matic tapes in the 1970s, on which his whole hypothesis depends. — Walloon 08:43, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

This theory is interesting, *but* it smacks of original research. I've labelled it with "citation neededs". I also think that "porno" is too much like slang for an encyclopedia, and changed it. Fourohfour 12:17, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I usually don't go for the giant deletion but first he doesn't state clearly what he's saying. I'm guessing he's saying that porno collector box makers choose the size because all the porn stores had shelves made for U-matic tapes that they bought at flea markets. If that's the case then the note could be shorter and there needs to be something in an article on porno. --Gbleem 17:12, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I can't help noticing that in this talk section on pornography, the word "tangential" was misspelled "tangenital"! (A Freudian slip, perhaps?) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:03, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Two cassette sizes[edit]

There is no mention of the two cassette sizes. A picture of such would be good too. But I'm less than clear as to which of the three Umatic variants was available for each of the two sizes. Can some put this into the article? Colin99 19:56, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Further Infomation on Compatability Requested[edit]

The article says "Sony introduced the semi backwards-compatible High-band" -- with these players being used often in archival settings currently the article would serve a broader audience to explain the "semi backwards" comment. Could someone add a paragraph or sentence stating if the player/recorders in the U-matic line can play all U-matic tapes or not? See for list of players with the three types of U-matic: (LB), HB & SP (and the optional NR designation.)

The question is unanswered in the article: Do U-matic [all] players play [all] U-matic tapes?

This would be helpful in discovering what a U-matic deck does.

--Dcsutherland 09:18, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
As I understand it (from the Sony marketing materials), any player can play Low Band. High Band players can play either Low or High Band. SP players can play SP, Low, and High band. In other words, they're upwards compatible. There is also a limited degree of backwards compatibility - a Low band player can play a High band recording, albeit in black and white only. A High band player can play a SP recording, but without the picture quality improvements of SP (at least it's in color, though!) David Shaw (talk) 15:19, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

U-Matic for CD mastering[edit]

Could someone add to the Compact Disc article something about U-Matic VCRs with a PCM adaptor being used for audio CD mastering? What'd be especially nice is the exact specifications of how many bits of data per video line were used, and how that adds up to the 44.1Khz sampling rate. That's why audio CDs use 44.1Khz rather than something nicely divisible by 2 like 48Khz. Try telling that to many audiophiles and they'll go on about Nyquist frequency and lots of other retconned technobabble about why 48Khz wasn't used, when the truth is just the mundane fact of how much audio data Sony/Phillips was able to pack into each video frame on the tape. ;)

Light Trails[edit]

Television shows that were recorded in the 1970s and early 1980s on U-matic tape often had "light trails" -- smears of light that appeared when a light source was on camera. Much like a long-exposure photograph of a moving light source, except presumably the videotape wasn't a long exposure, as the tape itself was moving. Is there an explanation for this effect? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I would like to know the answer to the light trails question also. I always noticed the light trails on concert videos from the 70's and early 80's. I noticed the trails always came from the bright stage lights.-- (talk) 17:52, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

It's not a video tape artifact. It's caused by the camera tube. Before CCDs TV cameras used cathode ray pickup tubes to convert the image into an electrical signal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Totsugeki (talkcontribs) 17:29, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
And to elaborate on the above, said artifact is what's known as "lag", a common anomaly with tube-based cameras. It seems to get worse as a video camera tube ages. This artifact would no longer be seen around the late 80s, when solid state CCD-based cameras started to take the tube-based camera's place in the industry, due to their sharper image and higher sensitivity to light. misternuvistor (talk) 00:24, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

BVU for Submastering[edit]

In the 80s-90s I worked in a documentary a/v production house in the US and we used BVU 3/4" most often to submaster from the ampex 1" Type C videotape system to the VHS tape deck since it was less fragile, being in a cassette and all. IIRC, the workflow was as follows:

Raw footage from Panasonic MII (and later Betamax) mixed with narration to MII or Beta and edited onto 1" then submaster to 3/4" then dupe to VHS for direct sales distribution. Cowbert (talk) 00:24, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Lines per picture height[edit]

My "lines per picture height" edit was reverted. Here's an explanation. In the past the horizontal resolution was measured in the number of discernible black and white vertical lines (counting both white and black lines, not line pairs as in photography for example). However, instead of counting all the lines across the whole image, only lines inside the largest 1:1 square were counted to make the measurement aspect-ratio independent. That's what "per picture height" refers to. It's easy to convert between lines and lines per picture height: just multiply by the aspect ratio of the display. 330 lines per picture height equals 4:3 x 330 = 440 lines across the whole 4:3 screen. For a 16:9 screen there would be 587 lines. There's a good explanation at for example. For example DVD has "540 lines of horizontal resolution" even though it has 720 pixels across. 540 simply refers to the number of lines per picture height - 720 / 4:3 = 540.

Totsugeki (talk) 17:36, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Home recorders[edit]

I know that U Matic was used in the 70s by TV companies, but were these machines commercially available? I've never heard of anyone who has video tapes from the early 1970s. The earliest I've heard of domestically is 1977 - 78.--Tuzapicabit (talk) 22:21, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Locking mechanism?[edit]

I have a whole bunch of 1980s-era U-matic cassettes in front of me, and none contains an integral mechanism to lock the reels. Where did this part of the article come from? (talk) 20:19, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Original Research / Refimprove tags[edit]

I added the Unreferenced section templates to two sections which lacked references. I also tagged the top of the article with the Original research and RefImprove tags, until the information in the tagged sections are verifiable with reliable sources. —Josh3580talk/hist 17:40, 9 September 2014 (UTC)