1960’s Black And White Video – The Sony CV Series Videocorder


In 1964, a team led by Nobutoshi Kihara developed the CV-2000, the world’s first Videocorder intended for home use. The CV in the model number stood for “Consumer Video” and would be a proprietary Sony standard format for half a decade. This was the first step toward realizing Masaru Ibuka’s dream of creating a video player that would be suitable for home use in terms of both size and price. The CV-2000 was roughly the same size as an audio tape recorder of that time, and cost way less than professional alternatives. This VCR, which had two rotary heads, was a reel-to-reel type unit and it reproduced fantastic black and white images. The machine’s key feature was the use of rotary heads, which cost more than static heads. This disproved the commonly held view of many in the industry that rotary heads employed for broadcast and institutional-use models could not be adapted for a home-use VCR.

The world gasped in wonder at the picture quality of the new machine, and Kihara could proudly answer previous skeptics by saying, “Technology does not abide by common sense. Our goal is to break down ideas people have come to accept as common sense.”

I’d love to see Sony start saying things like that again.


The CV-2000 was preceded in the market place by the TCV-2010 (pictured above) and TCV-2020 which was introduced in September of 1965. The CV format was based upon 1/2″ tape on a two head, alpha wrap helical scan system using the skip field method. The linear tape speed was 7.5 IPS, giving a respectable 1 hour running time with 2400′ tapes on 7″ reels. A specially modified video monitor was usually required to view the playback of the CV VTR’s. The monitor was designed to tolerate the distortions introduced into the vertical sync interval by the skip field recording process. Some models included this monitor as a built in feature. In total, there were 10 models in the CV series. They were: CV-2000, TCV-2010, TCV-2020, CV-2100, TCV-2110, TCV-2120, CV-2200, DV-2400, CV-2600 and the CV-5100. The TCV’s were chest models with a built in 9″ TV receiver / video monitor, weighing in around 75 pounds. You can learn alot more about the CV series at the Southwest Museum, LabGuy’s World, and Video History Project. The above pictures are courtesy of Life.

Here are some incredible advertisements we came across for the various CV units. Click for full size:





Here’s a cool ready reference card that was included with early models:




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