ecorder) A videotape recording and playback machine. VTR may refer to consumer MiniDV and DV recorders or to professional machines such as Betacam, DVCPRO and DVCAM.
Originally Open Reel
In the early days of video, VTR referred to an open reel tape deck in which the tape from the supply reel was manually threaded onto the take-up reel. Ampex introduced the first VTR in 1956. Up until then, all TV, since its inception in 1941, was broadcast live because there was no way to store the video data for playback later. In fact, the main motivation for developing videotape was to be able to air TV shows at the same time of day in different time zones throughout the country.
Open Reel to Videocassette
After videocassette recorders (VCRs) were introduced in the mid-1970s, the VTR still implied an open reel, professional tape recorder in contrast to the consumer Betamax and VHS formats. Later, VTR referred to professional Betacam videocassette machines, and subsequently, to other videocassette products, both professional, prosumer and consumer. See Ampex
The First Video Was on Disk
The first video recordings were actually made in 1928 by Scottish inventor John Logie Baird. Resembling 78 RPM records, 10 inches in diameter, Baird's Phonovision discs recorded images from his scanning disc camera. Baird had great difficulty playing back the images, and Phonovision died along with the entire electromechanical approach to TV systems (see NTSC