Helical scan

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Helical recording method
The head drum of a Hi-Fi NTSC VHS VCR; three of the six heads face the reader. The helical path of the tape around the drum can clearly be seen.
The same head drum with the rotating portion elevated for clarity
The rotating portion of the head drum showing the rotary transformer and three of the six tape heads used in this particular VCR

Helical scan is a method of recording high-frequency signals on magnetic tape. It is used in open-reel video tape recorders, video cassette recorders, digital audio tape recorders, and some computer tape drives.


Earl Edgar Masterson from RCA patented the first helical scan method in 1950.[1][2] German engineer Eduard Schüller developed a helical scan method of recording in 1953 while working at AEG.[3][4] With the advent of television broadcasting in Japan in the early 1950s, they saw the need for magnetic television signal recording. Dr. Kenichi Sawazaki developed a prototype helical scan recorder in 1954.[5]


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  1. ^ Patent US2773120
  2. ^ "Magnetic Videotape Recording". April 2019.
  3. ^ SMPTE Journal: Publication of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Volume 96, Issues 1-6; Volume 96, page 256, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
  4. ^ https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/gnd129812749.html#ndbcontent, Small Biography of him by Deutsche Biographie
  5. ^ "Toshiba Science Museum : World's First Helical Scan Video Tape Recorder". toshiba-mirai-kagakukan.jp. Retrieved 14 July 2021.

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