Type B Videotape
Type B videotape, one hour reel
Media typeMagnetic Tape
CapacityUp to 2 hours (120 Min.)
Read mechanismHelical scan
Write mechanismHelical scan
StandardInterlaced video
Developed byBosch Fernseh
Dimensions1 Inch reel to reel
UsageVideo production

1-inch Type B Helical Scan or SMPTE B is a reel-to-reel analog recording video tape format developed by the Bosch Fernseh division of Bosch in Germany in 1976. The magnetic tape format became the broadcasting standard in continental Europe, but adoption was limited in the United States and United Kingdom, where the Type C videotape format met with greater success.[1][2][3][4]


The tape speed allowed 96 minutes on a large reel (later 120 minutes), and used 2 record/playback (R/P) heads on the drum rotating at 9,000 RPM with a 190-degree wrap around a very small head drum, recording 52 video lines per head segment. A single video frame or field was recorded across 6 tracks in the tape. The format only allowed for play, rewind and fast forward.[5] Video is recorded on an FM signal with a bandwidth of 5.5 MHz. Three longitudinal audio tracks are recorded on the tape as well: two audio and one Linear timecode (LTC) track.[6][7][8] BCN 50 VTRs were used at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.[9]

The format required an optional, and costly, digital framestore in addition to the normal analog timebase corrector to do any "trick-play" operations, such as slow motion/variable-speed playback, frame step play, and visible shuttle functions. This was because, unlike 1-inch type C which recorded one field per helical scan track on the tape, Type B segmented each field to 5 or 6 tracks per field according to whether it was a 525- (NTSC) or 625- (PAL) line machine.[10]

The picture quality was excellent, and standard R/P machines, digital frame store machines, reel-to-reel portables, random access cart machines (for playback of short-form video material such as television commercials), and portable cart versions were marketed.[11][12]

Echo Science Corporation, a United States company, made units like a BCN 1 for the U.S. military for a short time in the 1970s. Echo Science models were Pilot 1, Echo 460, Pilot 260.[13][14][15]

Type B video Scanner Head
Type B VTR, BCN 20 Tape Desk and video Scanner

Models introduced

Special BCN units



Some BCN users

The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

See also


  1. ^ SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal page 289-299, 1981
  2. ^ watvhistory.com, Shane Nugent Videotape Operations 1974-2004, by ken On April - 8 - 2009
  3. ^ inkedin.com/ BCN 51 Videotape Recorders, September 20, 2017, Jan Plomp
  4. ^ inn-archive.com, Bosch BCN 1 inch
  5. ^ "Videotape | NFSA". Archived from the original on 2019-04-06.
  6. ^ Magnetic recording: the first 100 years, page 174-175, By Eric D. Daniel, C. Denis Mee, Mark H. Clark
  7. ^ BNC recorders
  8. ^ freepatentsonline.com, BCN Patent
  9. ^ SMPTE, Aug. 25, 2008 Issue, page 2, BCNs at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics Moscow
  10. ^ Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, The BCN System for Magnetic Recording of Television Programs by Heinrich L. Zahn1
  11. ^ The History of Television, 1942 to 2000, page 196, By Albert Abramson, Christopher H. Sterling
  12. ^ Charles Bensinger, 1981, The Video Guide, page 101
  13. ^ labguysworld.com Arvin/Echo
  14. ^ fernsehmuseum.info 1975 – Bosch-Fernseh BCN 20 / BCN 40/50 1" tape
  15. ^ Echo Science Corp., located in Mountain View, California was a subsidiary of Arvin Industries, Inc., based in Columbus, Indiana, from 1974 to 1981. It was also known as "Arvin/Echo" for short. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/15/Arvin-Industries-Inc.html
  16. ^ vtoldboys.com The Bosch/Philips BCR 1" helical scan TVR that was shown in 1973 and preceded the BCN.
  17. ^ broadcasting101.w BCN 40 (right side) and BCN 50 (left side)
  18. ^ broadcasting101.ws BCN 50 deck
  19. ^ broadcasting101.ws Prototype BCN 20 with a Bosch KCR camera
  20. ^ worldradiohistory.com BCN 20
  21. ^ The history of television, 1942 to 2000 By Albert Abramson, page 183
  22. ^ adsausage.com BCN 5 and BCN 20 add
  23. ^ fernsehmuseum.info, BCN-5 photo
  24. ^ journal.smpte.org .SMPTE, journal page 744, The BCN 100,Oct 1979
  25. ^ fernsehmuseum.info, BCN-100 photo
  26. ^ worldradiohistory.com BNC Models
  27. ^ adiomuseum.org BCN 21, with specs
  28. ^ dyndns.org, Reel To Reel COLLsite BOSCH BCN 21 Gallery
  29. ^ radiomuseum.org BCN 21
  30. ^ German page on BCN53,
  31. ^ Eng. translation by google on BCN53
  32. ^ RCA TV Equipment Section of The Broadcast Archive, Maintained by: Barry Mishkind, a RCA HR-400
  33. ^ Oscar Technical Achievement Award, Bill Hogan (II) (Ruxton, Ltd); Richard J. Stumpf (Universal City Studios' Production Sound Department); Daniel R. Brewer (Universal City Studios' Production Sound Department)- For the engineering of a 24-frame color video system.
  34. ^ imdb.com Academy Awards, Technical Achievement Award, Bill Hogan (II) (Ruxton, Ltd), March 29, 1982, Los Angeles, California
  35. ^ NewBay Media The Top Guns of Digital Intermediate, January 28, 2004, Ken Holland
  36. ^ Gregory, Lee (January 1983). "ImageVision Meets Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl". American Cinematographer. 64.
  37. ^ Tech Review with Al Sturm, April 2011
  38. ^ 24frame dave.zfx.com BCN history at Image Transform
  39. ^ Billboard Nov 17, 1979 VHS duplication
  42. ^ Sypris Company on Bell and Howell's Data Tape division
  43. ^ Computerworld Nov. 12, 1975 on Bell and Howell's Data Tape division
  44. ^ Computerworld May 7, 1975 on Bell and Howell's Data Tape division
  45. ^ SMPTE Page two on the Lake Placid (1980)
  46. ^ "NTLPA Gallery - Shared with pCloud".
  47. ^ journal.smpte.org An Experimental All-Digital Television Center, by D. Nasse1, J. L. Grimaldi2 and A. Cayet3
  48. ^ The History of Television, 1942 to 2000, By Albert Abramson, Christopher H., page 209.
  49. ^ journal.smpte.org The World's First All-Digital Television Production,by Michel Oudin, Jan 1, 1987
  50. ^ Live Production, A Brief Review on HDTV in Europe in the early 90s
  51. ^ tech.ebu.ch HDTV at 1992 Expo
  52. ^ tech.ebu.ch Analog HDTV
  53. ^ journal.smpte.org https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7259044 The World's First All-Digital Television Production, by Michel Oudin, 1987
  54. ^ BCN specs, chart
  55. ^ BCNN Specs