31 January 2010

1989: A Talking Remote Control For Your VCR...

Video recorders were wonderful but so bloomin' difficult in the 1980s.

In 1980, only 5% of UK households had them.

In 1983, nearly 20% of UK households had a machine, and in early 1985 it was 25%. The sky was now the limit and it would not be long before a VCR in the home was regarded as essential by the majority of us.

Most people I knew rented their first VCR.

And most people I knew had difficulties setting the timer.

"What a load of vidiots!" I chortled.

My mother was one of the first VCR renters I knew. She obtained one in 1983, just before I left home, so I had little time to familiarise myself with it.

I began renting one in 1987.

I wanted to watch the American comedy series The Golden Girls, but as it aired on Channel 4 on Friday nights I had to rent a VCR to be able to see it. Fridays and Saturdays were nights I went out and no way was I staying in.

Having got a video machine, I confronted the timer and entered into battle.

It won.

I couldn't set it, no matter how I tried.

When I tried to tape Channel 4, it taped BBC1, when I tried to tape ITV, it taped grey fuzz...

So, I used to pop a video cassette in and put the machine on record just before I went out on Fridays, leaving it to tape hours of Channel 4 just so I could wade through and watch one half-hour programme.

Perhaps I could have done with the remote control featured in the September 1989 magazine ad above.

One that would have talked me through the process...


The Sharp video with Talking Handset.

If you're still wondering why your "Neighbours" didn't turn up.

Or wondering why the Big Film turned into the big fiasco.

Why Ivan Lendl bore a remarkable resemblance to Sandy Gall.

And why J.R. was cut off in his prime.

If all these wonders of conventional video leave you wondering why you keep programming things incorrectly, Sharp now have the solution to your video nasties. The Sharp Video with Talking Handset.

The unique Handset has its own voice to guide you through all of the various stages of programming. Accurate talking instructions for you to follow, from "Let's set the Timer for recording" to "Which channel do you wish to record?"

The 44 function remote control is a handy size with an easy button layout that's simple to operate.

The video itself (VC-T310HM) enables you to pre-programme a full year of recordings with a 365 day eight programme facility.

There's a super search feature which locates any recordings you're looking for.

There's even a child-proof lock.

Sharp really do think of everything.

As well as this particular model, there's an alternative in the Talking Handset range. The VC-T510HM. A 4 head system, providing improved picture quality, an extended recording playback of up to 8 hours, variable slow motion, frame by frame advance and double speed playback. To list just a few features...

The wonders of modern technology. Love the Radio Times Neighbours synopsis featured in the ad:

Charlene breaks out in a mysterious rash.

I would have been so hacked off if the VCR timer had made me miss that...

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I remember when you used to rent VHS movies and often the person before hand would not rewind it.

There was always a message on the box that said "Please be kind and rewind"

Despite being a small child I didn't have trouble playing rewinding or putting in a new tape when I was done with the old one and I had a decent collection of Disney movies to watch. :)

I got the idea pretty quick but I guess I was of the minority at the time sadly. :(

The only complaint I have is you're site is like a maze and it would be more helpful if you could do a little spring cleaning to make it easier to see things.