COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER
THE VIDEO WALKMAN
A Video Walkman, I like the sound of that, where can I buy one?
You’re too late, they came and went about five years ago
How did it work, did you have to wear special glasses?
No, though a couple of companies did come up with video headsets, with
built-in viewing screens, but that’s another story…
So how did they work?
A miniature, battery-powered video deck was combined with a colour LCD
viewing screen and sometimes a TV tuner as well, so you could watch your
favourite movies, anywhere, any time
It didn’t catch on then?
There was around half a dozen models at one time, from Hitachi,
Panasonic, JVC, Sharp, and of course Sony, who might still have one or two
kicking around. Sony’s was comparatively small as it used 8mm tapes; the others
based theirs on VHS or VHS-C tapes, so they were rather bulky
What killed them off?
How long have you got? Cost, they were very expensive, upwards of £900
for some of them. They were not very convenient, there were few pre-recorded
8mm tapes and none on the VHS-C format. The batteries only lasted a few
minutes, most models couldn’t or wouldn’t record off-air TV, and the small
screens meant only one person, or two very good friends, could watch them at
the same time.
R. Maybury 1998 1002