The time line below helps put the history of audio/video technology into perspective. I chose to start at 1900 simply because most of what I am interested in started to take shape in the early 1900’s and we need to start somewhere. The names of each device are drawn next to the year and are hyperlinked to separate pages that detail their function and origin. Each “||” represent 6 months. This is a living page and will be modified and added to as needed. The history of audio is broken down into eras, these eras are indicated below by changes in the color of the time line. Blue is the acoustic era which started in 1875, Purple is the electric era, Green is the magnetic era and Yellow is the digital era.Click on the colors above to go to the describing each era.

Xbox is first Released by Microsoft

November 15, 2001

PlayStation is First Released

December 1, 1994

Sony introduces first CD Player

October 1, 1982

First CD is Released

August 17, 1982

Laserdisc is first available commercially

December 15, 1978

Laserdisc is first available commercially
LaserDisc Laserdisc (AKA VideoDisc) technology is a truly fascinating look at what could have been. The technology looks like a larger CD but unlink a CD is recorded using frequency modulation (still via pits and lands like on the CD). This means that the disc is recorded as an analogue signal, where as a CD is a truly digital signal (binary). On top of this, Laserdisc was really a fantastic quality for the time and provided many benefits over VHS such as pausing (with a clear picture) and track skipping. The first optical video disc was invented by David Paul Gregg in 1958. His invention was created on a translucent media and was not sold to consumers, instead he patented it in 1961 and then again in 1969 shortly after which he decided to sell the patents to the Phillips company. Phillips was already working on a system and with the introduction of Gregg’s patents was able to make significant progress. Their goal was to market movies on the…
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Atari is first released

September 11, 1977

JVC introduces first commercial VHS player the Victor HR-3300

January 1, 1976

Sony Releases First Betamax player

May 10, 1975

Betamax was a short lived (home use) video format that is similar to VHS cassette. While it did not last in the home markets, it did continue to be used professionally for data storage and broadcasting for many years.
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Invention of the microprocessor

January 1, 1971

The invention of the microprocessor is probably the single biggest contributor to the onset of the digital era. It was invented by a team of logic architects and silicon engineers, Federico Faggin, Marcian (Ted) Hoff, Stanley Mazor, and Masatoshi Shima, for Busicom, a Japanese calculator company. The chip set they developed included a what would become iconic chip the 4004 (3).
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Phillips introduces first Cassette Tape

September 5, 1967

First in home 8 track

September 1, 1966

First in home 8 track
The 8 Track Player 8 tracks were developed by William Powell Lear, while working at the Lear Jet Company. He is also the inventor of the Learjet. His invented the 8 track by developing a way to divide magnetic tape in 8 channels (or tracks), this increased the amount of storage space without negatively impacting sound quality. Like reel to reel, magnetic wire recording (coming soon) and later cassettes 8 tracks are a type of magnetic audio recording. They use a thin (ultimately very cheap) plastic strip with a metal oxide coating to record to. It seems 8 tracks were pushed heavily in the automotive market. This make sense since records would be to large and delicate for automotive use (although they were used) and other media such as reel to reel would have not been feasible for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest pushed of 8 tracks was the For Motor Company by introducing them in their 1966 model year cars. According to one article I found, “…a Ford spokesperson said 65,000 players were installed in the first year”(1). 8 tracks had a short lived popularity from 1968 to 1975 and didn’t seem to take off over…
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First commercial 8 track players (Cars)

September 1, 1965

Optical recording clear discs are invented

January 1, 1963

Baird demonstrates first practical color tv

June 14, 1944

Vladimir Zworykin demonstrated B&W TV

November 29, 1929


2: Baker, Dave. “The Lowdown on Recorded Sound Through The Ages.” Recording, Radio Film Connection Blog, 18 Feb. 2019,,Era%20(1975%20to%20present).

3: Laws, David. “Who Invented the Microprocessor?” CHM, 15 Aug. 2019,,a%204%2Dbit%20microprogrammable%20CPU.