The Cartrivision site Ė A unique way of looking at things
This little corner of the web is devoted to the very first home VCR made available to the American Public. The Cartrivision system was produced by Cartridge Television Inc. of Palo Alto, California and sold by retailers such as Sears. This little know relic of the early 1970ís was surely ahead of its time and was available to the public as early as 1972, a full 3 years before the Betamax VCR from Sony!
But as luck would have it, fate would not be as kind to the Cartrivision. Factors that led to itís untimely demise included the fact that it could only be purchased as a combination TV/VCR unit (at $1600), low sales, tapes that deteriorated in the warehouse, etc. After going bankrupt in 1974, the company liquidated their inventory and most of the remaining systems ended up being sold at auction, and for years that remaining stock was sold to hobbyists through mail order companies. In fact, the majority of units still around today are home-built cabinets with the guts of the Cartrivision 2 main pieces, tape transport and signal processing unit, built inside.
But in spite of all of the bad luck that the Cartrivision folks faced, the fact remains that the Cartrivision system was revolutionary for the time and paved the way for the coming home video revolution. I would love to hear from any former CTI employees with any stories or memories of the company that I could add to this page. I would also love to hear from current owners of the Cartrivision system who could send pictures or stories of their experiences, so of course submissions are welcome.
I am on the lookout for spare parts from a Teledyne/Packard Bell Cartrivision console, so please feel free to email me if you have anything along those lines. Also be sure to check out the two excellent articles submitted by George Steber about his experiences with the Cartrivision system, one of which is his experiences in restoring and converting a tape that contained material that was thought to have been lost forever! Special thanks goes to Peter Berg, labguysworld.com, and to George Steber for his invaluable contributions to the site. Questions or comments regarding this page please send email to me.