Cyberamics Betamax

From Cheese-E-Pedia

Cyberamics Betamax is an obscure predecessor to the C&R SVHS (Pre-93) format that was tested at the Arlington, TX (2216 S Fielder Rd) from January 1987 to some time in 1988.

The format was used to bring video to showtape performances. It is unknown if the formatting of the tape was similar to C&R SVHS (Pre-93), or just the Cyberamics Reel format with video.


Starting in January of 1987, the Arlington, TX (2216 S Fielder Rd) store began testing the first iteration of Cybervision using betamax tapes. This would be done for every tape of that year before Cybervision would make its way to the rest of the stores in early 1988. All the video for these tapes are lost, and assumedly not even in CEC Corporate's possession. Getting footage of Arlington during 1987 may yield new footage of these tapes.

The Cyberstar Diagnostic Tape for the Rock-afire was also found in a betamax format, meaning it is unclear how many showtapes continued to be produced in the beta format before all stores switched to SVHS. This needs to be researched as well.

A quote from David Philipson many years ago also discusses the system, though he notes two stores had the old system, and were instead in Austin, TX. It is unclear if these were two extra stores, or if he meant to say Arlington, or if one was in Arlington and one in Austin. There being two stores also leads to the idea that the other store was indeed a Showbiz store as shown by the RAE betamax tape.

"Cybervision was an idea that Paul Linden and [Dave Philipsen] came up with in around 1986. This was before DVDs and before we ever thought of combining video with a show. All shows has traditionally run on reel-to-reel tape decks. Paul and I had played around a little with a couple of VCR formats, VHS HiFi and Beta HiFi. These formats used the rotating head on a VCR to record a much higher quality audio signal. Some professional decks were just starting to become available with the ability to record audio not only on the longitudinal tracks (standard) but also on the HiFi tracks. This meant that they were capable of playing back four audio channels and video simultaneously. After some wrangling, we finally convinced the boss to let us prototype a system that would run a 3-stage show with stereo audio and use the two longitudinal tracks for character data. We called it "Cybervision". It was installed in two locations in Austin, TX and the name later morphed to 'Cyberstar'."