The electronics division of entertainer Bing Crosby's production company, Bing Crosby Enterprises (BCE), gave the world's first demonstration of a videotape recording in Los Angeles on November 11, 1951. Developed by John T. Mullin and Wayne R. Johnson since 1950, the device gave what were described as "blurred and indistinct" images using a modified Ampex 200 tape recorder and standard quarter-inch (0.6 cm) audio tape moving at 360 inches (9.1 m) per second. A year later, an improved version using one-inch (2.54 cm) magnetic tape was shown to the press, who reportedly expressed amazement at the quality of the images although they had a "persistent grainy quality that looked like a worn motion picture". Overall the picture quality was still considered inferior to the best kinescope recordings on film. Bing Crosby Enterprises hoped to have a commercial version available in 1954 but none came forth.
The BBC experimented from 1952 to 1958 with a high-speed linear videotape system called VERA, but this was ultimately unfeasible. It used half-inch (1.27 cm) tape on 20-inch reels traveling at 200 inches (5.08 m) per second.
RCA demonstrated the magnetic tape recording of both black-and-white and color television programs at its Princeton laboratories on December 1, 1953. The high-speed longitudinal tape system, called Simplex, in development since 1951, could record and play back only a few minutes of a television program. The color system used half-inch (1.3 cm) tape on 10-1/2 inch reels to record five tracks, one each for red, blue, green, synchronization, and audio. The black-and-white system used quarter-inch (0.6 cm) tape also on 10-1/2 inch reels with two tracks, one for video and one for audio. Both systems ran at 360 inches (9.1 m/30 feet) per second with 2,500 feet on a reel. RCA-owned NBC first used it on The Jonathan Winters Show on October 23, 1956 when a prerecorded song sequence by Dorothy Collins in color was included in the otherwise live television program.
In 1953, Dr. Norikazu Sawazaki developed a prototype helical scan video tape recorder.
BCE demonstrated a color system in February 1955 using a longitudinal recording on half-inch (1.3 cm) tape. CBS, RCA's competitor, was about to order BCE machines when Ampex introduced the superior Quadruplex system. BCE was acquired by 3M Company in 1956.
In 1959, Toshiba released the first commercial helical scan video tape recorder.