Vinyl Can Store Video, and VinylVideo Uses a Raspberry Pi to Decode It

Cameron Coward
a year agoMusic

Digital media has spoiled us, because 1s and 0s make no distinction between audio and video. All you need is a system with the right codec to process the data. Vinyl records, on the other hand, only store audio — or so we thought. As it turns out, a format called VinylVideo from the early ’90s made it possible to watch videos stored on vinyl. Now, VinylVideo is being revived by Supersense so you can listen to and watch your records.

Vinyl records are an analog storage medium in the truest sense of the word. The stylus of a record player drags across a vinyl record with a long, continuous, modulated groove cut into it. As the stylus vibrates it creates a very quiet sound, which is then pushed through a pre-amp and then stereo amplifier to make it audible. VinylVideo works by adding another channel that carries an analog stereo video signal that can be decoded and displayed on a TV.

A VinylVideo record will play on any standard turntable, because the video signal is essentially just an audio track. The phono output from the turntable is then fed into the VinylVideo converter box, which contains a Raspberry Pi Model A+. The analog video signal is converted into digital video, and output to a TV through HDMI or an analog connection. That’s a lot of information to pack onto a single vinyl record, so the video and audio quality of VinylVideo is poor. But, it’s a novel medium, and Supersense is even releasing brand new VinylVideo records for you to enjoy.

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