A Guide to Buying Archaic Home Cinema Formats on eBay

Like if this guide is helpful
A Guide to Buying Archaic Home Cinema Formats on eBay

A home cinema typically includes an amplifier, speakers, a stereo of some sort, and a player to watch movies and record television. A home cinema with high quality surround sound provides consumers with the ultimate viewing experience. If a home cinema is not put together properly, consumers may find themselves fiddling with cables and controls. Trying to sort out the sound and get the system to deliver what is expected can be difficult.

At the very least a home cinema should have a decent set of speakers and an amplifier.. Any consumer should take into account what they already own when buying an archaic home cinema. The most important is the player, i.e., the television. There are many archaic players around like reel to reel, VHS, and Cartrivision. There is a lot for a consumer to consider when it comes to purchasing an archaic home cinema format, but once a consumer has decided on the player, they can then choose their speakers, amplifiers and other areas of their home entertainment system.

Types of Archaic Home Cinema Formats

There are many types of archaic items that can be used for a home cinema. The feel the consumer wants to achieve with their archaic home cinema format depends on which recorder and player the consumer buys. Below is a list of some of the most popular recorder and players from the past.

Reel to Reel, Open Reel, Videotape Recorders

These three terms relate to one item, so to avoid confusion this guide uses the VTR terminology. VTR devices were the original home recording system. The early models were expensive and unreliable and usually only recorded in black and white. The VTR originated as individual tape reels serving as a replacement for motion picture film stock. These devices weighed a lot. In fact, some weighed in at over 40 kg, and they were noisy when running. As well as being difficult to thread. The first VTRs did not allow for the reels to be played on different machines, so consumers could never share movies unless they had the same VTR as someone else.


Cartrivision is an analogue video cassette format that was introduced to the world in 1972. Cartrivision was the first format to offer feature films to consumers for rental. Cartrivision was available as a television set with a built-in recorder for the format. Cartrivision cassettes were square with two reels of magnetic tape on top of each other. Cartrivision offered 114 minutes of recording time. It was able to do this with "skip-field" technology, a form of video compression that recorded every third field. What this means is the player would only record the third frame of the footage, and then, it would play this frame back three times.

VCR (Video-Cassette Recording)

The VCR was an early home analogue recording format introduced in 1972. The VCR format used large square cassettes with two co-axial reels one on top of the other. The VCR offered three playing times: 30, 45, and 60 minutes. The 60-minute tape was the most unreliable of the three choices. The VCR is a mechanically complicated item that proved somewhat unreliable. The most common failing with the VCR would occur if the tape slackened. This meant that the slackened tape could get caught up in the bottom spool, causing the tape to jam. The only way to rectify this problem was to dismantle the whole VCR. The tape would end up creased or damaged, resulting in the loss of the movie.

VHS (Video Home System)

While VHS is a distant memory to most movie lovers, it is easy to forget just how popular this format once was. The VHS was a widely adopted video-cassette recording (VCR) technology that was first put on the market in 1976. VHS has several different variances in its technology. The original VHS provided consumers with image resolution similar to that of standard analogue TV. The most advanced version is called Digital VHS or D-VHS. This format allows for the recording and reproduction digital high definition television (HDTV) programming. There are some VHS formats that can record computer data for archiving purposes. The VHS cassettes tended to last longer due to the minimal wear that would occur on the tape. VHS cassettes also had more recording capacity than that of Betamax.

Betamax (Beta)

Some professional recording studios preferred to use Betamax as some engineers believed Betamax offered better image quality compared to VHS. The Betamax tape took a more direct path through the recording and playback apparatus, meaning the recording and playback features were faster and more convenient. A Betamax cassette is significantly smaller than the VHS cassette; however, greater wear occurred on the Betamax cassettes, which shortened their lifespan considerably.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the competition between VHS and Betamax became more intense. For complex legal reasons, VHS captured the home video recording and reproduction market. By the mid-1990s Betamax was essentially obsolete amongst consumers worldwide.

Considerations when Purchasing an Archaic Home Cinema

Before setting out to construct an archaic home cinema format, a consumer needs to know what format they want, know if they can buy archaic speakers and amplifiers or if they need new ones, and have a rough budget. A consumer also needs to conduct research to make sure that any new items they purchase is compatible with the archaic items they already have or are looking to purchase. The same research is also necessary when it comes to matching a television set to an archaic home cinema format.


Purchasing archaic items can be expensive. Consumers need to have a really good idea of the set-up they are after and a rough budget put in place before they start. Most people start by working out what money they have available for the project. This is often a good method as it helps prevent disappointment.


Look at what equipment is already available and what equipment needs to be added. If purchasing a whole archaic home cinema, connectivity still needs to be considered as not all brands have the same connectivity. For example, a buyer looking to connect an amplifier to the archaic home cinema format, then the amplifier must have the right connectivity ports for the archaic equipment and enough ports to hook everything up.


It is important to have the right amount of power. If using a speaker and amplifier set-up, then the power output of both the speaker and the amplifier needs to be the same. This prevents overpowering or underpowering the speakers and produces a balanced sound.


Whilst technology seems like it is forever changing, the technology used in speakers has not changed much in the last 20 years. This means that a good set of archaic speakers should not only be affordable but should still sound great. If looked after properly, quality speakers can last a lifetime. The only thing that can really go wrong is their look. But if a consumer is purchasing an archaic home cinema, the speaker’s appearance is irrelevant.


Amplifier technology is a little bit different than that of speaker technology. An archaic amplifier would have been analogue, whereas everything is now directed towards digital. A decent amplifier can last 20 to 30 years, especially older ones if they have been taken care of. Aesthetically, it may not look the best, but the functionality still has to be good. The only way a consumer can really test this before making a purchase is to try the amplifier out first.

Purchasing an Archaic Home Cinema Formats on eBay

If you are serious about purchasing an archaic home cinema,, then eBay is a great place to look. It may require multiple keyword searches like archaic speakers and archaic amplifiers, but a whole system can be found. Before you begin your search, you should have an idea as to what player and what sort of speakers you want. If you are unaware of exactly what item you want to purchase, eBay is a great place to research different products before making a decision.

Once you have made a decision, a specific keyword search can be conducted. eBay will produce all the relevant results. Since you are buying archaic, it is imperative that you obtain as much information about the components as possible. Nobody wants to buy equipment that does not work.

Be sure to thoroughly research the seller, read the feedback left by other consumers, and ask the seller as many questions as you need to. Finding out if the seller has a return policy is also important when buying electrical components. If an item arrives and it is not what was described, you can always return it. Freight on these items can be expensive as they are so big, but if you can find the items in your local area, some sellers allow you to pick up the items once payment has been processed, thus saving you money on shipping.


The most important factor a consumer needs to consider when purchasing an archaic home cinema is the player, i.e., the device used to show pictures and play movies. Although a consumer needs other components like perhaps speakers and an amplifier, the player is essential. The whole archaic home cinema can be built around the player so that the other components are compatible. Therefore, deciding on the type of player is the first step.

From here, all the other steps fall into place. The speakers and amplifier need to be of the same era as well as the TV. Archaic home cinemas vary in price with the components from later years being more expensive than those from earlier years. Do not let this be a deterrent. If a consumer knows what they are after, with some hard work and some perseverance, they can find exactly what they are looking for.

Have something to share? Create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides