Back in the day, cassette tapes were largely used to record audio. This is why before CDs, the majority of music was sold on cassette tapes. However, YouTuber and hacker Kris Slyka discovered that it is possible that cassette tapes could be used to capture video, albeit in rather poor quality.
However, we should point out that Slyka’s discovery is not the first of its kind. It seems that the industry has known for a while that cassette tapes do have the potential to record video, and way back in the day, Mattel actually sold a toy called the Fisher-Price PXL 2000 PixelVision. This was a camcorder designed for kids that actually captured video using a cassette tape. The appeal was that blank tapes were pretty cheap, making it a relatively inexpensive toy for kids.
However, the end result was terrible quality video, but we suppose that’s not really the point. Slyka’s discovery, on the other hand, did improve the quality a bit by using a high quality Sony tape recorder. He also came up with his own method of encoding full-color videos that could be captured on a cassette tape.
However, due to the fact that your typical cassette tape does not have sufficient bandwidth to capture high quality videos, Slyka had to cut some corners but reducing the resolution of the video to 100×75 and running it at 5 frames per second. The end result, like we said, is pretty terrible and near unwatchable, but it’s still an interesting hack nonetheless.