Few companies can lay claim to as many epoch-shifting innovations as multinational consumer tech giant Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (we prefer to call it by its more pronounceable middle name).
High-definition movies captured on shiny round discs were a glint in founder Gerard Philips' eye when the business was formed in Eindhoven in the Netherlands back in 1891, to manufacture lamps. But the company would later find huge success inventing media storage formats, as well as all the lovely TVs and gadgetry to play them on.
We have Philips to thank for coming up with the compact audio cassette tape in 1963. It introduced the first cassette recorder/radio combo, clunkily named the 'radiorecorder', but rechristened by everyone else as the far more marketable boom box or ghetto blaster.
Less braggable are its litany of nearly-there-but-not-quite formats -- hugely influential though they were. These include the world's first home video cassette recorders -- the seldom-mentioned third cog in the VHS vs Betamax format war -- the N1500, N1700 and N2000 systems.
We also loved the impressive but cumbersome (and costly) 30cm Laserdisc video format, which was embraced by hardcore film fans in 1978. The tech evolved, however, and later changed millions of lives when it resurfaced as the Compact Disc in 1982, and more recently, the DVD and high-definition Blu-ray disc -- via collaborations, mostly with Sony.
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