Panasonic barcodes: saving your Saturdays

Were you out of the house on the night of Saturday, October 3, 1992? (Why weren’t you home watching The Late Show!)

Those with the latest Panasonic VCRs needn’t have worried.

In the late 80s and early 90s, programming your VCR could prove to be quite a hassle, Panasonic claimed. That’s why it really pushed its barcode scanning system — by running your remote control over the show’s barcode in TV Week and confirming the selection, you could be safe in the knowledge that the timer recording for your favourite show would work — every time. With a handy five whole minutes added to the end of each show, any potential overrun would still be captured!

Yes, every day in TV Week, you would be able to scan your remote across a range of selected programs (The Late Show included) and program your VCR, with this section taking up half a page. (Later, these barcodes would be replaced by numerical G-codes.)

For what it’s worth, we were almost always in on Saturday nights when The Late Show aired, and recording it was only ever a manual affair. But it’s nice to know that The Late Show could have been a Pre-Programmed Favourite for many fans who would have preferred staying home than going to an odious dinner party.

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