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White Screen of Death

What happens when a tape from Thorn EMI, Columbia, Paramount, or MCA tape from the early to mid '80s ends

The Bell & Howell - Video Systems/Rank Video Services America/Deluxe Video Laboratories test pattern is a British-Worldwide test card that appears at the end of a videocassette that is duplicated at Bell & Howell - Video Systems, Rank Video Services America and Deluxe Video Laboratories. It actually looks more grayish in color when compared to real white, but people call it the White Screen of Death because it comes after a black screen on a videocassette and does so in a manner that may startle most inattentive viewers. It has so far appeared on Rank-duplicated tapes distributed by: 

Allied Artists Video Corp.

Paramount Home Video

Walt Disney Home Video (mainly during the Fotomat Era and on tapes distributed by VideoVisa on some copies of Mickey Knows Best)

Touchstone Home Video (On Some Printings Of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?)

Fotomat Video

MCA Home Video

MCA/Universal Home Video

Sony Wonder

Hallmark Home Entertainment

Family Home Entertainment

Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment

RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video

Columbia TriStar Home Video

Diamond Entertainment Corporation (On some copies of Legends of Entertainment Video among other tapes)

MGM/UA Home Video (On some copies of MGM/UA Sings All Dogs Go to Heaven and on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)

Warner Home Video (on some pressings of Batman, Wrongfully Accused, City Of Angels, Battlefield Earth, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, and The Avengers and on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)

New Line Home Video (on some pressings of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me)

CBS/Fox Video

FoxVideo

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (UK) (Seen on a 1999 pressing of The Simpsons: Oh Brother Where Art Thou?)

View Master Video

Thorn EMI Video

Cinema Group Home Video

J2 Communications

VCI Home Video

Prism Entertainment

World Video Pictures

Golden Book Video

Random House Home Video

Pacific Arts

Avid Home Entertainment

Feature Films for Families

Concord Video

SVS Triumph

Brentwood Home Video

Rank Home Video

Live Home Video

Vidmark Entertainment

Simon & Schuster Video

Republic Pictures Home Video

Price/Stern/Sloan Video

Nintendo of America INC

VideoVisa Video

AnimEigo

Streamline Pictures

Central Park Media

Continental Video

VCL

RTC Video

Tycoon Home Video


Here is what tones were used on tapes from these companies:

400hz (Low Pitched)Edit

  1. Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment (in 1982)
  2. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (in 1982-1983)
  3. MCA Videocassette Inc. (in 1982)

500hzEdit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1980 pressing of The Shootist)

880hzEdit

During this tone, a single click can be heard every second.

  1. MCA Videocassette Inc. (1980-1981)
  2. Paramount Home Video (1981) (some tapes)

933hzEdit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1984 pressing of Hatari)
  2. MCA/Universal Home Video (on some printings of The War)
  3. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (on some printings of Shocking Treasure)
  4. FoxVideo (on some printings of True Lies)

963hzEdit

  1. Fotomat Video (heard on a 1979 pressing of Nashville)
  2. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (in 1983)

1000hzEdit

  1. Paramount Home Video
  2. Walt Disney Home Video (heard on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  3. MCA Videocassette Inc.
  4. MCA Home Video
  5. MCA/Universal Home Video
  6. Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment
  7. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video
  8. Columbia TriStar Home Video
  9. SVS Triumph
  10. Sony Wonder
  11. Diamond Entertainment Corporation (heard on some copies of Legends of Entertainment Video among other tapes.)
  12. MGM Home Entertainment (on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  13. Warner Home Video (heard on some pressings of Batman, Wrongfully Accused, City Of Angels, Battlefield Earth, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and The Avengers and on tapes distributed by VideoVisa)
  14. CBS/Fox Video (some tapes)
  15. Key Video (some tapes)
  16. Playhouse Video (some tapes)
  17. FoxVideo
  18. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (UK) (heard on a 1999 pressing of The Simpsons: Oh Brother Where Art Thou?)
  19. View Master Video
  20. Thorn EMI/HBO/Cannon Video
  21. J2 Communications
  22. Golden Book Video
  23. Random House Home Video
  24. Pacific Arts
  25. Feature Films For Families
  26. Brentwood Home Video
  27. International Video Entertainment
  28. Live Home Video
  29. Family Home Entertainment
  30. Hallmark Home Entertainment
  31. Vidmark Entertainment
  32. Simon & Schuster Video
  33. Republic Pictures Home Video
  34. Price/Stern/Sloan Video
  35. Nintendo of America INC
  36. VideoVisa Video
  37. Central Park Media
  38. Continental Video
  39. RTC Video
  40. Tycoon Home Video

1120hzEdit

  1. Paramount Home Video (heard on a 1980 pressing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
  2. MCA Videocassette Inc. (heard on a 1981 pressing of Flash Gordon)
  3. Family Home Entertainment (heard on a 1995 pressing of Nick & Noel)

1200hzEdit

  1. Fotomat Video
  2. MCA Videocassette Inc. (heard on a 1982 pressing of The Amazing Spider-Man)

With clickingEdit

  1. Paramount Home Video (sometimes with an 880 Hz tone)
  2. MCA Videocassette Inc. (with an 880 Hz tone)
  3. MCA Home Video
  4. MCA/Universal Home Video
  5. RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video
  6. Columbia TriStar Home Video
  7. SVS Triumph
  8. Sony Wonder
  9. Warner Home Video (heard on some early pressings of Batman)
  10. CBS/Fox Video
  11. Key Video
  12. Playhouse Video
  13. FoxVideo
  14. View Master Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  15. J2 Communications
  16. Golden Book Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  17. Random House Home Video (sometimes with letterboxing)
  18. Pacific Arts
  19. International Video Entertainment (sometimes with letterboxing)
  20. Live Home Video
  21. Family Home Entertainment (sometimes with letterboxing)
  22. Vidmark Entertainment
  23. Simon & Schuster Video
  24. Republic Pictures Home Video
  25. Price/Stern/Sloan Video
  26. Central Park Media

Letterboxed with red barsEdit

This variant only appears on SLP-mode tapes and some SP-mode tapes from before late 1989.

  1. Golden Book Video
  2. International Video Entertainment
  3. Family Home Entertainment
  4. View Master Video
  5. Random House Home Video

SilentEdit

Sometimes, a version with no tone can be heard. This is usually seen on tapes duplicated somewhere other than B&H/Rank/Deluxe, such as:

  1. Simon and Schuster Video (1986)
  2. Blockbuster Video (1993)
  3. WorldVision Entertainment (1993) Seen on a pressing of Happily Ever After.
  4. Universal Studios Home Video Canada (2001) Seen on a Canadian pressing of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  5. ABC Video (1994): Seen on a pressing of Leslie Nielsen's Bad Golf Made Easier.
  6. MCA/Universal Home Video (1995): Seen on a pressing of Freddie the Frog.
  7. Nintendo of America INC. (1997-2000)
  8. Sony Music Entertainment (1994-1999, 2002): Seen on pressings of The Beginner's Bible: The Story of Noah and Elmo's World Family Feature, perhaps among other tapes.
  9. Sony Wonder (1994-1999, 2002): Seen on pressings of The Beginner's Bible: The Story of Noah and Elmo's World Family Feature, perhaps among other tapes.
  10. Columbia Music Video (1994-1997)
  11. Epic Music Video (1994-1997)
  12. Random House Home Video (1997): Seen on a pressing of Green Eggs And Ham.
  13. Pioneer Entertainment (1999): Seen on a pressing of the English-subtitled version of Sailor Moon S: Hearts in Ice.
  14. Walt Disney Home Video (2001): Seen on a pressing of Recess: School's Out.
  15. Manga Entertainment (2002): Seen on a pressing of the English-dubbed version of The End of Evangelion.
  16. VCI Entertainment (2005)
  17. Dreamworks Home Entertainment (2000-2005): Seen On A Pressing Of The Road To El Dorado As Well As A Pressing Of Shark Tale

Other colorsEdit

This test pattern has also been seen in other colors apart from white.

BlackEdit

  • Battlestar Galactica (MCA Videocassette Inc, 1980 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  • Catch-22 (Paramount Home Video, 1982 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  • Escape from Alcatraz (Paramount Home Video, 1983 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)
  • The Shootist (Paramount Home Video, 1980 pressing, 500 Hz tone)
  • Smokey and the Bandit (MCA Videocassette Inc, 1980 pressing, 1000 Hz tone)

Lime greenEdit

  • Nashville (Fotomat, 1979 pressing, 963 Hz tone)

Red Edit

  • The Simpsons: Oh Brother Where Art Thou? (FOX, 1999 UK Pressing, 1000 Hz tone)

How to Find a Tape With This Ending Edit

  • To find White Screen of Death and the Moaning Sound at the end of a tape, make sure that there's a sticker under the tape label and no barcode on the tape guard.

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