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Videotape is
magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that record and playback audio and video using magnetic tape are s and s respectively. A ...

magnetic tape
used for storing
video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...

video
and usually
sound In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...
in addition. Information stored can be in the form of either an
analog signal An analog signal is any continuous signal In mathematical dynamics, discrete time and continuous time are two alternative frameworks within which to model variables that evolve over time. Discrete time Discrete time views values of vari ...

analog signal
or
digital signal A digital signal is a signal In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images ...
. Videotape is used in both
video tape recorder A video tape recorder (VTR) is a tape recorder An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction Sound recording and reproduction is an ...
s (VTRs) or, more commonly,
videocassette recorder A videocassette recorder (VCR) or video recorder is an electromechanical device that records analog audio and analog video from broadcast television or other source on a removable, magnetic tape Videocassette#Cassette formats, videocassette ...
s (VCRs) and
camcorder A camcorder is an electronic device originally combining a video camera A video camera is a camera A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗ ...

camcorder
s. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an
electrocardiogram Electrocardiography is the process of producing an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). It is a graph of voltage Voltage, electric potential difference, electromotive force emf, electric pressure or electric tension is the difference in elec ...

electrocardiogram
. Because video signals have a very high
bandwidth Bandwidth commonly refers to: * Bandwidth (signal processing) or ''analog bandwidth'', ''frequency bandwidth'', or ''radio bandwidth'', a measure of the width of a frequency range * Bandwidth (computing), the rate of data transfer, bit rate or thr ...
, and stationary heads would require extremely high tape speeds, in most cases, a helical-scan video head rotates against the moving tape to record the data in two dimensions. Tape is a
linear Linearity is the property of a mathematical relationship (''function Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out se ...
method of storing information and thus imposes delays to access a portion of the tape that is not already against the heads. The early 2000s saw the introduction and rise to prominence of high quality random-access video recording media such as
hard disks A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device that stores and retrieves digital data using magnetic storage and one or more rigid rapidly rotating hard disk platter, platters co ...

hard disks
and
flash memory Flash memory is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses act ...
. Since then, videotape has been increasingly relegated to archival and similar uses.


Early formats

The electronics division of entertainer
Bing Crosby Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer, comedian and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He was a leader ...

Bing Crosby
's production company, Bing Crosby Enterprises (BCE), gave the world's first demonstration of a videotape recording in Los Angeles on November 11, 1951. Developed by John T. Mullin and Wayne R. Johnson since 1950, the device gave what were described as "blurred and indistinct" images using a modified
Ampex Ampex is an electronics company founded in 1944 by as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a , created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe History of television, 1942 to 2000– McFarland, ...
200 tape recorder and standard quarter-inch (0.6 cm) audio tape moving at 360 inches (9.1 m) per second. A year later, an improved version using one-inch (2.54 cm) magnetic tape was shown to the press, who reportedly expressed amazement at the quality of the images although they had a "persistent grainy quality that looked like a worn motion picture". Overall the picture quality was still considered inferior to the best
kinescope Kinescope , shortened to kine , also known as telerecording in Britain, is a recording of a television program on motion picture film Film stock is an analog medium that is used for recording motion pictures A film, also calle ...
recordings on film. Bing Crosby Enterprises hoped to have a commercial version available in 1954 but none came forth. The
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
experimented from 1952 to 1958 with a high-speed linear videotape system called VERA, but this was ultimately unfeasible. It used half-inch metallized (1.27 cm) tape on 20-inch reels traveling at 200 inches (5.08 m) per second.
RCA The RCA Corporation was a major American electronics company, which was founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919. It was initially a patent trust owned by General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinatio ...
demonstrated the magnetic tape recording of both black-and-white and
color television Color television is a television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usual ...
programs at its
Princeton Princeton University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
laboratories on December 1, 1953. The high-speed longitudinal tape system, called Simplex, in development since 1951, could record and play back only a few minutes of a
television program A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
. The color system used half-inch (1.3 cm) tape on 10½ inch reels to record five tracks, one each for red, blue, green, synchronization, and audio. The black-and-white system used quarter-inch (0.6 cm) tape also on 10½ inch reels with two tracks, one for video and one for audio. Both systems ran at 360 inches (9.1 m/30 feet) per second with 2,500 feet on a reel. RCA-owned
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
first used it on ''The Jonathan Winters Show'' on October 23, 1956, when a prerecorded song sequence by
Dorothy Collins Dorothy Collins (born Marjorie Chandler;
''
live television Live television is a television production A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a which can be broadcast via , , or , excluding , , or that are typically placed between shows. Television shows a ...
program. In 1953, Dr. Norikazu Sawazaki developed a prototype
helical scan Helical scan is a method of recording high-frequency signals on magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that ...
video tape recorder A video tape recorder (VTR) is a tape recorder An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction Sound recording and reproduction is an ...
. BCE demonstrated a color system in February 1955 using a
longitudinal recording Magnetic storage or magnetic recording is the storage of data on a magnetized medium. Magnetic storage uses different patterns of magnetisation in a magnetizable material to store data and is a form of non-volatile memory. The information is a ...
on half-inch (1.3 cm) tape.
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
, RCA's competitor, was about to order BCE machines when
Ampex Ampex is an electronics company founded in 1944 by as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a , created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe History of television, 1942 to 2000– McFarland, ...
introduced the superior Quadruplex system. BCE was acquired by Company in 1956. In 1959,
Toshiba is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign st ...
released the first commercial
helical scan Helical scan is a method of recording high-frequency signals on magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that ...
video tape recorder.


Broadcast video


Quad

The first commercial professional
broadcast qualityBroadcast quality is a term stemming from quad videotape to denote the quality achieved by professional video cameras and time base correctors (TBC) used for broadcast television Broadcast Broadcasting is the distribution (business), distributi ...
videotape machines capable of replacing
kinescope Kinescope , shortened to kine , also known as telerecording in Britain, is a recording of a television program on motion picture film Film stock is an analog medium that is used for recording motion pictures A film, also calle ...
s were the two-inch
quadruplex videotape 2-inch quadruplex videotape (also called 2″ quad video tape or quadraplex) was the first practical and commercially successful analog recording Analog or analogue may refer to: Computing and electronics * Analog signal An analog signal ...
(Quad) machines introduced by
Ampex Ampex is an electronics company founded in 1944 by as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a , created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe History of television, 1942 to 2000– McFarland, ...
on April 14, 1956, at the
National Association of Broadcasters The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is a trade association A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses t ...
convention in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
. Quad employed a transverse (scanning the tape across its width) four-head system on a two-inch (5.08 cm) tape, and stationary heads for the sound track.
CBS Television CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) is an American commercial broadcast television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and whit ...
first used the Ampex VRX-1000 Mark IV at its Television City studios in Hollywood on November 30, 1956, to play a delayed broadcast of '' Douglas Edwards and the News'' from
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
to the
Pacific Time Zone The Pacific Time Zone (PT) is a time zone A time zone is an area that observes a uniform standard time for legal, Commerce, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries between Country, countries and their A ...
. On January 22, 1957, the
NBC Television The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language Commercial broadcasting, commercial terrestrial Radio network, radio and television network owned by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered a ...
game show ''
Truth or Consequences ''Truth or Consequences'' is an American game show originally hosted on NBC radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30  ...
'', produced in Hollywood, became the first program to be broadcast in all time zones from a prerecorded videotape. Ampex introduced a color videotape recorder in 1958 in a cross-licensing agreement with RCA, whose engineers had developed it from an Ampex black-and-white recorder. NBC's special, '' An Evening With Fred Astaire'' (1958), is the oldest surviving
television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theory), vertex). Node may ...
color videotape, and has been restored by the
UCLA Film and Television Archive The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a ...
. On December 7, 1963,
instant replay Instant replay or action replay is a video reproduction of something that recently occurred which was both shot and broadcast live TV, live. The video, having already been shown live, is replayed in order for viewers to see again and analyze what ...
was used for the first time during the live transmission of the
Army–Navy Game The Army–Navy Game is an American college football College football is gridiron football consisting of American football in the United States, American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Higher education in the Unit ...
by its inventor, director
Tony Verna Anthony F. Verna (November 26, 1933 – January 18, 2015) was a producer of television sports and entertainment blockbusters. Biography Verna was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the sta ...

Tony Verna
. Although Quad became the industry standard for approximately thirty years, it has drawbacks such as an inability to freeze pictures, and no picture search. Also, in early machines, a tape could reliably be played back using only the same set of hand-made tape heads, which wore out very quickly. Despite these problems, Quad is capable of producing excellent images. Subsequent videotape systems have used helical scan, where the video heads record diagonal tracks (of complete fields) onto the tape. Many early videotape recordings were not preserved. While much less expensive (if repeatedly recycled) and more convenient than kinescope, the high cost of Scotch 179Charles P. Ginsburg
. ''Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering'', Vol. 7. 1994: The National Academies Press, Washington DC.
and other early videotapes ($300 per one-hour reel)Elen, Richard G.

. BFI Screenonline.
meant that most broadcasters erased and reused them, and (in the United States) regarded videotape as simply a better and more cost-effective means of time-delaying broadcasts than kinescopes. It was the four time zones of the continental United States which had made the system very desirable in the first place. However, some classic television programs originally recorded on studio videotape still exist, and are available on DVD – among them NBC's ''
Peter Pan Peter Pan is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A free-spirited and mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the mythi ...
'' (first telecast in 1960) with
Mary Martin Mary Virginia Martin (December 1, 1913 – November 3, 1990) was an American actress and singer. A muse In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originat ...

Mary Martin
as Peter, several episodes of the
Dinah Shore Dinah Shore (born Fannye Rose Shore; February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, and television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. She rose to prominence as a recording artist during the ...

Dinah Shore
Chevy Show (late 1950s/early 60s), the final Howdy Doody Show (1960), the television version of
Hal Holbrook Harold Rowe Holbrook Jr. (February 17, 1925 – January 23, 2021) was an American actor, television director, and screenwriter. He first received critical acclaim in 1954 for a one-man show, one-man stage show he developed, ''Mark Twain Tonight! ...

Hal Holbrook
's one-man show ''
Mark Twain Tonight Mark may refer to: Currency * Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark, the currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina * East German mark, the currency of the German Democratic Republic * Estonian mark, the currency of Estonia between 1918 and 1927 * Finni ...
'' (first telecast in 1967), and
Mikhail Baryshnikov Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov ( rus, Михаи́л Никола́евич Бары́шников, p=mʲɪxɐˈil bɐ'rɨʂnʲɪkəf; lv, Mihails Barišņikovs; born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet Latvian-born Russian-American dancer, chore ...

Mikhail Baryshnikov
's classic production of the ballet ''
The Nutcracker ''The Nutcracker'' ( rus, Щелкунчик, Shchelkunchik, links=no ) is an 1892 two-act ballet (""; russian: балет-феерия, link=no, ), originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchai ...

The Nutcracker
'' (first telecast in 1977). Quad tapes were polished, using 8 brass tips instead of the normal 4 video heads, at normal playback speed.


Types C and B

The next format to gain widespread usage was the 1" (2.54 cm) Type C format, introduced in 1976 (although some sources say 1978). This format introduced features such as shuttling, various-speed playback (including slow-motion), and still framing, but the sound and picture reproduction attainable on the format were of slightly lower quality than Quad (although 1" Type C's quality was still quite high). However, compared to Quad, 1" Type C machines required much less maintenance, took up less space, and consumed much less electrical power. In Europe a similar tape format was developed, called Type B. Type B machines (also known as BCN) use the same 1" tape as Type C but they lacked C's shuttle and slow-motion options. The picture quality is slightly better, though. Type B was the broadcast norm in continental Europe for most of the 1980s.


Professional cassette formats

A videocassette is a cartridge containing videotape. In 1969,
Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mult ...

Sony
introduced a prototype for the first widespread video cassette, the ¾ʺ (1.905 cm)
composite Composite or compositing may refer to: Materials * Composite material, a material that is made from several different substances ** Metal matrix composite, composed of metal and other parts ** Cermet, a composite of ceramic and metallic materials * ...

composite
U-matic #REDIRECT U-matic #REDIRECT U-matic#REDIRECT U-matic U-matic is an analogue recording videocassette format first shown by Sony is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation ...

U-matic
system, which Sony introduced commercially in September 1971 after working out industry standards with other manufacturers. Sony later refined it to ''Broadcast Video U-matic'' or BVU. Sony continued its hold on the professional market with its ever-expanding ½ʺ (1.27 cm)
component video Component video is an analog video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electron ...
Betacam Betacam is a family of half-inch professional videocassette Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film Plastic ...
family (introduced in 1982), which, in its digital variants, is still among the professional market leaders.
Panasonic formerly is a major Japanese multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate company, headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Osaka. It was founded by Kōnosuke Matsushita in 1918 as a lightbulb ...

Panasonic
had some limited success with its
MII A Mii ( ) is a customizable avatar An avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: ; ), a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", is the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appear ...
system, but never could compare to Betacam in terms of market share. The next step was the
digital Digital usually refers to something using discrete digits, often binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electr ...
revolution. Among the first digital video formats was Sony's D-1, which featured uncompressed digital component recording. Because D-1 was extremely expensive, the composite D-2 and D-3 (by Sony and Panasonic, respectively) were introduced soon after. Ampex introduced the first compressed component recording with its DCT series in 1992. Panasonic trumped D-1 with its D-5 format, which is uncompressed as well, but much more affordable. The standard, which debuted in 1995, has become widely used both in its native form and in more robust forms such as Sony's
DVCAM DV refers to a family of codecs A codec is a device or computer program which encodes or Decoding methods, decodes a data stream or signal. ''Codec'' is a portmanteau of coder/decoder. In electronic communications, an endec is a device which ...
and Panasonic's
DVCPRO DV refers to a family of codecs A codec is a device or computer program which encodes or Decoding methods, decodes a data stream or signal. ''Codec'' is a portmanteau of coder/decoder. In electronic communications, an endec is a device which ...

DVCPRO
as an acquisition and editing format. For camcorders, Sony adapted the Betacam system with its
Digital Betacam Betacam is a family of half-inch professional Videocassette#Cassette formats, videocassette products developed by Sony in 1982. In colloquial use, "Betacam" singly is often used to refer to a Betacam camcorder, a Betacam tape, a Betacam ...
format, later following it up with the cheaper
Betacam SX Betacam is a family of half-inch professional videocassette Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film Plastic ...
and MPEG IMX formats, and the semiprofessional -based
DVCAM DV refers to a family of codecs A codec is a device or computer program which encodes or Decoding methods, decodes a data stream or signal. ''Codec'' is a portmanteau of coder/decoder. In electronic communications, an endec is a device which ...
system. Panasonic used its variant
DVCPRO DV refers to a family of codecs A codec is a device or computer program which encodes or Decoding methods, decodes a data stream or signal. ''Codec'' is a portmanteau of coder/decoder. In electronic communications, an endec is a device which ...

DVCPRO
for all professional cameras, with the higher-end format DVCPRO50 being a direct descendant.
JVC The , usually referred to as JVC or the Japan Victor Company, is a Japanese brand owned by JVCKenwood corporation. Founded in 1927, the company is best known for introducing Japan's first televisions and for developing the Video Home System (VH ...

JVC
developed the competing D9/Digital-S format, which compresses video data in a way similar to DVCPRO but uses a cassette similar to
S-VHS , the common initialism for Super VHS, is an improved version of the VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identific ...

S-VHS
media.


High definition

The introduction of
HDTV High-definition television (HD or HDTV) describes a television system providing a substantially higher image resolution Image resolution is the detail an holds. The term applies to s, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution m ...

HDTV
video production Video production is the process of producing video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and contro ...
necessitated a medium for storing
high-definition video High-definition video (HD video) is video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of ele ...
information. In 1997, Sony bumped its Betacam series up to HD with the
HDCAM HDCAM is a high-definition video digital recording Videocassette#Cassette_formats, videocassette version of Betacam, Digital Betacam introduced in 1997 that uses an 8-bit discrete cosine transform (DCT) video compression, compressed Chroma subs ...
standard and its higher-end cousin HDCAM SR. Panasonic's competing format for cameras is based on DVCPRO and called
DVCPRO HD DV is a format for storing digital videos. It was launched in 1995 with joint efforts of leading producers of video camera recorders. It is the foundation of the MiniDV DV is a format for storing digital videos. It was launched in 1995 with ...
. For VTR and archive use, Panasonic expanded the D-5 specification to store compressed HD streams and called it D-5 HD.


Home video


VCRs

The first consumer
videocassette recorder A videocassette recorder (VCR) or video recorder is an electromechanical device that records analog audio and analog video from broadcast television or other source on a removable, magnetic tape Videocassette#Cassette formats, videocassette ...
s (VCR) were launched in 1971 (based around Sony
U-matic #REDIRECT U-matic #REDIRECT U-matic#REDIRECT U-matic U-matic is an analogue recording videocassette format first shown by Sony is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation ...

U-matic
technology).
Philips Koninklijke Philips N.V. (in Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer t ...

Philips
entered the domestic market the following year with the N1500. Sony's
Betamax Betamax (also known as Beta, as in its logo) is a consumer-level analog-recording and cassette Cassette may refer to: Technology * Cassette tape (or ''musicassette'', ''audio cassette'', ''cassette tape'', or ''tape''), a worldwide standard f ...
(1975) and JVC's
VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a for consumer-level on tape . From the 1950s, video recording became a major contributor to the television industry, via the first commercialized s (VTRs). At that time, the expensive devices were used only i ...

VHS
(1976) created a mass-market for VCRs and the two competing systems battled the "
videotape format war The videotape format war was a period of competition or "format war A format war is a competition between similar but mutually incompatible technical standards that compete for the same market, such as for data storage device On a reel- ...
", which VHS ultimately won. In Europe Philips had developed the V2000 format, which did not find favour with the TV rental companies in the UK and lost out to VHS. At first VCRs and videocassettes were very expensive, but by the late 1980s the price had come down enough to make them affordable to a mainstream audience. Videocassettes finally made it possible for consumers to buy or rent a complete film and watch it at home whenever they wished, rather than simply catching it at a movie theater or having to wait until it was telecast. It gave birth to video rental stores,
Blockbuster Blockbuster may refer to: Corporations * Blockbuster LLC, a defunct video and game rental chain TV and entertainment * Blockbuster (entertainment), any very successful movie, theatrical play, etc. * Blockbusters (American game show), ''Blockbuste ...
the largest chain, which lasted from about 1980 to 2005. It also made it possible for a VCR owner to begin time-shifting the recording of films and other
television program A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
s straight from the transmission. This caused an enormous change in viewing practices, as one no longer had to wait for a repeat of a program that had been missed. The shift to home viewing also changed the movie industry's revenue streams, because home renting created an additional window of time in which a film could make money. In some cases, films that did only modestly in their theater releases went on to have strong performance in the rental market (e.g.,
cult films A cult film or cult movie, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Pai ...
). VHS became the leading consumer tape format for
home movies A home movie is a short amateur film or video typically made just to preserve a visual record of family activities, a vacation, or a special event, and intended for viewing at home by family and friends. Originally, home movies were made on pho ...
after the "
videotape format war The videotape format war was a period of competition or "format war A format war is a competition between similar but mutually incompatible technical standards that compete for the same market, such as for data storage device On a reel- ...
", though its follow-ups
S-VHS , the common initialism for Super VHS, is an improved version of the VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identific ...

S-VHS
,
W-VHS W-VHS (Wide-VHS) is a HDTV-capable analog recording Videocassette#Cassette formats, videocassette format created by JVC. The format was originally introduced in 1994 for use with Japan's Hi-Vision, an early analog high-definition television syst ...

W-VHS
and
D-VHS D-VHS is a digital video recording format developed by JVC The , usually referred to as JVC or the Japan Victor Company, is a Japanese brand owned by JVCKenwood corporation. Founded in 1927, the company is best known for introducing Japan' ...
never caught up in popularity. In early 2000s in the prerecorded video market, VHS began to be displaced by
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electr ...

DVD
. The DVD format has several advantages over VHS tape. A DVD is much better able to take repeated viewings than VHS tape, which can crack or break, which makes DVDs a better format from a rental store's perspective. As well, whereas a VHS tape can be erased if it is exposed to a rapidly changing magnetic field of sufficient strength, DVDs and other optical discs are not affected by magnetic fields. Even though DVDs do not have the problems of tapes, such as breakage of the tape or the cassette mechanism, DVDs can still be damaged by scratches. Another factor for movie rental stores is that DVDs are smaller and take less space to store. DVDs offer a number of advantages for the viewer: DVDs can support both standard 4x3 and widescreen 16x9 screen aspect ratios and DVDs can provide twice the video resolution of VHS. As well, a viewer who wants to skip ahead to the end of a movie can do so much faster with a DVD than with a VHS tape (which has to be rewound). DVDs can have interactive menus, multiple language tracks, audio commentaries, Closed Captioning and subtitling (with the option of turning the subtitles on or off, or selecting subtitles in several languages). Moreover, a DVD can be played on a computer. Due to these advantages, by the mid-2000s, DVDs were the dominant form of prerecorded video movies in both the rental film and new movie markets. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, though, consumers continued to use VCRs to record over-the-air TV shows, because consumers could not make home recordings onto DVDs. This last barrier to DVD domination was broken in the late 2000s, with the advent of inexpensive DVD recorders and other
digital video recorder A digital video recorder (DVR) is an electronic device The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol ...

digital video recorder
s (DVRs). DVR devices, which record shows onto a hard disk or flash storage, can be purchased from electronics stores or rented from cable or satellite TV providers. Despite the mainstream dominance of DVD, VHS continues to have a role. The conversion to DVD has led to the marketplace being flooded with used VHS films, which are available at pawnshops and second-hand stores, typically for a lower price than the equivalent film on a used DVD. As well, due to the large number of VHS players in schools and libraries, VHS tapes are still produced for the educational market. , at least one Public Library in the Detroit, Michigan area has discontinued lending out VHS prerecorded movies. In July 2016, the last known manufacturer of VCRs,
Funai is a Japanese consumer electronics Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, ...

Funai
, announced that it was ceasing VCR production.


Consumer and prosumer camcorders

Early consumer
camcorders A camcorder is an electronic device originally combining a video camera A video camera is a camera A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗ ...
used full-size VHS or Betamax cassettes. Later models switched to more compact formats, designed explicitly for smaller camcorder use, like
VHS-C VHS-C is the compact VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Stan ...

VHS-C
and
Video8 The 8mm video format refers informally to three related videocassette Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film Plastic f ...
.
VHS-C VHS-C is the compact VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Stan ...

VHS-C
is a downsized version of VHS, using the same recording method and the same tape, but in a smaller cassette. It is possible to play VHS-C tapes in a regular VHS tape recorder by using an adapter. After Super VHS had appeared, a corresponding compact version, Super VHS-C, was released as well.
Video8 The 8mm video format refers informally to three related videocassette Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film Plastic f ...

Video8
is an indirect descendant of Betamax, using narrower tape and a smaller cassette. Because of its narrower tape and technical differences, it is not possible to develop an adapter from Video8 to Betamax. Video8 was later developed into
Hi8 The 8mm video format refers informally to three related videocassette formats for the NTSC The abbreviation NTSC can refer to the National Television System Committee,National Television System Committee (1951–1953), eport and Reports of Pan ...
, which provides better resolution similar to Super VHS. The first consumer-level and lower-end professional (
prosumer A prosumer is an individual who both Consumption (economics), consumes and Production (economics), produces. The term is a portmanteau of the words ''production (economics), producer'' and ''consumer''. Research has identified six types of prosumer ...
) digital video recording format, introduced in 1995, used a smaller Digital Video Cassette (DVC). The format was later renamed
MiniDV DV is a format for storing digital videos. It was launched in 1995 with joint efforts of leading producers of video camera recorders. It is the foundation of the MiniDV format. The original DV specification, known as ''Blue Book'', was stand ...

MiniDV
to reflect the encoding scheme, but the tapes still carry "DVC" mark. Some later formats like from Panasonic reflect the original name. The DVC/MiniDV format provides broadcast-quality video and sophisticated nonlinear editing capability on consumer and some professional equipment and has been used on many films, like Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2001, shot on a Canon XL1) and David Lynch's Inland Empire (2006, shot on a Sony PD170) In 1999 Sony backported the DV recording scheme to 8-mm systems, creating
Digital8 Digital8 (or Di8) is a consumer digital recording In digital recording, an audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, ...
. By using the same cassettes as Hi8, many Digital8 camcorders were able to play analog Video8/Hi8 recordings, preserving compatibility with already recorded
analog video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...
tapes. , Digital8 camcorders have been removed from the equipment offered by Sony. Sony introduced another camcorder cassette format called
MicroMV MicroMV is a proprietary videotape format introduced in October 2001 by Sony. It is the smallest videotape format — 70% smaller than MiniDV or about the size of two US Quarter (U.S. coin), quarter coins; it is also smaller than a Digital8 or ...

MicroMV
, but consumer interest was low due to the proprietary nature of the format and limited support for anything but low-end Windows video editors, and Sony shipped the last MicroMV unit in 2005. In the late 2000s,
MiniDV DV is a format for storing digital videos. It was launched in 1995 with joint efforts of leading producers of video camera recorders. It is the foundation of the MiniDV format. The original DV specification, known as ''Blue Book'', was stand ...

MiniDV
and its high-definition cousin,
HDV HDV is a format for recording of on cassette . The format was originally developed by and supported by , , and . The four companies formed the HDV Consortium in September 2003. Conceived as an affordable high definition format for digital s, ...

HDV
, were the two most popular consumer/pro-sumer tape-based formats. The formats use different encoding methods, but the same cassette type. Since 2001, when MicroMV was presented, no new tape form factors have been introduced - with HDV (High Definition Video) offering consumers a bridge on HD video on MiniDV tape.


Future of tape

With advances in technology, videotape has moved past its original uses (original recording, editing, and broadcast playback) and is now primarily an archival medium. The death of tape for video recording was predicted as early as 1995, when the Avid nonlinear editing system was demonstrated storing video clips on hard disks. Yet videotape was still used extensively, especially by consumers, up until about 2004, when DVD-based camcorders became affordable at consumer level and domestic computers had large enough hard drives to store an acceptable amount of video. Consumer camcorders have switched from being tape-based to
tapeless In the field of professional broadcasting, an end-to-end workflow (from ingest to playout) is called ''tapeless'' when part, or all of it, is made without any use of audio tape recorders or videotape machines; video and audio sources being ingested, ...
machines that record video as computer files. Small hard disks and writable optical discs have been used, with solid-state memory such as
SD cards Secure Digital, officially abbreviated as SD, is a proprietary non-volatile Non-volatile memory (NVM) or non-volatile storage is a type of computer memory In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting fro ...
being the current market leader. There are two primary advantages: First, copying a tape recording onto a computer or other video machine occurs in real time (e.g. a ten-minute video would take ten minutes to copy); since tapeless camcorders record video as computer-ready data files, the files can simply be copied onto a computer. Second, tapeless camcorders, and those using solid-state memory in particular, are far simpler mechanically and so are more reliable. Despite these conveniences, tape is still used extensively with filmmakers and television networks because of its longevity, low cost, and reliability. Master copies of visual content are often stored on tape for these reasons, particularly by users who cannot afford to move to tapeless machines. Professional users such as broadcast television were still using tape heavily in the mid- to late 2000s, but tapeless formats like DVCPRO P2,
XDCAM XDCAM is a series of products for digital recording In digital recording, an audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, f ...

XDCAM
and
AVCHD AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) is a file-based format for the digital recording In digital recording, an audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), phy ...

AVCHD
are gaining broader acceptance. While live recording has migrated to solid state (Panasonic P2, Sony SR MASTER or XDCAM-EX), optical disc (Sony's XDCAM) and hard disks, the high cost of solid state and the limited shelf life of hard-disk drives make them less desirable for archival use, for which tape is still used. , some news and production camera crews still have cameras that use tape formats, even in HD.


Notes


References


External links


The Loss of Early Video Recordings


(WayBack Machine)

(WayBack Machine) {{Video storage formats American inventions History of television Tape Audiovisual introductions in 1950