Video Tape Type / History

VHS (aka Video Home System) was first introduced in 1976 by JVC. The VHS tape was 188 x 104 x 25mm. It provided 240 lines of resolution, the same as Betamax. Although, Betamax, at least in the beginning was a better quality format than VHS due to better audio, VHS became the dominant video format and quickly saw the eradication of Betamax on Video Library shelves. VHS is what most people refer to when they say "video" or "VCR" or "VCR tape". It became popular mainly for two reasons. The first was that it could record much more than Betamax. The second is that Betamax was kept proprietary and Sony only licensed about a dozen companies whereas JVC licensed about 40 companies.
Derivatives of VHS were, VHS-C (also called Compact VHS or VHS Compact), a smaller tape for use in camcorders and SVHS (and SVHS-C) which provided higher resolution at 425 lines.
It is interesting to note that VHS tapes were used for storing professional audio as well. PCM Audio and ADAT could use VHS tapes. We also transfer PCM Audio and ADAT on VHS.
DVD surpassed VHS as the format of choice for distribution of movies in 2003. By 2006, most manufacturers had stopped releasing titles on VHS, preferring to release on DVD only. These days most people's VHS players have died or are dying.
The Betamax format was first introduced in 1975 by Sony. The tape size was 155 x 95 x 24mm. Betamax comes from the way the tape would like the Greek letter "ß" (Beta) and had a second significance in Japanese that explained the way the video signal was written to the tape. The "max" suffix was to signify maximum as in maximum quality. Betamax was marketed as Betacord (Sanyo), Betamovie (mainly early models), Beta HiFi, Super Beta and just plain Beta. The tape format was originally a cut down version of U-Matic, the professional format of the time. Betamax, on the other hand, became the prototype for Betacam, a professional format that uses the same size cassette, derivations of which are still used today.
8mm Video describes the width of the video tape. It comprises Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 formats. The same video tape could be used to store any of the 8mm video formats:

The Video8 (aka Video 8) was first introduced in 1985. It was the first of a series of 8mm video tapes. At the time, only the larger VHS and Betamax tapes were available for recording video footage. By producing a smaller tape format, the Video8 format gained a foothold for the consumer. The tape size was only 95 x 62 x 15mm, about the size of an audio cassette. This meant no longer having to lug around large video cameras. Furthermore, even edit decks were now only the size of large books. Moreover, the audio that was incorporated was better than the existing VHS and Betamax of the time due to its FM helical scan recording. It supplied 240 lines of resolution, about the same as VHS and Betamax. One of the downsides of Video8 (and other 8mm video tapes), is its thin tape size which leads to greater dropouts and greater problems with restoration. In standard play, video records up to 90 min for PAL (and SECAM) and 120 mins for NTSC recording.

The Hi8 (aka Hi 8 aka High 8 aka Super 8 video) format was first introduced in 1989. Since Sony introduced the Video8 format, they had taken a great deal of the consumer market. In response to Sony's entrant, JVC, created a small sized tape that could be placed into a larger adapter to playback on a standard VHS player - the VHS-C. The next step was to increase the resolution and this was done with SVHS, a superior resolution to VHS. This meant that Sony had to improve the resolution to keep in the game. They did so with Hi8. Hi8 tapes gave 425 lines of resolution. also provided the same 90 mins (PAL) or 120 mins (NTSC) of record time on the same tape size as the Video8 tape.

The Digital8 (aka Digital 8) format was first introduced in 1999. It was in all respects miniDV Codec on an 8mm videotape and resembled in 8mm video formats. Whereas miniDV was used in many professional level cameras, Digital8 was only ever used in entry level video cameras. It allowed manufacturers to reuse bodies/tape componentry that had been used for other 8mm cameras. Apart from Sony, the only other manufacturer licensed to use Digital8 was Hitachi. Because miniDV was exactly the same as Digital8 only in a smaller cassette, it allowed for smaller cameras and better features in the size. For this reason Digital8 was never anywhere as popular as miniDV.
miniDV (aka mini DV, DVM, DV or DVC), released by Sony in 1995, was the first digital recording format available to consumers. Nearly lossless broadcast quality picture. The ¼" miniDV format provides 500+ lines of resolution. The tape is 66 x 48 x 12.2mm or about the size of a matchbox. miniDV uses DV or DVC format, essentially the same format used by professional formats such as DVCAM and DVCPRO. However, it records on a much smaller tape. Later miniDV was used for storing HDV, or hi definition video on miniDV tapes. Larger DVCAM and HDV taper could also be used for recording miniDV video.
In 1996 Sony created DVCAM to counter Panasonic's DVCPRO. Like DVCPRO, DVCAM uses locked audio, which prevents audio synchronisation drift that may happen on DV.

It is interesting to note that for many years DVCAM was the wedding videographer's format of choice.
In 2002, Sony released microMV (aka micro MV), a tape format that was about 70% smaller than miniDV. It was to provide a basis for much smaller cameras. However, it traded off quality for size, using MPEG2 compression. The format was abandoned in 2003 probably due to lack of support for the format and the high price demanded by Sony.
In 2004, JVC introduced the first HDV camera. HDV uses MPEG2 compression to enable miniDV tapes to be able to store high definition footage. HDV provides twice the resolution as standard DV formats. The trade off is the increased problems associated with dropouts and more complexity in the way that the footage is edited due to the increased complexity of the compression it uses. Since this is in Hi Definition Format, it is advised to be transferred to Blu-ray or High Definition Digital Files rather than DVD to retain the resolution.
miniDVD (aka mini DVD) was released in 2000 by Hitachi with the first miniDVD camcorder. miniDVD is a disc format. Often people confuse it with miniDV (a tape format).
The problem was that DVD was not designed to be recorded in anything but a perfectly stable environment. Also, the media used was of low quality and there were quite often dye runs that meant that whole projects were easily lost. Whilst it was designed for ease and simplicity, this meant that when it came to editing or combining a few 30 min miniDVDs onto a full size DVD, there were issues that meant that it was no longer simple or easy to use.

There is another problem about miniDVD that you must finalise it before working from a normal DVD player, we can still transfer them even the disc is not finalised, please contact us first in this case before submitting them.
Laser Disc
Laserdisc (aka Laserdisc & LD) is an optical disc similar to the size of a 33rpm LP record. The Laserdisc (aka Laserdisc, Optical Videodisc, Laser Videodisc, Laservision, Disco-Vision, DiscoVision, DiscoVision & LD) was the first commercial optical disc storage medium. It was created by DiscoVision in 1978 before being sold to Pioneer in 1983. Whilst relatively successful in Hong Kong, its uptake in Australia, North America and Europe was relatively poor, even though it was of considerably higher quality than VHS and Betamax the consumer formats of the time. It was also used in museums as a medium for video distribution.
Betacam (aka Beta) is a group of half-inch professional video tape formats. Sony developed Betacam Oxide in August 1982. It was a successor to both U-matic the professional format of the time and Betamax, a tape the same size but of only consumer quality. The original Betacam had over 300 lines of resolution but only 30 mins duration.

In 1986, Sony improved on Betacam to produce Betacam SP aka Beta SP. It offered horizontal resolution of 340 lines and 90 minutes record time. Beta SP (SP for "Superior Performance") became the industry standard for most TV stations and high-end production houses until the late 1990s.

Digital Betacam (aka Digibeta) was launched in 1993. It provided digital support on the same tapes being used and was able to record up to 124 minutes. Digital Betacam is still widely used in the broadcast industry today.

Betacam SX (aka Beta SX) is a digital version of Betacam SP and was released by Sony in 1996. It was cheaper than Digital Betacam. It stores up to 194 minutes.

The Betacam SX system was used quite extensively by news and current affairs programs. Betacam SX uses MPEG-2 4:2:2P@ML compression. Betacam IMX is a 2001 development of the Digital Betacam format. They hold up to 184 minutes. HDCAM, introduced in 1997 and HDCAM SR, introduced in 2003 also use the Betacam housings.

In 2000, DVD Infinity commenced professional Betacam (including Digibeta) to DVD transfer services.

DVD Infinity can transfer your video to Digital Betacam / Digibeta so that you can send your video to Rage.

When preparing something for Rage, please ensure the following (correct as at 31/10/13): * your video file or tape uses PAL Standard Definition i.e. 720 x 576 pixels at 25fps. * you have all the information that Rage requested as a title page or clapper board at the beginning (Song, Artist, Duration, Date, etc).
Sony introduced HDCAM in 1997 as an HD version of Digital Betacam. Like Betacam, HDCAM tapes are produced in small and large cassette sizes; the small cassette uses the same form factor as the original Betamax. The main competitor to HDCAM is DVCPRO HD format offered by Panasonic. It uses a similar compression scheme and bitrates ranging from 40 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s depending on frame rate. In 2003, Sony released HDCAM SR . It uses a higher particle density tape and is capable of recording at higher bit rates than standard HDCAM.
DVCPRO, also known as DVCPRO25, uses DV compression to store data on a tape. It was developed by Panasonic and introduced in 1995. It uses 4:1:1 chroma sampling.

DVCPRO50 was introduced by Panasonic in 1997. It works as two DV-codecs working in parallel. The DVCPRO50 doubles the coded video data rate to 50 Mbit/s, cutting recording time in half compared to base DVCPRO. It uses 4:2:2 chroma sampling.

DVCPRO HD, also known as DVCPRO100 is a high definition format. It is thought of as four DV codecs working in parallel. DVCPRO HD uses 4:2:2 color sampling. It is a high definition format that runs at 960x720 pixels for 720p, 1280x1080 for 1080/59.94i and 1440x1080 for 1080/50i.
Sony's XDCAM line was introduced in 2003. It comprises four separate formats: XDCAM SD, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD422. XDCam uses a disk format to shoot on rather than a traditional tape format. Hence, it does not have the robustness of traditional tape formats. In September 2008, JVC signed an agreement with Sony to support the XDCAM EX format.
U-matic was a professional video format first introduced in 1969 by Sony. The U-matic tape format was also known as three quarter inch or 3/4'"'. U-matic was named after the way the tape ran in a 'U' path within the tape casing. It was a comparatively high end format at the time of its introduction. There were two later enhancements: in the early 1980s, BVU or Hi band U-matic was introduced and later, a further enhancement SP (Superior Performance).
The format was later adopted by some home enthusiasts due to the superior quality when compared with Betamax or VHS.

DVD Infinity is also one of the few companies in Australia with recently serviced low mileage professional U-matic decks to handle all U-matic formats (PAL/NTSC & Lo, Hi and SP band).
EIAJ Helical Scan Video Tape
EIAJ (Electronic Industries Association of Japan) was introduced in 1969 and was the first attempt by competing Japanese manufacturers to come up with a standardised format that could play tapes from various manufacturers. An EIAJ machine uses 1/2 (half) inch open reel to reel tape on 5 inch (30 min) reels or 7 inch (60 min) reels. It offered about 240 lines of resolution. It operated at 7.5 ips. There were two specifications: EIAJ-1 for black & white, and EIAJ-2 (released in 1974) for colour. Second generation Sony Portapack video cameras used EIAJ 1/2" video.

We can transfer a number of the 1/2" open reel formats which include EIAJ Type 1 and 2, CV & CV Skip Field as well as Shibaden.
Akai 1/4" Video
In 1967, Akai produced a B&W ¼" video format that provided about 200 lines of resolution, well below VHS. In 1974, Akai, added colour to their ¼" video offerings.

The advantage of Akai's offerings were that they were small and compact for their time. They could also be recorded onto 1/4" audio tapes that were readily available and reasonably cheap. However, because they were only ¼" it meant that quality was lower and wear was a lot higher.
Vcord Video Tape
Sanyo V-cord I (aka Vcord) was a forerunner in consumer video tape formats, appearing before both VHS and Betamax. The earliest machines recorded in B&W only. Later machines were able to record in colour as well. The video is recorded onto Sanyo VT20C and VT30C tapes. It produced reasonably high quality video for its day but was quickly killed off by VHS and Betamax.
One Inch (1") Video Two Inch (2") Video
1 inch C is a professional open-reel helical scan videotape format co-developed and introduced by Sony and Ampex in 1976. It became the successor to two inch video (2 inch Quadruplex). It provided extremely high quality video and was a broadcast standard for about 20 years.

2 inch Quadruplex is a professional open-reel helical scan videotape format co-developed and introduced by Sony and Ampex in 1976. It became the successor to two inch video (2 inch Quadruplex). It provided extremely high quality video and was a broadcast standard for about 20 years.
Panasonic P2
Panasonic introduced its P2 Memory cards in 2007. DVD Infinity supports Panasonic P2: AVC-Intra 50, AVC-Intra 100, DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO50, and DVCPRO HD formats. A clip is said to be in the P2 format if its audio and video are contained in Panasonic Op-Atom MXF files, and these files are located in a specific folder structure.
HD Camera Video
Whatever the format of video on your HDD camera (iPad, Android/Tablet, Everio, Panasonic, Sony, etc), DVD Infinity can transfer it to a DVD or Blu-ray disc for you. DVD Infinity supports all HDD cameras including the JVC Everio, Sony and Panasonic ranges. As the information is stored on the hard drive of your camera, we require the camera, power cable and AV cables (in some cases) to transfer your footage at highest quality.

For iPad, we recommend that you transfer the video files to a USB drive, DVD data disc or similar and provide them this way. The reason for this is that each iPad will normally only be able to be synchronised with one account (iTunes).
Memory Card Video
DVD Infinity commenced transferring video on Memory Card, USB and HDD to DVD in 2006 and Blu-ray at the start of 2008. Most popular formats such as AVCHD (m2ts) (aka Advanced Video Codec High Definition, very popular in Sony, Panasonic, Canon Camera), MOD (very popular in JVC Camera), MOV (iPad, iPhone, Smartphone, GOPRO, etc) can be handled by DVD Infinity.
Smart Phone
Whatever the format of video on your mobile phone, DVD Infinity can transfer it to a DVD or Blu-ray disk for you. DVD Infinity supports most types of mobile phones, smart phones, PDAs, etc. Such as Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Sanyo, NEC, etc. Formats supported include 3GP, 3G2 and MPEG4. Please note that some mobile phones only record the footage at low resolution and hence, the quality on the DVD will be limited by this resolution.

For iPhone and iPad users, you should transfer the video files to a hard drive, USB drive or similar through iTunes and bring this to us.
4K Video
Are you shooting on 4K but want to share the content with family and friends who cannot play 4K.

We have the solution. DVD Infinity can professionally downscale the 4K video to standard definition and high definition and create copies on DVD (Standard Definition) or Blu-ray (High Definition) that you can provide to family and friends so that they can share your experiences via youtube or other means.

Or simply just want us to edit your 4K files and produce a final version in 4K resolution.
Tape Baking
When magnetic tapes are stored, the binder (or glue) that holds the magnetic material to the base begins to absorb moisture. Affected tapes squeak when played and should not be played. Playing the tape will shed the magnetic material. The effect is called sticky tape syndrome. The problem is especially prevalent in U-matic, 1" and 2" tapes. The solution to the problem is to bake the tapes at very low temperature in a special oven.