Most video formats are revolutionary at the time of their introduction. But technology progresses, most video formats and players soon become obsolete. The primary reason behind this is the rapid development of new video formats offering newer, better features. Vinyl records seem to have a loyal and growing following compared to a lot of mediums.
If you own VHS, Betacam, Betamax, or any outdated video tapes, you should be quick to digitize these formats before they become a thing of the past. A properly digitized format broadens accessibility and protects the longevity of the original content. Among the most common video types on their way out, here are six near-extinct video formats that you should digitize today.
- Video Home System (VHS)
VHS was the most successful consumer video formats, outlasting many that preceded it. The technology was developed by JVC with the first VHS recorder available to consumers in Japan in 1976. The VHS cassette has a 1/2-inch tape and anti-de spooling mechanism protected by a flip-cover.
The tape is pulled by VHS machine from the shell and wrapped around the inclined head drum. A single cassette can hold around 430m of tape which means about 5-hours of playtime at standard play quality. JVC continued to improve the VHS technology introducing VHS-C, S-VHS in 1987, and W-VHS in 1989. The first digital variant of VHS (D-VHS) was introduced in 1998 but at this time, there was serious competition from DVD. Quickly the market shifted to DVD and digital VHS transfers.
This format was introduced to consumers in the US in 1975. The cassettes by Sony had an initial capacity of 1-hour recording time. While Betamax could have offered better picture quality, it couldn’t compete effectively with VHS which offered longer recording time. The two tape formats were engaged in a war for many years but Sony seemed to have lost the battle in 1988 when production of recorders began. Despite this shift, Betamax still had some fans which pushed Sony to continue production of recorders but in 2016 production of the tapes stopped.
U-matic was the first video cassette format, introduced by Sony in 1971 for domestic use. This format used tape and helical video head drum. It had a built-in TV tuner and to prevent accidental recording, one could remove a small red button from the cassette. U-matic continued to be used for more than two decades but mostly in the commercial setting. It was too expensive for home use so this videotape format was more practical for use in TV-production, education and demonstration purposes. The format was replaced by Betacam SP in the 1990’s which had become the first choice for professionals. In turn, it’s become a popular format for video conversion and digitization for many different applications.
- Phillips' Video Cassette Recording
Video Cassette Recording or VCR was the brainchild of Phillips, introduced to the UK in 1972. The pricey VCR relied on a big cassette with a half-inch chrome-dioxide tape and reels that were arranged one on top of the other. It offered 60-minutes of playtime but this could be unreliable owing to the thin tapes. More features were introduced to better the VCR format including long-play but this new development created compatibility problems between the original format and the long-play VHS. In 1979, Phillips together with Grundig created Video 2000, rendering long-play VCR and VCR itself obsolete.
- Open Reel Video
The release of the EV-200 portable video recorder in 1964 also marked the introduction of Sony EV 1-inch videotape. 2400 ft. of tape gave 1 hour of recording time and instead of NAB style hubs used by other similar formats, EV used a straight spindle design. It was a monochrome model but later there were versions that could play and record in color. The 1-inch EV tape was last used with Sony’s UV-340 that was developed in 1970.
Cartridge Television Inc., made Cartivision available to consumers in 1972. It was the pioneer provider of rental films for home use.The video format was designed to compete with existing formats from leaders like Phillips. Cartivision has half an inch-reels of tape like the Phillips’ VCR. There were features added to boost play time. Poor sales led to the cessation of Cartivision machine only a year after introduction.
Digitization has advanced rapidly in the past few years and is the ideal if not the only way to save video files. This gives you unlimited time with your files, ability to propagate them and little worry of losing them after a while. Digital conversion works for almost every format and medium by expanding its reach as well as improve efficiency in terms of storage and sped.
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