What are the different VHS Formats

1) Conventional VHS
This is the conventional format, introduced by JVC in 1976 and found in nearly 90% of US homes. It typically uses a T-120 or T-160 6-hour or 8-hour tape respectively (although record times can go up to 10 hours with a T-200). The tape has an iron oxide, not a metal particle magnetic surface.

2) S-VHS
Sometimes called Super VHS, this format uses a shell that is identical to the VHS, but usually of a higher quality. There is a notch in the bottom left corner of the shell, which identifies it to the machine as S-VHS tape. S-VHS produces an improvement in picture detail, called horizontal resolution, of 400 lines versus 240 lines in conventional VHS. Horizontal resolution is measured from left to right on your television screen. The higher the resolution, the better the detail. The way I always tried to explain this is to think of a picket fence, for example. Say you count the posts from left to right in a given area. Obviously there would be more detail in a fence that had 400 posts, compared to a fence with only 240 posts in the same given area. S-VHS contains a different higher magnetic coercivity iron oxide formulation than conventional VHS. Blank S-VHS tape can also be used on conventional VCRs. You will get a better recording because the tape and shell are of higher quality, but you will not get the higher resolution mentioned above, unless you have an S-VHS deck. Recordings made on S-VHS machines cannot be played back on conventional decks.

3) D-VHS
This is a digital video format that uses the same, albeit higher quality, plastic shell. The recording mechanism is the same as VHS and S-VHS, and is capable of recording and displaying both standard-definition and high-definition content. D-VHS can record up to 5 hours on a DF-300, or 7 hours on a DF-420 videocassette, or 2-1/2 hours (SP mode) if used in an S-VHS or VHS deck. Recordings made on D-VHS cannot be played back on VHS or S-VHS machines. The numbers 300 and 420 refer to the length of the tape in meters—300 and 420 meters, approximately 1000 and 1400 feet respectively.

4) W-VHS
This is a high-definition videotape format created by JVC. It is also called D-9 or Digital-S. There was virtually no market for W-VHS, and D-9 and Digital-S have infinitesimal market shares. The recording medium of W-VHS is 1/2-inch magnetic metal tape, stored in a shell the same size as conventional VHS.

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