VHS: A Ground-breaking Technology

VHS, or Video Home System, was developed by Victor Company of Japan (JVC) in the 1970s. Before VHS, the Ampex VRX-1000 was the first commercially successful VTR introduced in 1956 by Ampex Corporation. With its exorbitant prices of USD$50,000 (more than $400,000 with 2016’s inflation), and USD$300 (over $2,000 with 2016’s inflation) for a 90 minute reel of tape, it was planned for the professional market.

VHS was introduced as a consumer friendly version that quickly took the market by storm. But what made VHS so successful?

The Early Days

JVC engineers Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo Takano intended to develop a consumer-based VTR with an affordable price. Their goals were to have a tape that could withstand at least two hours of recording, a system that was compatible with any television set, and picture quality that was similar to an online broadcast. The VHS Development Matrix also had objectives to develop a versatile, affordable, and easy-to-operate system.

VHS vs Betamax

Betamax, or Beta, was a consumer-level analog videocassette magnetic tape recorder, developed by Sony and released in Japan in 1975. At time of release, Sony controlled the market completely with the only home video technology available at the time.

Marketing was a vital distinction between Betamax and VHS; while Betamax had superior picture and sound quality, playback, and recording, VHS was a cheaper solution that quickly overrun Betamax. A Betamax tape could only run for one hour, whilst VHS tapes would play for two.

The Key to Success

VHS was a big revolution for its time, considerably more than today’s technology. It was the first on-demand home-viewing experience that completely changed how people watched films. In the 1980s, movie producers saw the VHS as a profitable opportunity with its application to theatre distribution. Many low-budget films were also released with VHS specifically in mind.

Sony eventually extended the recording time and dropped Betamax’s price, but these methods came in too late. VHS became the standard format as more and more companies started backing the format, until, in 1988 Sony conceded defeat and started manufacturing VHS players.

If you have VHS films you would like to convert to DVD, here at Video2DVD Transfers we have solutions at affordable prices so you can enjoy your favourite VHS films. You can contact us on +44 (0)800 592 433 to find out more about our prices. Our friendly team is always happy to answer any query you might have.

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