Various Video Formats Through the Ages

Films are changing all the time. After all, just a few years ago, we wouldn’t have the 3D technology we have today, for example.

Video formatting has been around for decades and we have seen the constant changing of these video formats, from the VHS, all the way to the 8mm video formats of video cameras.

But have you ever wondered how these various video formats started out and why they have nearly become entirely obsolete?


One of the most popular forms of video format is the video home system, more commonly known as the VHS. The VHS was an incredibly user-friendly video cassette that was developed by Victor Company of Japan, more commonly known as JVC in the early 1970s.

They were used by people across the world, as they were incredibly easy to use. However, when the DVD format was introduced to America in early 1997, the number of sales of the VHS dramatically decreased. Then, in 2008, the last American supplier of VHS video cassettes shipped the last VHS tapes. So now, no major retailers stock any VHS tapes, however, there are a few exceptions.

The popularity of the VHS didn’t stop JVC when they were initially released; in the late 1980s, JVC then released the Super VHS cassette, which was also known as the S-VHS. This new video format had a better light resolution as well as increased capacity. However, with this format, there was a lot of competition from the likes of Betamax and other popular video cassette companies.


Because of how popular the VHS was around the world, JVC then released the compact version of the VHS video cassette, which was known as the VHS-C. The format itself is based on the exact same magnetic tape that is used in the ordinary VHS, and it can also be used in a standard VHS video cassette recorder or VCR.

However, even though they were relatively cheap, they were largely obsolete on the market and eventually replaced by digital video formats.

Just like with the VHS, the compact VHS-C cassette underwent a supercharge, resulting in the S-VHS-C, which, again, had a lot of competition with other videos, and even digital, format distributors. They were relatively successful; so much so that standard VCRs had an additional feature added to it to benefit the influx of these new technologies.

However, just like the rest of the VHS cassettes, they all became obsolete in the early to middle 2000s.


If there is one main competitor to the VHS video cassette, it was the Betamax video cassette. Betamax is incredibly similar to the VHS, in the sense that it used a magnetic tape to store video streams. One of the notable differences between the Betamax and the VHS was that the Betamax was released earlier; it was released in Japan in 1975.

The Betamax were incredibly popular throughout the last quarter of the 20th century, and it lasted all the way until 2015 when Sony – the manufacturers of the Betamax – announced that they will be ceasing the producing of Betamax video cassettes. With a reign lasting over 40 years, Betamax is truly one of the iconic forms of video format that were available.


At the end of the 20th century, people wanted something new to what they were used to; the Betamax and the VHS were gradually becoming too old for their time. With this, Sony developed a digital recording videocassette that was able to be used in camcorders; this was known as the Digital8, as it was a variation of the original 8mm video format developed by Sony.

The Digital8 format was released in 1999, and it was used greatly by consumers around the world, as they were a low-cost upgrade from the analogue 8mm ancestors. Currently, the future of the Digital8 format is in question, as Sony is one of the only companies in the work that manufacture the equipment necessary for Digital8 cassettes.

These are just a small handful of the video and digital formats that are available around the world, either still in circulation or completely obsolete. At Video2DVD Transfers, we specialise in transferring your videos into DVDs and not just any videos; any videos that we have mentioned in this blog, we can transfer and much more.

If you want to know about the video formats that we can transfer for you, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today on 0800 592 433 and one of our incredibly friendly members of staff will be more than happy to help.