S-VHS (1987 – early 2000s)

S-VHS (or Super VHS) is a magnetic tape video format, and was an improved version of VHS aimed at consumers. It was instroduced by JVC in 1987. It has increased luminance bandwidth over VHS, for a horizontal resolution of 420 lines over VHS’s 240 lines.

S-VHS cassettes are almost identical in appearance to VHS, and S-VHS recorders can play VHS cassettes. S-VHS cassettes use a different oxide media formulation for higher magnetic coercivity, the cassettes are sensed by the recorder via a hole in the underside of the cassette body.

In the home market, S-VHS failed to gain significant market share. Consumers were not interested in paying for an improved picture. Likewise S-VHS rentals and movie sales did very poorly. A few prerecorded movies were released to S-VHS, but poor market acceptance prompted studios to transition their high-end product from S-VHS to Laserdisc.

The smaller S-VHS-C cassette for camcorders enjoyed limited success, and S-VHS was also used by a few public access and cable television companies.