Tagged: high-definition

HDCAM SR (2003 – 2016)

HDCAM SR (Superior Resolution) was a professional high-definition digital video cassette format, introduced by Sony in 2003 as a higher quality variant of its existing HDCAM system.

Like other Betacam-related formats, HDCAM SR cassettes were available in large and small sizes, and had the same tape lengths as Digital Betacam (up to 40 minutes for S and 124 minutes for L tapes).

It used higher particle density tape allowing an increased bit rate (a choice or 440 or 880 Mbps). Like HDCAM, it was commonly used in high-definition television production.

Sony HDCAM SR tapes were black with a cyan lid and contained a 1K memory chip to store metadata about the tape.

In 2016, Sony announced that it was ceasing production of its remaining ½-inch video tape recorders and players, including those for the HDCAM SR format.

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HDV (2003 – 2011)

HDV was a high-definition digital video format for camcorders. Because of its high quality, it has been used for broadcast television as well as amateur video recording. JVC was the first company to release a HDV camcorder in 2003, with Sony and Canon producing camcorders later.

HDV video can be recorded at 720p and 1080p, sometimes referred to as HDV1 and HDV2 respectively.

Although special HDV tapes are available, their use was not required as the tape formulation (Metal Evaporate) is the same as standard MiniDV cassettes. One Sony camera could also use the large DV cassette format. HDV devices could usually play and record in DV format as well as HDV.

Accessories were available to allow HDV camcorders to record to non-tape media such as CompactFlash cards.

By 2011, Canon, JVC and Sony had discontinued their HDV products, and invested instead in fully tapeless formats such as XDCAM.

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D-VHS (1998 – 2007)

D-VHS was a later variant of VHS that recorded digitally, and was introduced in 1998. It was developed by the originator of VHS, JVC, along with Hitachi, Matsushita, and Philips.

D-VHS used MPEG recording, and could record in standard or high-definition.  There were several different recording speeds available, so a tape could have a variety of different capacities, for example a DF-300 tape that could hold 300 minutes at standard speed, could hold as much as 2100 minutes (35 hours) at LS7 (low speed, one seventh of the standard speed) if the machine was capable of using the very slowest speed. High-definition recordings reduced the capacity of the tape by half. Standard speed recordings had a higher bandwidth than DVD.

D-VHS tapes had a second hole on their underside that identified them to the recorder as being D-VHS tapes, and to record in D-VHS mode. Where the hole was missing, the machine would record in VHS or S-VHS format. VHS and S-VHS tapes could be played in the machine.

Unfortunately, sales of D-VHS recorders were poor, and so the price of them never fell greatly.

In 2002, a small number of pre-recorded D-VHS tapes were released under the D-Theater brand by four film-studios. However, despite being virtually identical to D-VHS, D-Theater tapes could only be played on D-VHS players with the D-Theater logo. D-Theater did provide much better video quality than DVD, at a time when high-definition formats such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were yet to be introduced.

The last D-Theater title was released in 2004, but D-VHS recorders were listed on the JVC website until 2007.

Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable (BD-RE) (2006 – )

Blu-ray Disc Recordable Erasable (BD-RE) is a high-capacity optical disc that can be erased and re-recorded multiple times, and is a type of Blu-ray Disc that can be read in all Blu-ray Disc drives. The similar BD-R discs can only be written to once.

BD-RE drives can be found in computers and personal video recorders (PVRs).

Disc capacities are 25 GB for single-layer discs, 50 GB for double-layer discs, 100 GB for triple-layer, and 128 GB for quadruple-layer.

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Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BD-R) (2006 – )

Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BD-R) is a write-once high-capacity optical disc, and a type of Blu-ray Disc that can be read in all Blu-ray Disc drives. The similar BD-RE is a rewritable version.

BD-R drives can be found in computers and personal video recorders (PVRs).

Disc capacities are 25 GB for single-layer discs, 50 GB for double-layer discs, 100 GB for triple-layer, and 128 GB for quadruple-layer.

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HDCAM (1997 -2016)

HDCAM was a professional high-definition digital video cassette format, introduced by Sony in 1997. No other tape-based HD broadcast format was around at the time, and it quickly became clear that one was needed for high-definition television to succeed.

Like other Betacam-related formats, HDCAM cassettes were available in large and small sizes with the same tape lengths as Digital Betacam (up to 40 minutes for S and 124 minutes for L tapes). Sony HDCAM tapes were black with an orange lid. HDCAM had a bit rate of 144 Mbps, which was a 50% increase over Digital Betacam.

Its main competitor was Panasonic’s DVCPRO HD that uses a similar compression scheme.

HDCAM SR (Superior Resolution) was introduced in 2003 and used higher particle density tape allowing an increased bit rate (a choice or 440 or 880 Mbps).

In 2016, Sony announced that it was ceasing production of its remaining ½-inch video tape recorders and players, including those for the HDCAM and HDCAM SR formats.

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Blu-ray Disc (2006 – )

Blu-ray Disc is an optical disk format for high-definition video. The standard was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (a consortium of companies, including Sony) and was released in 2006.

The discs themselves are the same size as DVD (120mm), but are capable of storing 25 GB per layer, with dual-layer discs being the industry standard for movies on Blu-ray Disc. Mini Blu-ray Discs (80mm) are also available, similar to MiniDVD.

Information is stored at a much higher density than DVD due to the use of blue lasers.

From its introduction until 2008, Blu-ray competed with HD-DVD, which was launched a few months prior to Blu-ray. By as early as January 2007, Blu-ray was outselling HD-DVD, helped by Sony including Blu-ray Disc support in the PlayStation 3.

As well as motion pictures, Blu-ray is used for distributing games for consoles such the Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, and the Xbox One, and recordable (BD-R) and rewritable versions (BD-RE) are also available for data or video storage. In 2013, High Fidelity Pure Audio was launched, using audio-only Blu-ray Discs.

Blu-ray Disc titles usually ship in packages similar to but slightly smaller than a standard DVD case, with the format prominently displayed across the top of the case. Some Blu-ray Discs come packaged with a DVD version of the film, as well as digital copies that can be played on computers.

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D5 / D5 HD (1994 – late 2000s)

D5 was a professional digital video format introduced by Panasonic in 1994. Like Sony’s D1, it was an uncompressed digital system, but used the same ½-inch tapes as Panasonic’s digital composite D3 video.

Recording in D5 mode on a D3 tape provided half the capacity, so a 120 minute D3 tape gave 60 minutes.

D5 HD was a high-definition system that used the same tapes as D5, and was also released in 1994. D5 HD video was compressed to save bandwidth.

D5 tapes were available in three sizes, S, M and L. S tapes provided up to 23 minutes in D5/D5 HD mode, M tapes provided up to 63 minutes, and L tapes provided up to 94 minutes.

D5 HD competed with Sony’s HDCAM and Panasonic’s own DVCPRO HD formats, and by 2010 Panasonic has stopped producing D5 camcorders.

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HD DVD (2006 – 2008)

HD DVD was an optical disk format for high-definition video, and for data. Principally supported by Toshiba, it was envisioned as the successor to DVD.

Prior to HD DVD and its competitor Blu-ray, there was no easy way for consumers to playback high-definition content other than unpopular formats such as D-VHS / D-Theater. Sony and Philips, along with Pioneer, developed the Blu-ray disc using shorter wavelength blue-lasers, but the DVD Forum announced in 2002 it wanted to pursue a competing blue-laser format, and adopted the Advanced Optical Disc from Pioneer and NEC (later renamed HD DVD).

HD DVD was launched in 2006 with players and films from major studios such as Warner Home Video and Universal Studios. In 2007, HD DVD recorders were released in Japan.

HD DVD discs have a single-layer capacity of 15 GB, and dual-layer capacity of 30 GB. HD DVD players are backward compatible with DVD and CD. There was also a hybrid HD DVD format which contained both DVD and HD DVD versions of the same movie on a single disc, and there were also some hybrid players that could play both HD DVD and Blu-ray disc.

As well as dedicated players, HD DVD drives were available for PCs and for the Xbox 360 game console. Recordable HD DVD discs were available in the form of HD DVD-R and HD DVD-RW.

In early 2008, Toshiba abandoned the format and HD DVD Promotion Group was disbanded after major content manufacturers and key retailers began withdrawing their support for the format in favour of Blu-ray. Around one million dedicated HD DVD players had been sold.

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D-Theater (2002 – 2004)

D-Theater was a short-lived digital video cassette format for playback of movies in high-definition.

It is based on the D-VHS (Digital VHS) format, and is effectively a pre-recorded version of it. However, D-Theater is incompatible with D-VHS decks without the D-Theater logo. It was introduced in 2002 and supported by four film-studios, as it provided much better video quality than DVD, at a time when Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were yet to be introduced.

The last film available on D-Theater was ‘I, Robot’ in 2004.

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