Video Formats

A brief history of video recording and playback, from the 1950s onward, including details of all the video formats in the Museum.

Dates of individual formats are approximate and refer to availability in the UK or Europe where known, otherwise for US or elsewhere.

1950s

The first commercially successful video tape format for broadcast use, 2-inch quadruplex (or quad), is introduced by Ampex (1956)

The BBC conducts a live demonstration of the Vision Electronic Recording Apparatus (VERA) videotape recording system it had been developing since 1952, but scraps it soon after in favour of quadruplex (1958)

1960s

Ampex 2-inch helical scan video tape (1961 – 1970)

Sony EV 1-inch open reel video tape (1964 – early 1970s)

EIAJ-1 ½-inch open reel video tape (1969 – early 1980s)

1970s

Sony launches the U-matic video format (reaching the UK in 1973), originally intended for the consumer market, but finding a market in industrial, educational and broadcast applications (1971)

Cartrivision (1972 – 1973)

EIAJ-2 (1972 – late 1970s)

V-Cord (1972 – late 1970s)

Video Cassette Recording (VCR) (1972 – 1979)

U-matic (1973 – 1990s)

U-matic S (1974 – 1990s)

Sony introduces the Betamax VCR in Japan and the US (1975)

VX (1975 – 1977)

Television Electronic Disc (TeD) (1975 – 1978)

1-inch Type B (1975 – 1980s)

JVC introduces VHS in Japan (1976)

1-inch Type C (1976 – mid 1990s)

VHS (Video Home System) (1977 – late 2000s)

Betamax (1978 – 1988)

Telefunken abandons its Television Electronic Disc (TeD) home video system in favor of VHS (1978)

Super Video Recording (SVR) (1979)

Video 2000 / Video Compact Cassette (1979 – 1988)

1980s

Compact Video Cassette (CVC) (1980 – 1983)

Capacitance Electronic Disk (CED) / SelectaVision (1981 – 1986)

Betacam (1982 – 1990s)

Compact VHS (VHS-C) (1982 – late 2000s)

Sony introduces the Betacam camcorder, the first integrated camera and video recorder, for professional use. Prior to this, video cameras were connected to a separate recorder unit (1983)

Video High Density (VHD) (1983 – 1986)

Video single (1983 – 1990s)

LaserDisc (1983 – 2001)

LaserDisc EP (1983 – 2001)

The Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (the ‘Betamax case’) is finally settled, with the US Supreme Court determining that home video recording is legal in the US.

SuperBeta (1985 – 1988)

Video8 (1985 – 2000s)

The Jewel of the Nile (1985) is the last feature film to be released on Capacitance Electronic Discs (CEDs) / SelectaVision (1986)

Compact LaserDisc (1986)

U-matic SP (1986 – late 1990s)

Betacam SP (1986 – 2001)

MII (1986 – early 1990s)

Sony introduces the first commercial digital videotape format, D1 (1987)

D1 (1987 – 1990s)

CD-Video (1987 – 1992)

S-VHS (1987 – early 2000s)

S-VHS-C (1987 – early 2000s)

Philips and Grundig end distribution of the Video 2000 home video format after losing out to VHS (1988)

D2 (1988 – 2000s)

Hi8 (1989 – 2007)

1990s

Video Single Disc (1990 – 1991)

Laser Juke (1990 – 2002)

Sony ceases production of Betamax VCRs for the US market (1993)

CD-i Digital Video (1993 – 1994)

Digital Betacam (1993 – 2016)

Video CD (1993 – 2000s)

D5 /D5 HD (1994 – late 2000s)

DVD-Video is launched in Japan (1995)

MiniDV (1995 – late 2000s)

DVCPRO (1995 – early 2010s)

Betacam SX (1996 – 2007)

DVCAM (1996 – )

DVD-Video is launched in the US (1997)

MovieCD (1997 – late 1990s)

HDCAM (1997 – 2016)

MiniDVD-R (1997 – )

DVD-Video is launched in the UK and Europe (1998)

DVD-Video (1998 – )

Interactive DVD (1998 – )

DVD-10 / double-sided DVD (1998 – )

DIVX (Digital Video Express) (1998 – 1999)

Sony Ruvi (1998 – 1999)

D-VHS (1998 – 2007)

Digital 8 (1999 – 2007)

2000s

MicroMV (2001 – 2006)

Superbit (2001 – 2007)

MPEG IMX (2001 – 2016)

Worldwide production of DVD-Video discs surpasses that of VHS tapes (2002)

Sony stops producing Betamax video cassette recorders (2002)

D-Theater (2002 – 2004)

Personal Video Disc (PVD) (2003 – 2006)

Flexplay (2003 – 2009)

HDV (2003 – 2011)

HDCAM SR (2003 – 2016)

Professional Disc (2003 – )

Nintendo Game Boy Advance Video (2004 – 2007)

Universal Media Disk (2004 – 2011)

DualDisc (2005 – 2009)

HD DVD (2006 – 2008)

Blu-ray Disc (2006 – )

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

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

Netflix launches its streaming video service (2007)

JVC, the company that invented the VHS format, ceases production of standalone VHS video cassette recorders (VCRs) (2008)

Toshiba announces it will no longer manufacture or market HD DVD players or disc drives, ending the format war with Blu-ray (2008)

Pioneer ceases production of its remaining LaserDisc players (2009)

2010s

Sony announces that it will discontinue the PlayStation Portable, the only device that used Sony’s own UMD (Universal Media Disc) optical disc that could contain video games, feature-length films, or music (2014)

Sony ceases production of Betamax cassettes (2015)

Funai Electronics, the last company to make VHS video cassette recorders, ceases production of them (2016)

Sony discontinues its remaining ½-inch professional video tape recorders, including Digital Betacam, MPEG IMX, HDCAM and HDCAM SR formats (2016)

Amazon in the UK ends its LoveFilm by Post DVD and Blu-ray disc rental service citing the decreased demand for disc rental due to streaming (2017)