Video8 (1985 – 2000s)

Video8 was an analogue video tape cassette format using 8mm tape, designed primarily for use in camcorders such as the Sony Handycam line introduced by Sony in 1985.

The horizontal resolution of Video8 was 240 lines, the same as VHS, but in terms of audio quality, Video8 comfortably outperformed non-HiFi VHS or Betamax.

It performed well in the camcorder market, despite competition from VHS-C which had the advantage of being playable on VHS machines with an adaptor. Video8 had an advantage in terms of time, because although VHS-C offered the same ‘palmcorder’ size as Video8, the VHS-C tapes only held up to 60 minutes (in SP mode) compared to Video8’s 120 minutes.

A better quality version of Video8, Hi8, was introduced in 1989, and a digital version, Digital8 was introduced in 1999.

Collectively, Video8 and its successors, and VHS-C dominated the camcorder market for almost two decades before they were eventually crowded out by digital formats, such as MiniDV and 8cm DVD.

Video8 was also used for prerecorded content, and home video recorders using Video8 tapes were available for a time, but it was not successful. Video8 had some success as a format for in-flight movie playback on airlines, and even now some airlines still use Video8 for in-flight movies, but this is being phased out.

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