Video Home System

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What Does Video Home System Mean?

Video Home System (VHS) was a storage media standard used for analog recording and distribution of media through magnetic videotape cassettes. VHS was developed by Japan Victor Company (JVC) in the early 1970s and went to market in 1976. VHS competed with Sony’s Betamax, another videotape format, but eventually won over the consumer market because it was more durable and could store more data.

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Techopedia Explains Video Home System

Video Home System made use of 1/2-inch magnetic tape encased in a plastic case, usually black in color, sized 187 mm × 103 mm × 25 mm. It featured a flip cover that protected the tape when not in use, and in order for the player to know that the tape was nearing the end, the tape featured a clear trailing portion where light could show through when it reached that portion of the tape onto a photodiode at the opposite end, telling the player to stop rolling the tape. Advanced players would even rewind the tape when they detected the clear portion of the tape.

VHS was developed as an open standard as opposed to Sony’s Betamax, which was proprietary. Betamax actually came to market first, and Sony was marketing it to be the only standard on the market by making the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) declare it as such, but JVC believed that an open standard would benefit the manufacturers and consumers more. JVC sought the help of Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Sharp and Hitachi to support the VHS standard, and seeing that the one-hour recording limit on the Betamax was a disadvantage, the companies supported VHS, eventually leading to its victory in the late 1980s in Japan and the early 1990s for the rest of the world.

VHS was used for the distribution of visual media as well as for recording on-air television using the video cassette recorder (VCR) at home, and it was even widely used as the storage device for most consumer- and professional-grade video cameras. It was eventually made obsolete by the CD and DVD formats.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.