Thirty years ago, DVD service would have been looked on with some confusion! Camcorders did not even appear in consumers' homes until the early 1980s. Prior to that, VHS and Betamax did exist, but were primarily used by professionals. In addition, "camcorders" came in two halves: A video camera and a VCR unit. Yes, you had to lug around both in order to video tape!
In 1982, however, JVC developed the VHS-C format and Sony released the Betacam professional camcorder (with the consumer-oriented Betamax Betamovie camera to follow a year later). To compete with Sony's developments, JVC introduced the VHS-C camcorder, which became popular with consumers due to its small size and adapter-based compatibility with VHS VCRs. (Later, JVC also released full-size VHS video cameras, which became the basis for our VHS to DVD service.)
Unfortunately, Betamax was already slowly losing the infamous VHS format war. So, not to be outdone, Sony redesigned its Betamovie as the Video8/8mm format, which featured a longer tape time than VHS-C. By the early 1990s, both camcorder formats improved and mutated into the Hi8 and S-VHS-C formats.
But it wasn't until Mini DV came along in the late 1990s that consumer tape formats took another serious leap forward. Not only was the quality vastly improved due to the digital technology, but Mini DV tapes were also half the size of the VHS-C or 8mm cassette shell. A competing format, Digital 8, featured similar quality but was too similar to traditional Video 8 for consumers.
Today, Mini DV is still the champ of consumer recording quality (and looks especially great after a Mini DV to DVD transfer!). But other formats, far different from their tape-based predecessors, have become popular as well. These include Flash-based media, hard drive camcorders, and Mini DVD.
Confused about which format you have? No worries. The links above are simply provided as additional information regarding the history and features of each tape format. We do not require you to know what type of tape you are providing when you send in an order. We've seen them all, so we'll know what you have!