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!