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Before we convert VHS to DVD for you, it is interesting to note how the VHS format began. Believe it or not, videotape technology has actually been around for a very long time, long before Timeless DVD began recording VHS to DVD!

As far back as 1951, manufacturers such as RCA and Ampex were working on designs for tape recorder systems, including experiments to develop a rotating head that would read and write video information. These experiments directly led to the technology that exists in today’s VCRs, as well as the technology to transfer VHS video to DVD.

Throughout the 1950s, further developments included a deck with fixed video heads, a recorder with FM recording, and a recorder that used ½-inch tape. In 1958, the Los Angeles Rams began using a tape recorder to review the team’s performance during halftime.

Copying VHS

VHS copy

But how did we get as far as VHS to DVD transfer, really? Here is the most important development: in 1965, Sony introduced the first consumer video tape recorder. It was a reel-to-reel machine that used ½-inch wide tape on reels that were approximately 7 inches in diameter, and could record up to one hour of black and white video.

While other manufacturers developed their own versions of Sony’s machine, there was no interchangeability between decks. Finally, in 1968, a consortium set mechanical and electrical specifications for video tape recorders, to which most manufacturers began to adhere.

The first VHS copy machine that used cartridges rather than reels was designed in 1969 by Ampex. But it wasn't until 1971, when Sony introduced the U-matic ¾-inch tape format, that a commercial cassette machine became available to the public. A U-matic tape looks like a large VHS tape and can record 60–90 minutes.

Even after the rise of VHS, U-matic remained a format that was widely used throughout the 1980s and 1990s by industry, education, and government. However, the large size and cost of U-matic decks hindered the format's widespread consumer acceptance. (A U-matic deck in today’s dollars would be approximately $7,000; they are so rare that Timeless DVD does not even have one for video transfer.)

VHS Copy

The consumer market for VCRS began in earnest in 1974, when Sony developed the Betamax. The format was released to the American public in 1976. The first Betamax tapes only had one hour of running time – which became an essential sticking point in the format war. Betas became available in the United States via Zenith, Sony, Sears, and Toshiba, and are part of Timeless DVD's transfer offerings.

Despite Sony’s lobbying efforts, JVC continued to design its own proprietary system, which it called “Video Home System,” or VHS. The format received excellent publicity and was more widely accepted by video manufacturers than Betamax. Plus, it possessed a 2-hour running time, which was the most obvious difference for the average user, and enables easy VHS digital transfer for us.

VCR sales in Japan grew rapidly and soon VHS machines were available in the U.S. from Panasonic, RCA, and JVC. Although today video on DVD technology has eclipsed VHS, many homes still have VCRs. Transferring from VHS to computer has become a popular hobby in many countries.

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