You have undoubtedly seen videotape formats come and go over your lifetime. But you may be surprised to learn just how many videotape formats there have actually been. We have posted a list below.
These are listed in approximate chronological order. All formats listed were sold to and used by broadcasters, video producers or consumers; or were important historically.
• 2″ Quadruplex videotape (Ampex 1956)
• VERA (BBC experimental format ca. 1958)
• 1″ Type A videotape (Ampex)
• 1/2″ EIAJ (1969)
• U-matic 3/4″ (Sony)
• 1/2″ Cartrivision (Avco)
• VCR, VCR-LP, SVR
• 1″ Type B videotape (Robert Bosch GmbH)
• 1″ Type C videotape (Ampex, Marconi and Sony)
• Betamax (Sony)
• VHS (JVC)
• Video 2000 (Philips)
• 2″ Helical Scan Videotape (IVC)
• 1/4″ CVC (Funai)
• Betacam (Sony)
• HDVS (Sony) • Betacam SP (Sony)
• Video8 (Sony) (1986)
• S-VHS (JVC) (1987)
• VHS-C (JVC)
• Pixelvision (Fisher-Price)
• UniHi 1/2″ HD (Sony) • Hi8 (Sony) (mid-1990s)
• W-VHS (JVC) (1994)
• Blu-ray Disc (Sony)
• China Blue High-definition Disc (CBHD)
• DVD (was Super Density Disc, DVD Forum)
• Professional Disc
• Universal Media Disc (UMD) (Sony)
For anyone interested in finding out more regarding actual video codecs, you can use the link below to access the US Library of Congress Sustainability of Digital Formats web page. The descriptions listed on this page provide information about file formats, file-format classes, bitstream structures and encodings, and the mechanisms used to compress files or bitstreams. Inclusion of a format does not imply that it is preferred or acceptable for Library of Congress collections. Conversely, omission of a format from the list does not imply that it is not preferred or acceptable. Descriptions will be drafted and added over time. (The link below will open in a new window.)
What Does This Have To Do With Life Saving?
The simple answer is that, as you can see, video formats change on a fairly regular basis. If the format your video biography or event video is stored on is suddenly discontinued, what happens to the videos that are stored on them? Would you know what to do to maintain their integrity and accessibility? And suppose you were no longer around to address the problem. Who would take on the responsibility for preserving your precious video memories so that they could be accessible for the generations of the future? Would there be anyone? This process is known as a “chain of succession”. Would you be able to create and implement such a chain of succession? And, if you could, how would you be able to ensure that this chain could continue far into the distant future?
Memories have lives of their own. These need to be protected, preserved and shared with the generations who are going to follow us. It’s a serious responsibility and one that we at VivaXtecH do not take lightly.
How many thousands of dollars have you invested in the creation of your wedding or other event video? Does it not make sense to protect this investment? Especially now that you understand the fragility of physical video formats and how fleeting the support for these video formats actually is. You may have considered uploading these precious treasures to the cloud as a means of protecting and preserving them. Have you considered how much this might cost? And if you are no longer around to continue paying for this storage, what happens then? Is there someone you could hand this responsibility, and cost, on to? Could they be trusted to maintain these recordings as diligently and lovingly as you had yourself?
Yes, there are a lot of questions to consider. Fortunately, there is an easy, and cost effective, solution.
Welcome To The PUP Program
This reality is the reason that all of our preservation services include what we call the PUP program. The PUP or “Preemptive Upgrade Protection” program is an integral element of all our long term, preservation services. When the format your material is currently preserved in begins the inevitable journey toward obsolescence, VivaXtecH automatically converts your materials to the latest and greatest audio or video format. What’s more, this process will be repeated over and over again each and every time there is a format change. And the BEST part of all this is that these periodic upgrades will not cost you or your descendants a cent. It’s like having access to a chain of succession that’s on autopilot with no ongoing costs.
When you acquire any of our preservation packages a portion of the purchase price is placed into an interest bearing trust fund. The interest generated by this fund is used to perform whatever reformats are necessary while the principal amount remains in trust and continues to generate interest until the next reformat is necessary.
This chain of PUP reformatting will ensure that your materials will continue to be accessible – and viewable – by your future descendants far into the future. Our solution is simple, forward thinking and accessible to you today.
And if you want to stay up to date on developments in the field of long term preservation and learn about new technologies and programs offered by VivaXtecH then please subscribe to our newsletter using the signup form at the top of this page.