VHS tapes (acronym of Video Home System) were one of the standard formats of magnetic video tape used for the recording, display and mass distribution of moving images.
The development of this material took place mainly during the 60's of the last century. Around 1973, the first VHS prototype appeared in Japan. Between the mid-1970s and early 1980s, a commercial "war" took place between VHS and its direct competitor, the American Betamax. By the mid-1980s, VHS became the dominant medium, a reign that lasted until the early 2000s, when optical discs, and specifically DVDs, unseated it.
Like all magnetic media (including audio cassettes and early computer floppy disks), VHS tapes were vulnerable to magnetic radiation, and even to heat and dust, and suffered from a problem known as "magnetic migration." Even so, for almost two decades they were a terribly popular element, allowing the emergence of video clubs and access to movies on demand, the recording and distribution of television programs, and the dissemination of family-based tapes.
In 2016, Japanese company Funai, the last to manufacture VHS tapes internationally, closed its doors. With it, an important period in the history of technology came to an end, and a field of study for media archeology was inaugurated.
The audiovisual section of the CDF Archive maintains a small collection of a hundred of these items, the contents of which include educational videos and recordings of conferences. It is not the most abundant format in the CDF video collection, but it is the easiest to digitize, given the relative abundance of old players on the market.
Aa.Vv. [VHS tapes]. [Video tape]. [N.d.] : Aa.Vv., [ca1980]. [N.d.] : [n.d.] : 10 x 19 cm. DDC 508. Well preserved.
Text & picture: Edgardo Civallero (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Publication date: 1 October 2022
Last update: 1 October 2022