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Happy Thirtieth Birthday to the VHS Video Format


October 10, 2006

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October 11, 2006 Monday October 9 marked the thirtieth birthday of VHS Video, the videotape format that won the battle with Sony’s Betamax to become the global defacto standard for home video recording and has sold 900 million tape decks to date. Through the ability to view television programs at a later time or date, VHS video greatly enhanced the freedom of lifestyle for consumers. In addition, the technology made it possible for consumers to view movies in the home as well as shoot video and communicate with each other using camcorders. VHS video technology had a major impact on many fields including the electronics industry and the visual entertainment industry starting with the movie industry. It also had a major impact on education and the arts. The day saw Victor Company of Japan (JVC) awarded a prestigious IEEE milestone for development of the VHS Video, having released the first commercial VHS Deck (pictured) on October 9, 1976. IEEE Milestones honour achievements in electrical, electronic and computer engineering, singling out those achievements that have had a significant social and historical impact.

Since the IEEE Milestones program was established in 1983, over 70 Milestones have been awarded around the world. Products equipped with VHS technology continue to be an integral part of manufacturers’ product lineups, including products such as three in one HDD/DVD/VHS recorders.

The commemorative plaque designating the IEEE Milestone award will be permanently displayed at JVC’s Techno Wing technology and product development centre.

First commercial VHS video deck released in 1976, shown with IEEE Milestone plaque JVC developed the VHS video standard through a demanding quest to meet the future needs of home VTR applications. Prerequisites included long recording times, compact size, light weight, standards compatibility and ease of manufacture. VHS video was embraced by a broad base of consumers across the world, eventually establishing a position as a global de facto standard.

Even today, manufacturing licenses for VHS video technology continue to be in high demand as evidence of the format’s deep-rooted base. The demand centers on the recording and playback features of VHS video, which has extensive penetration in households across the globe, and the need to reproduce the massive array of VHS video assets that have been accumulated to date.

VHS video technology also opened the doors to portable video and video shooting utilizing camcorders. The modern market for home cinema owes its legacy to VHS video, relying today on new forms of media such as hard disks and DVDs.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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