A videotape format can be defined as a magnetic pattern of information that is used to record a video and audio signal onto magnetic tape. The tape can be “played back” using a machine that specifically conforms to the magnetic pattern. Characteristics such as tape speed, width and placement of the video tracks, audio tracks and the type of signal recorded on the tape all distinguish one format from another.
The VidiPax Videotape Format Guide is a survey of all NTSC videotape formats commercially introduced since 1956. It is intended as a reference tool and is not meant to be all encompassing but rather a “real world” survey of our recording heritage.
The online format guide is broken down into two parts. Video Backup Characteristics breaks down the various characteristics of each format. Videotape Format Descriptions gives a brief description and picture of each. When scrolling through the format characteristics, click on the format name and you will also be able to read the description. By using the select menu you can find a specific format description.