For close to a century, television has been the most successful medium of entertainment industry, especially since it replaced radio as the most popular media outlet.
It made broadcasting faster and more effective due to its audio-visual appeal. For the first time, many people could watch events as they were been reported.
In the late 1970s, a device called the Videocassette Recorder (VCR) found its way into the market worldwide. It was revolutionary.
Nobody felt withheld by television schedule when it came to watching their favorite movies and series. Instead of waiting for the next episode, or a rerun if anyone missed an episode, they could easily go bring a copy of the TV program into their homes.
With the specifics of a VHS, people could watch long-running episodes. It was the first widely used technology in broadcast and it changed the entertainment industry with the sudden coming of home videos.
It is not an openly admitted or discussed occurrence, but the close-knitted timing of their appearance in television scene has brought about the question of which was which and what device did what. Is there even any difference?
We will be attending to that in this read.
Video Home System (VHS)
VHS stands for Video Home System. It is a recording format developed in 1977 by JVC (Victor Company of Japan), an electronics corporation in Yokohama, Japan.
Coming after the Betamax in 1976, it was designed to be more compact, and intricately designed unlike, an upgrade of sorts from Betamax. A Video Home System is an analog magnetic tape format known for its tape width, which is half an inch.
It was released in the US in August, 1977. It was originally Vertical Helical Scan, and was later changed to its present meaning as the technology became more popular.
Since the 1950s, magnetic tape-powered video recording was the in thing in the television industry. The first contributions noted were from the video tape recorders (VTR). The VTRs were a tape recorder popularly used in television studios.
They served as a substitute for motion picture film stock. With VTRs, the production of content (recording) for television applications were cheaper and faster. Around the 1970s, the videotape became popularly used in homes, thus changing how people consumed entertainment.
This development led to a change in the economics of movie business and television.
But somewhere in the market, there was a slight divide: the television industry saw VCRs as a potential hazard to their business, but the television users viewed the VCR as a means to having a say over their viewing experience.
This wasn’t the only the only disagreement as there was a video tape format war in the 80s. It was a battle of the compatible; a battle to see which technology was superior.
It mainly involved the Betamax and VHS systems, giving them the most media attention, with the latter emerging victorious. It became the dominant format throughout the era of tape video. Durability of the VHS played a key role in this victory.
Then, many professional studios had little use for VHS as Betamax, a less popular technology by Sony, was better equipped with features that enhance image quality. A Betamax tape takes a direct path through the recording and playback.
This makes the recording and playback options easier. However, VHS tapes boast of less wear in comparison as well as capacity?it has a recording time of 210 minutes in Standard Play mode (SP), a minimum of 60 minutes with a maximum of 540 in Extended play (EP), and 40 to 360 minutes in Long Play modes. It is at its best quality in SP mode and its lowest in EP mode.
Over the years, several variants of the VHS technology surfaced. The original standard provides the quality of image resolution that is similar to that of conventional analog TV.
Digital VHS ( D-VHS ), the most advanced version, enables recording and reproduction of high-definition television ( HDTV ) programming. Some VHS cassettes are capable of recording computer data and archiving them, so they do not get lost.
Key VHS Features
These features work hand in hand. A film is made up of four parts; magnetic oxides, topcoat, polyester, and the antistatic carbon back.
The magnetic oxides are used to enable the direction of the film; the topcoat is the uppermost layer of the film; the polyester is what the film is made of; antistatic carbon primarily protects it from unkind weather conditions
The Recorder Head functions with the magnetic oxides. It introduces waves to the oxides in the film. The Video Heads are usually in a Helical-scan drum. They stand at 180 degrees apart on the drum as each head records one of the films in the frame.
One of them supplies the scant pin, and the other takes it up. In that way, the heads read the tape. They work with the magnetic oxides (of the film), which help them influence the movement till an image comes out.
The Audio and Control-track Head picks up the sound produced, it does the job of video heads, but the end result is sound.
Videocasette Recorder (VCR)
A videocassette recorder is an electromechanical device that plays and records analog video and analog tapes that are preloaded onto cassettes, unlike the older videotape recorder, which depended on reel-to-reel tapes.
A videocassette recorder plays back a prerecorded program at a more convenient time in a process called time shifting.
In the 1980s, while the format war between VHS and Betamax raged on in the market and board meetings, prerecorded videotapes were widely sold and rented out. Empty tapes were also sold to people who wanted to make their own recordings.
Most VCRs used at home are bought with a tuner? a tuner receives television broadcast signals? which aids TV reception, and a timer which automatically starts it ends a recording depending on the time set by the absent user.
With these features, several programs could be recorded at different times without further user involvement, and it became the major reason people purchased it.
Heads: In VCRs, the number of heads on a tape is essential to the manufacturer’s desired effect. There are four heads, and at least two are adequate for video and audio registration. One is needed, one for audio (mono). With three video heads on the head drum, still pictures can be recorded and viewed without distortion or slow motion.
Despite two been required for video-audio registration, there is still a chance distortion lines will pop up on the screen. But with three heads, the Image is sure to be static and without distortions.
In addition to still picture and smooth motion, the four video heads offer you a choice between the 2-hour Standard Play and 6-hour Long Play. It designs recording quality that is best for SP and LP.
Running for 120 minutes is Standard Play (SP), the cassette’s usual running time. With Long Play, you are at liberty to double the recording time.
The video heads write tracks that are half as wide as in the case of standard play. The narrower paths indicates that there is fewer data kept on the tape, which is bound to result in lower quality. Four-head VCRs will always deliver the best quality.
Even for Hi-fi stereo audio recording, audio heads are to be positioned on the head drum in addition to one separate audio head for mono.
Flying Erase Head: This is a feature that may be found in high-quality VCRs as well as some broadcast-grade level to edit videos cleanly. In addition to the different erase heads present in the VCR, this feature is an erase head that is positioned on the head drum like the video and hi-fi audio heads. The main benefit of the flying erase head is that it provides for more impressive editing compared to the others. When the video tracks go in the diagonal direction, the flying eraser head follows it in that same direction. This is different from the regular erase heads which follow information vertically.
There is no visible distortion because there is no remainder of the old signal, which is liable to cause distortion. This is because erase heads erase an old signal right before the video heads write onto the tape. The end result is a clean edit.
Auto Head Sensor: This feature not only enables you to keep watch over the cleanliness of your heads, it automatically activates a head cleaning roller right before playback every time a tape is inserted. Seeing that you do not know where a rental tape has been or what dirt it carries, it is a win having a head sensor that supervises the condition of your video heads and alerts you whenever it needs attention and cleaning.
Digital Tracking and Image Correction: Sometimes, when a rental tape is spinning in your VCR, you see unstable noise bars at either the top of the bottom or through the picture. This is the reason why tracking controls are a necessity for VCRs.
Picture improvements are largely made by a digital image correction system.
How digital tracking works: every image that is transmitted by the video recorder is first sent to a memory before it is ready for the screen. While in the memory, the incoming image is compared with the previous image. If any oddities such as shaky pictures or distorted lines are discovered, they are promptly corrected. Digital tracking does the job of refining the rough edges that are discovered when two images are compared to produce one image of good quality.
The digital image memory offers still playback images and a perfect, stable picture-by-picture reproduction, with interval options ranging from one to many seconds.
When a tape is played back on a device different from the one it was recorded on, there are usually timing and speed differences that are to be compensated for.
Other features include
Illuminated Remote system: a recent innovation for the VCR remote that allows you to operate it in the dark; auto rewind that begins automatically at the end of a tape. In this case, the tape is not ejected, and the VCR remains on.
Multi-purpose remote: Also known as “Multibrand remote” (MBR), it is a remote that allows you to control your VCR, television set, and cable box, helping you avoid a messy side stool and disorganization in looking for other remotes.
So, where Is The Difference?
There isn’t much difference between the two, as one is a device in which the other is played.
Like its name implies, a videocassette recorder runs is a machine?a video player.
It is a device that uses cassette tapes to record a video. These tapes could be of any format: Betamax, DV recorder, VHS recorder, or a VHS tape, but they have to be of some type.
This is because many of these tapes are not suitable matches with the VCR. In the 1980s, among the few suitable formats were Sony’s Betamax and VHS, with the latter winning the format war.
A VHS, on the other hand, is a videotape format that requires a VCR to work. VHS as a format is sometimes referred to as a VCR tape or videocassette, and so they are used interchangeably.
With the coming of compact discs and DVDs, VHS and VCRs began to die out. They were smaller, flatter, could fit into books, and were more portable.
They also had longer running time, and an owner did not have to worry about how the weather might affect the movie in their disc. Now Netflix, YouTube, and the likes are here.
You don’t even need to move a muscle to watch your movies because you can easily download them. With every technological upgrade, the previous one begins to fade out, and home videos faded more than a decade ago. However, this does not mean you can not still get them.
You can even watch home videos provided you get an excellent old VCR player in some stores?you would be surprised at how many still have them. All the motivation you need is to feel nostalgic enough.