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Full-size VHS tapes (left) and compact VHS-C tapes (right)

VHS means Video Home System. This system uses a videocassette tape to record video and sound, which can be watched on a television. A DVD/VHS combo can record(write) on VHS tapes, read off VHS tapes, and additionally, read from DVD discs. A few can also record on DVD. VHS was so popular that during the 1990s, the terms "video cassette", "video tape", or even just "video" usually referred to the VHS format.

VHS cassettes can be recorded using a video camera. They can also be recorded with a video cassette recorder, or VCR. A VCR can use a VHS cassette to record broadcast television.

This system was created in 1976 by the Victor Company of Japan (also called JVC). VHS was a very popular way for people to record and play video at home in the 1980s and 1990s, but now DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) and Blu-ray have become more popular as they can be easier to use, the quality is higher, they last longer, and the discs and players are cheaper to make. Pre-recorded VHS movies are no longer made, except for a few independent films, but blank VHS tapes and VHS VCRs are still made.

Format war

In the 1980s, VHS was involved in a format war with Betamax. VHS won the format war. Betacam, a variant of Betamax designed specifically for professional camcorders, did become popular in television studios. S-VHS was also in a format war with Laserdisc. Neither format became popular and the DVD eventually replaced both formats.


  • VHS HI-FI adds stereo sound to VHS. It is backward compatible with standard VHS. A VCR without HI-FI capability will simply play the tape in mono.
  • VHS-C is a smaller version of the VHS cassette. It was typically used in camcorders. The tape inside is the same as in a full-size VHS cassette. A VHS-C cassette can be played and recorded in a full-size VHS VCR with an adapter.
  • Super VHS (S-VHS) is an improved version of VHS with a higher-quality picture. It is not backward-compatible with standard VHS.
  • D-VHS (Data VHS or Digital VHS) is a digital variant that can record in high definition 720p or 1080i.