D-Theater D-VHS New York City HD Video
DVDs had a competitor back in the 1990s, and it was D-VHS, a VHS-based high definition digital video recording format that was developed by JVC, Hitachi, Mitsubihi, Matsushita (Panasonic), and Philips. The video cassettes debuted in 1998 and capable of playing HD content in 1920×1080 or 1280×720 at 28.2 Mbit/s (HS speed), 720×576 (720×480) standard-definition content and bit rates from 14.1 Mbit/s down to 2.8 Mbit/s (STD, LS3, LS5 speeds).

D-Theater released several prerecorded D-VHS cassettes, like this New York City demo, beginning in 2002. Unlike standard VHS tapes, all of these have built-in copy protection mechanism (DTCP) that prevented users from copying using a FireWire connection. Unfortunately, there were very few D-VHS players available to the world market and sales were very weak to say the least. When Blu-ray and HD-DVD were both introduced in 2006, it spelled the demise of the D-VHS format for good.

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What did JVC decide to do after the demise of D-VHS? Well, they chose to use MiniDV for its digital camcorders at the time, and since then, expanded into tapeless models that recorded directly onto a hard drive. However, JVC still markets the Digital-S format for professional use, but one interesting tidbit is that Sony’s MicroMV format still uses the same codec as D-VHS. Before Blockbuster and other video rental shops closed down, you might have actually been able to find D-VHS cassettes at a few of them.

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