The Tape Goes on and on and on
Homer, Steve, The Independent (London, England)
A digital videotape format that will allow users to record up to 49 hours on one VHS tape has been announced by JVC. The system can also record six programmes simultaneously. JVC also suggests this technology could be used for computer multimedia applications, including games. Video recorders based on the technology should be available in the United States towards the end of next year.
Called Data-VHS, the system builds on existing VHS technology and requires only minor changes to the basic VHS set-up. Even the tape is the same as for S-VHS, the up-market version of VHS. Speaking in Japan, Hiroki Shimizu, general manager audio and video, said that the additional technology required for a D-VHS recorder would add some pounds 250 to the cost of a standard VHS machine. That cost should drop rapidly if the system takes off.
At present, however, JVC proposes to use this technology only in a "bit stream" format. Here digital data will be stored on the tape and read off again in exactly the way it was recorded. This will be useless for today's TV transmissions.
To record video, you will need to be able to take a digital TV data stream, store it and then decode it through the digital TV decoder. So far the only place with a fully operational digital TV system is the United States. There, the digital satellite receiver would tune in to the desired channel and send the output to the video recorder, which would then store the programme you wanted to keep. …