Browse Definitions:

VHS (Video Home System)

Contributor(s): Vern Piantanida

VHS (Video Home System) is a widely-adopted videocassette recording ( VCR ) technology that was developed by Japan Victor Company (JVC) and put on the market in 1976. It uses magnetic tape 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) in width. Originally, the abbreviation VHS stood for Vertical Helical Scan, and was later changed as the technology gained in popularity.

VHS is used by home consumers, and also to a limited extent in television (TV) production. Some professional production studios prefer Betamax , a less common VCR technology for which equipment is no longer manufactured, because some engineers believe that Betamax offers better image quality than VHS. The Betamax tape takes a more direct path through the recording and playback apparatus, so the recording and playback operations are faster and more convenient. However, less wear occurs on a VHS tape as compared with Betamax, so VHS cassettes tend to last longer. Also, VHS cassettes have more capacity (in terms of recording time) than Betamax cassettes.

There are several variants of the VHS technology. The original standard provides image resolution comparable with that of conventional analog TV. The most advanced version, called digital VHS ( D-VHS ), allows for the recording and reproduction of digital high-definition television ( HDTV ) programming. Some VHS cassettes can also record computer data for archiving purposes.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the VHS and Betamax formats became competitive, and ultimately, for complex legal reasons, VHS captured the home video recording and reproduction market. By 1993, Betamax was essentially obsolete among consumers in the United States. In recent years, the use of cassette tapes for video recording and reproduction has become less common because of the widespread availability and popularity of DVD technology.

This was last updated in March 2011

Continue Reading About VHS (Video Home System)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.