Remember D-Theater? That was HD on VHS tape



We’ve just posted the following news: Remember D-Theater? That was HD on VHS tape[newsimage][/newsimage]

D-Theater was a high definition video format available in the USA before the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats hit the market where the media resembled a traditional VHS tape.

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I remember seeing those machines in an American photography magazine, in the adverts from one of the big New York camera dealers.

Desperately wanted to get my hands on one, but not for HD recording. IIRC, they could record something like 29 hours of SD on a single tape - perfect for when I had to go away for a few weeks.


One thing I liked about VHS over DVD was the fact that a small area of damage wouldn’t render the entire movie unwatchable (unless the tape was torn). So, if the beginning of a movie got scuffed up, you could still watch the end. Other than that, I loved pretty much everything about DVDs. That said, since DVHS was basically MPEG-2 on VHS, I doubt DVHS would be better than DVD in that regard. After all, a tape-based digital filesystem can unreadable become just as easily as an optical digital filesystem.

Another thing I disliked about DVDs was the fact that you couldn’t play them on a VCR, nor could you play your old VHS cassettes on a DVD player (unless you had a combo player, which I never did). Unless you could play non-digital VHS tapes on a DVHS player, I doubt I would have liked the system. In my mind, I can hear my angry father cussing in frustration after having faild to get his old VHS tapes to play on a DVHS player, with me shaking my head saying “I told you to read the label on the tape.”

One thing I did like about DVDs was the fact that they could be played on things other than DVD players. The X-Box, the PS2 and any PC with a DVD drive, decoding software, and either a dedicated MPEG-2 decoder board, or a fast CPU. The latter was what made really love DVDs for the first time. That’s not something one could expect from DVHS. I later discovered a number of DVD rippers, which made it possible to back up my DVDs, something I had never even thought to do with my VHS collection.

As for archiving, I doubt DVHS was that great of a format, since tapes tend to decay over time. It can be argued that DVHS probably came with some form of error correction to lessen this issue (IDK if this is true or not), but the tape would still be unreadable sooner or latter. Since there’s probably no (legal) way to make a true 1:1 copy of the tape (once again, Hollywood stood in the way of innovation), I don’t think it would make a practical archiving solution.


I’ve still got 3(?) DVHS machines, and 200(?)HD DVHS tapes, including(I think) all of the commercially released HD titles… I played one a few months back with no issues…
The appeal to me of DVHS was that I could record HD media captured from HD sat broadcasts, which, at the time, was the ONLY way to collect HD versions of movies…


Friend had several of them when HDTV first appeared as they were the ONLY way to record a HD broadcast back then.
I think the machines were very picky and had issues a lot due to poor build quality from many of them. I did consider getting one early in my HDTV career here but used ones on eBay were usually more then I wanted to spend and tapes are hard to find.
I do have 2 SVHS decks and a 4mm Panasonic 3800 DAT deck here plus other goodies like that around like laser disk players.:iagree:


Never saw any D-VHS here, the only thing that had good picture quality back then was the SVHS, and the machines were expensive, however I remember that you could drill a hole on a VHS tape and fool the SVHS machine to think that there was an SVHS tape inside, this way you could save a lot of money.

No idea if the built quality was bad on D-VHS, but in general the built quality in the 90s and 00s went from bad to worst.
The D-VHS machine been very picky might have something to do with the formula of the tape, I know that DCC tapes were made by BASF and you needed them to be able to record, any other tape would not record on a DCC machine.
So this might be something similar on the D-VHS.


I’m currently watching my DVHS mpeg2 HD copy of “Blade Runner” using my “last best” DVHS deck.
One thing about my HD collection on DVHS, it preserves media the way it was ‘at the time’. “Blade Runner” is a great example of a movie that was revised again and again, until its difficult, maybe even impossible, to get a copy of it in HD the same as what you actually saw in person…

But I’ve got several hundred copies of HD movies in the exact form they were originally broadcast 15 or so years ago…kind of cool…

The copy of “Blade Runner” I have was originally broadcast on BS Hi, which I think was a Japanese mpeg2 HD OTA broadcaster, but even Google fails to find that specific info for me, hahaha.

I had a trading buddy, back in the day, who was collecting up all of the HDNet broadcasts of “Hogan’s Hero’s”. I’m sure his collection is pretty unique, I haven’t seen any other source for a ‘real’ HD rendering of “Hogan’s Hero’s”…

PS: How many of you can say you’ve got “Little Darlings” in HD ?hahahah


This walk down memory lane inspired me, I’m watching one of my “burned” HD DVD’s right now, “Confessions of an American Girl”, yet another of the HD titles I have on defunct media that isn’t even yet available on BD or some other “official” HD media…


Used to burn ALL my HDTV captures to AVCHD so I could play one episode at a time on my Panasonic BD10a first gen Blue Ray player. It always played them fine but it meant I have hundreds of HD dvd copies around that I finally put in a couple of big disk booklets.
I finally got a networked media so now all I do is edit the commercials and convert to the best looking but space saving format and keep them on big internal and external drives to play on my network to my setup out front, way easier and not storing disks I may never watch again.
Usually one 1 hour HDTV show would fit on one DVD disk as they could hold about 45 minutes of edited down HD video.
Been trying to make a working BD copy that old player will play so I can make season BD disks but so far not a lot of luck. Probably need a newer player I spose and a few BD-RW disk so I can experiment with settings till I find what works without wasting disks.


I have a boatload of DVHS tapes…the image quality is great.
Many of the one I recorded are at 1080i, I think, but I cannot
tell ANY difference between them and Bluray.


If there was an EASY way to transfer them to Bluray
I would do it…but being that it’s so cumbersome,
I won’t bother trying.


Unfortunately, I ALSO have many, many Laserdiscs.
They were GREAT in their day. Now, I never use them
at all. I’ve considered donating them but I doubt any
place would want them.


[QUOTE=rwb59;2783263]Unfortunately, I ALSO have many, many Laserdiscs.
They were GREAT in their day. Now, I never use them
at all. I’ve considered donating them but I doubt any
place would want them.[/QUOTE]

While not well (I guess) in the legal aspect of it, there would probably be many interested in the contents of at least the parts that never made it anywhere else but LaserDisc if you got any of these rare birds and can rip.

Just to set the records straight, it would not include me and I do not promote piracy, but I do make music available to the masses that either never saw a widespread release or otherwise is of esoteric interest. Please consider this if your collection is large… It is all about availability for anthropogiststs…