Format Facts

Audio Formats


The compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony to store and play digital audio recordings. In August 1982, the first compact disc was manufactured. It was then released in October 1982. Can hold up to 80 minutes of content.

LP / Vinyl Record

One of the earlier recording mediums as it was developed in the late 1800s -Could be played at various speeds, still popular to this day. Can hold up to 52 minutes of content.

Audio Cassette

Format developed by Phillips and released in 1963-1964 -Most popular audio recording medium for consumers until the development of CDs Can hold up to 90 minutes of content.


Introduced by Olympus in 1969 -Smaller than a standard audio cassette -Typically used for voice recordings and home answering machines. Can hold up to 90 minutes of content.

Reel to Reel

Developed in the 1940s - Can be recorded and played at various speeds.

8 Track

Popular from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. The main advantage of the 8-track tape cartridge is that it does not have to be "flipped over" to play the alternative set of tracks. Can hold up to 80 minutes of content.

Video Formats


The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage format invented and developed in 1995 and released in late 1996. The medium can store any kind of digital data and was widely used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players. Can hold up to 8 hours of content depending on quality.


DVD disc having 8 cm (3 in.) in diameter. Recordable 8 cm discs are commonly used in DVD-based camcorders. Depending on variant, these discs can offer up to 5.2 GB of storage space.


MicroMV was a proprietary videotape format introduced in 2001 by Sony. -Physically the smallest of all video tape formats, 70% smaller than a MiniDV cassette. Can hold up to 60 minutes of content.


Released in 1998 as part of joint efforts of leading producers of video camera recorders. Recorded in digital (DV) same as Digital8. Tapes could hold 1hr SP, 90min EP




Developed through the 80s and 90s. Most popular consumer camcorder tapes through the 90s due to small form factor and higher quality than that of the VHS. Can hold up to 2 hours of content.


Released by JVC in 1982 as a compact VHS. -The format is based on the same videotape as is used in VHS, and can be played back in a standard VHS VCR with an adapter. Can hold up to 2 hours of content


Developed by JVC and introduced in 1976. -During the late part of the 1970s and the early 1980s, the home video industry was involved in the VHS vs. Betamax war, which VHS would eventually win. Can hold up to 6 hours of content


Developed by Sony, released on May 10, 1975. -Although generally considered the superior quality tape, Betamax lost the format war to VHS in the 80s.



Developed by Sony, released in 1971 as a professional video tape format. -It was among the first video formats to contain the videotape inside a cassette, as opposed to the various open-reel formats of the time.


Developed by Sony in 1982. -The format supplanted the three-quarter inch U-Matic format, which Sony had introduced in 1971

Reel to Reel Film

It exists in three main versions – the original standard 8 mm film, also known as regular 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm. Although both standard 8mm and Super 8 are 8mm wide, Super 8 has a larger image area because of its smaller and more widely spaced perforations. Also sound recording is only found on Super 8 and 16mm and can be recorded optically or magnetically. Can be up to 4 seconds of content per foot of tape.