Skip links

The History of VHS: How It Came to Be and How It Works

The History of VHS: How It Came to Be and How It Works

The development of television and video media is so fascinating that we tend to forget how it started. There are video formats no longer in use that the younger generation has no idea about at all. Still, these formats play an essential role because much is still stored on such media. 

One particular and popular format is the VHS. If you’re a millennial or older, you likely have fond memories of this. The VHS tape dominated the home movie market for almost three decades, and some can still remember watching their favorite Disney movies on VHS every Saturday. So if you’re curious about VHS, here’s some comprehensive information about how VHS works: 

What is VHS?

VHS stands for Video Home System which uses videocassette recorder (VCR) technology that uses magnetic tape. VHS tapes are commonly used for personal recordings and—to a limited extent—television production. It offers longer playing, and the players are less expensive and easier to use than Betamax, another video format. 

VHS took 40% of the business away from Betamax, and it garnered evident success over its competition because it became the standard for entertainment and training. Some VHS cassettes can also record computer data for archiving purposes. 

When did VHS start? 

VHS was developed by the Japan Victor Company (JVC) in the early 1970s and entered the market on September 9, 1976. The proliferation of VHS was more apparent in 1985 when the US sold an estimated 11.5 million VCRs. 

By 1987, about 90% of the $5.25 billion VCR market in the US used the VHS format. By 1999, consumers spent 12.2 billion on VHS rentals and purchases. The highlight of the VHS history happened in 2002, 12 years before it officially became obsolete—Blockbuster had more than 2,800 stores worldwide, dominating the home video rental market. 

What are the features of VHS?

The success of VHS in television development was brought by its excellent features. It became ideal because it can store family memories and allowed people to relive significant events in the past. Aside from this, VHS also had other incredible features, like:

  • Handy tracking button and picture quality – VHS tapes sometimes presented tracking problems, but the handy tracking button on a VCR typically resolved the issue. 
  • Affordability – When VCRs were introduced in 1975, the average machine only cost between $1,000 and $1,400. By 1985, you could buy a much better VCR for $200 to $400 with remote control, freeze frame, search, and other nifty features.
  • Easy maintenance – Since people were interested in fixing complex mechanisms, some people actually enjoyed using head cleaning tapes or opening up the VCR to manually clean the heads with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. That said, VHS is easy to maintain since people can do it even without complicated tools or skills. 
  • Versatility – VHS tapes can record video and audio and can be watched on television. While VHS cassettes can be recorded using a video camera or a video cassette recorder (VCR). A VCR can also use a VHS cassette to record broadcast television. 


The VHS format was an American home essential for many years. It became a groundbreaking development and a necessary tool for families to store and record memories. Although VHS made history, we cannot deny that converting VHS to DVD is better and ideal right now so we can better preserve our memories. 

Why not go to the nearest VHS converter shop in Massachusetts and preserve the memories in VHS tapes? Converting VHS to DVD is a company that provides easy conversion of VHS movies to DVD format. After conversion, your result will be a fantastic, easy-to-ship product that you can distribute to your relatives and extended family. Contact us and convert to DVD now!