VOTD: Is VHS Tape Quality As Bad As We Remember?

VHS Tape Comparison Video

The format of DVD was introduced in 1995, but it wouldn’t be until the early 2000s that it began outpacing VHS in video rental establishments and outselling them in stores. DVD was leaps and bounds better than VHS, simply because the video quality was much better, and it also allowed for the presence of special features such as featurettes, gag reels, film commentary and much more. Since then, we’ve jumped to Blu-ray, though the rise in quality wasn’t quite as impressive. However, when we look back at the jump from VHS to DVD, was the video quality of the former really so bad?

A new video examination from the YouTube tech geek vlogger known as The 8-Bit Guy dives into the quality of VHS tapes, specifically with regards to movies, by comparing them to the most common high quality format we have today.

Watch the VHS tape comparison after the jump.

Back to the Future is the movie used in question, and the results of the experiment are pretty much what you expect. VHS was a pretty poor format, and it’s amazing that we tolerated it for as long as we did. Even the new, unopened, never played VHS copy of Back to the Future was poor quality, and it’s the extra part of the experiment that shows just how bad it is.

The 8-Bit Guy also took the 1080p Blu-ray, hooked it up to his computer through a composite video connection, and then recorded it to a blank tape. Then he compared that to the brand new VHS copy of Back to the Future. Amazingly, the personally recorded copy of the movie actually looks better than the professional copy that was sold by Universal. Of course, this may be because the technology being used to create the tape is more advanced today than it might have been in the 1980s, but this is still confirmation that VHS was a horrible format for cinema, but it did the job for the time it was used.

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