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Hi8 vs Digital8: Difference Between Hi8 and Digital8 Explained

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Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:30 am

Are you looking to play your 8mm tapes and are wondering whether to buy a Hi8 or Digital8 camcorder or tape player.

If you’re, you must surely want to know the difference between Hi8 and Digital8.

Knowing the similarities and differences between these two 8mm video formats will help you decide which of the two camcorder formats you should buy.

The same goes if you’re planning to buy a Hi8 tape player or a Digital8 tape player.

It is important to know the difference between Hi8 and Digital8 so that you can play whatever 8mm tapes you have in your collection.

Here are some important facts you should take note of on the two formats and understand the difference between Hi8 and Digital8.


Hi8 has a resolution of 400 lines, similar to S-VHS.

Digital8 has a resolution of 500 lines, the same amount as the mini-DV format.

AV Connections

AV connections on the Hi8 and Digital8 camcorders allow you to connect them to your TV or a capture device.

Hi8 camcorders and tape players come with RCA (composite) and S-Video connections.

If the RCA ports are used, then the video will be displayed at 240 lines.

It’s the S-Video port that allows a Hi8 camcorder to display 400 lines on the TV.

Digital8 offers RCA, S-Video, and DV connections.

The DV connection offers a resolution of 500 lines.

You can’t make a DV connection directly to a TV. You can only use the DV connection through a Firewire cable.

And that connection has to be made through a computer via a capture device. You may also make a connection between a mini-DV camcorder and a Digital8 camcorder to make a copy of a tape.

The copy of the tape made will be of lossless quality. In other words, there will be no generation loss when a Digital8 or mini-DV tape is copied to another of its kind through a Firewire connection.

Recording and Playback

This is an important area to consider, especially the playback part. While you may not record video with a Hi8 or Digital8 camera, you would certainly want to use it to play back tapes accumulated over the years.

Hi8 Playback

With a Hi8 camcorder or tape player, you can play Video8 and Hi8 tapes. You can’t play back Digital8 tapes.

Digital8 Playback

With a Digital8 camcorder or a tape player, you can play Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 tapes, generally speaking.

Take note, however, that some Digital8 camcorders will not play Hi8 or Video8 tapes. They will only play Digital8 tapes.

Which to Buy? Digital8 Camcorder/Player or Hi8 Camcorder/Player?

If you have only Video8 or Hi8 tapes, then you should opt for a Hi8 camcorder or video cassette recorder.


For a quick recap of the difference between Hi8 and Digital8, watch the video below.


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