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Video 2000 Tape Format: Better than VHS and Betamax?

Video 2000 Tape Format

Last updated on February 2nd, 2024 at 01:28 am

Video 2000, also known as V2000, is a Video Compact Cassette (VCC) format introduced by Philips and Grundig to rival VHS and Betamax.

It was designed to work with the PAL TV system.

As such, it was introduced in Europe, South Africa, and Argentina.

The Video 2000 tape format was used from 1979 to 1988.

Video 2000 History

Video 2000 was introduced in 1979 and, as mentioned earlier, was targeted at PAL regions.

To challenge VHS and Betamax, it boasted advantages like longer recording times (thanks to slower tape speed) and arguably clearer picture quality.

But then, it didn’t enjoy plain sailing in the home entertainment market.

Market Struggles

Despite its technical merits, Video 2000 came with the following drawbacks:

  • Higher player cost: Pricier than competitors, making it less accessible to average consumers.
  • Complex loading mechanism: Users found it less intuitive compared to VHS.
  • Limited pre-recorded content: Studio support lagged behind VHS, offering fewer movie and TV show options.
  • Format war dynamics: Video 2000 couldn’t compete against VHS, which benefitted from wider adoption and network effects, solidifying its dominance.

Main Buyers

Despite its disadvantages, Video 2000 had the following takers:

  • Early adopters were tech enthusiasts intrigued by its innovation and picture quality.
  • Some professionals appreciated its longer recording times for presentations or training videos.
  • Ultimately, the format never attracted a mainstream audience due to the factors mentioned above.

1988: Fade to Black

  • Production ceased after failing to gain significant market share.
  • VHS emerged as the clear winner, becoming the dominant format for home video until the DVD revolution.


  • Video 2000 serves as a historical reminder of how even technically sound formats can be overcome by strategic blunders, pricing disadvantages, and a lack of industry support.
  • Today, it’s mainly a niche collector’s item, a footnote in the ever-evolving landscape of video technology.

In essence, Video 2000 was a well-engineered format that arrived at the wrong time and lacked the crucial elements to win the hearts (and wallets) of consumers in the face of fierce competition.

Similarities with VHS/Betamax

The Video 2000 tape format shares some features in common with VHS and Betamax.

It has a tape width of 1/2 inch (12.7mm).

The player drum speed is 25rps.

Video 2000 tapes are also made of Chromium dioxide or Cobalt doped.

Video 2000 vs VHS/Betamax

Here are the major differences between Video 2000 and VHS/Betamax.

Video 2000 has a tape speed of 0.95 in/s (2.4 cm/s).

VHS and Betamax have lower tape speeds at 0.9 in/s and 0.73 in/s, respectively.

VHS has a maximum recording time of 240 minutes, Betamax 215 minutes.

Video 2000 can manage a recording time of 8 hours.

How’s Video 2000’s Long Recording Time Possible

Video 2000, as mentioned, has a tape width of half an inch. However, only half the tape width is used when one side of it is played.

The other half is used when the tape is played on the other side. The tape runs in the opposite direction.

The concept is similar to that of the audio cassette. Half the tape width is used when Side A is played. The other half is used when Side B is played.

The advantage of this is playing time can be doubled.

The disadvantage is double the video data must be packed into the tape. Also, the tape is much thinner to allow longer tapes to be fitted into the video cassette.

Video 2000’s Dynamic Track Following

The Video 2000 tape format employs the Dynamic Track Following (DTF). This eliminates the need for a tracking control to ensure stable pictures.

Better Picture Search

Video 200 surpasses VHS and Betamax when it comes to picture search. When searching for a picture, the quality is as good as normal playback.

As for VHS and Betamax, you’ll see noise bars (bars of white dots) displayed across the screen when you undertake a picture search.

Video 2000 Players

Video 2000 players are available online, but you’ll be hard put to find a functioning unit.

An example is the Philips VR2022.

It was the second Philips Video 2000 machine.

Its picture search facility works at 7 times the normal playing speed in fast-forward mode and 5 times in rewind mode.

Dynamic Track Following (mentioned above) removes noise bars in picture search and still frame modes.

It also comes with a 5-event. 16-day timer with a 26-channel memory with automatic tuning.

Back in 1981, it cost 540 pounds in the UK.

Video 2000’s Demise

Video 2000 couldn’t compete with VHS and Betamax despite its advantages.

Betamax and VHS made early entries into the home video market and grabbed huge slices of it.

The Video 2000 revolution lasted from 1979 to 1988.

To learn more about the Video 2000 tape format, watch the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Video 2000 Tapes Still Worth Anything?

While not mainstream, Video 2000 tapes have niche value among collectors and enthusiasts. Their worth depends on various factors like tape type, player availability, and recorded content. Some rare or mint-condition tapes can fetch higher prices, but generally, their value is modest compared to other formats.

Where Can I Watch Movies on Video 2000?

Due to its limited market share, finding pre-recorded Video 2000 movies is challenging. Online auction sites or collector communities might offer occasional opportunities, but options are scarce. Consider alternative formats or streaming services for wider movie access.

Can I Convert Video 2000 Tapes to Digital?

Yes, converting Video 2000 tapes to digital format is possible, but it requires specialized equipment and expertise. Transfer services exist, but their availability and price may vary. Ensure the service provider has experience with the format and offers compatible solutions.

Comparison Table

To refresh your understanding of Video 2000 and its differences with VHS and Betamax, take a look at the table below:

FeatureVideo 2000VHSBetamax
Year Introduced197919761975
Format DeveloperPhilips & GrundigJVCSony
Media TypeCassetteCassetteCassette
Tape Width1/2″ (used 1/4″)1/2″1/2″
Recording Speeds (minutes per standard cassette)180 (SP), 360 (LP)120 (SP), 240 (LP), 480 (EP)60 (SP), 120 (LP)
Picture QualityArguably better in specific scenariosGoodVery good
Audio QualityStereoHi-Fi Stereo availableHi-Fi Stereo available
Player CostHigherLowerLower
Pre-recorded Content AvailabilityLimitedExtensiveModerate
Industry SupportLimitedWidespreadModerate
Market ShareVery low (less than 5%)Dominant (over 80%)Moderate (around 15%)
StrengthsLonger recording times (LP mode), potentially better picture qualityLower cost, user-friendly, extensive content libraryExcellent picture quality, early Hi-Fi Stereo adoption
WeaknessesHigher cost, complex loading mechanism, limited content, niche formatLower picture quality, lower recording times (SP mode)Higher cost than VHS, later Hi-Fi Stereo adoption
Year Production Ceased198820062004
  • Recording times are approximate and may vary depending on specific models and tape types.
  • Picture quality comparisons are subjective and can depend on specific viewing conditions and content.
  • Market share figures are estimates based on available data.


O’Reilly Consumer Electronics Library

The Complete Handbook of Video: Everything You Need to Know About Video – from Home Entertainment to Everyday Office Use by David Owen and uMark Dunton.

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