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Sony HDVS is a range of high-definition video equipment developed in the 1980s to support an early analog high-definition television system thought to be the broadcast television systems that would be in use today. The line included professional video cameras, video monitors and linear video editing systems.


Sony first demonstrated a wideband analog video HDTV capable video camera, monitor and video tape recorder (VTR) in April 1981 at an international meeting of television engineers in Algiers. The HDVS range was launched in April 1984, with the HDC-100 camera, HDV-1000 video recorder, with its companion HDT-1000 processor/TBC, and HDS-1000 video switcher all working in the 1125-line component video format with interlaced video and a 5:3 aspect ratio.

The helical scan VTR (the HDV-100) used magnetic tape similar to 1" type C videotape for analog recording. Sony in 1988 unveiled a new HDVS digital line, including a reel-to-reel digital recording VTR (the HDD-1000) that used digital signals between the machines for dubbing but the primary I/O remained analog signals. The large unit was housed in a 1-inch reel-to-reel transport, and because of the high tape speed needed, had a limit of 1-hour per reel. Sony, owner of Columbia Pictures/Tri-Star, would start to archive feature films on this format, requiring an average of two reels per movie. There was also a portable videocassette recorder (the HDV-10) for the HDVS system, using the "UniHi" format of videocassette using 3/4" wide tape. The transport housing similar in appearance to Sony's D1/D2 Standard Definition Digital VTRs, but recorded analog HD. The small cassette size limited recording time.


The Sony HDVS system is used in the production of a 5-min feature film about Halley's Comet in 1986, titled "Arrival", and shown in US theatres later that year,[1] using 35mm film instead of tape.[2]

The first drama film shot using the HDVS professional video camera is RAI's Julia and Julia (Italian: Giulia e Giulia) in 1987, and the first HDTV television show was CBC's Chasing Rainbows, shot using the HDVS system in 1988. For the Genesis Invisible Touch Tour shows at Wembley Stadium in July 1987, the Sony HDVS system was used to film these shows and later released in VHS and LaserDisc in 1988 and DVD in 2003.

World War II: When Lions Roared (also known as Then There Were Giants) is a 1994 TV movie, directed by Joseph Sargent, that stars John Lithgow, Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins as the three major Allied leaders. It was the first video production to be produced in the 1125-line high-definition television (HDTV) format.[3] It was converted to NTSC for broadcast in the United States.

The HDVS brand and logo is still used by Sony nowadays (as "Digital HDVS", since the original HDVS line of equipment from 1984 used wideband analog video to achieve the 1125-lines of resolution) on their current digital high-definition HDCAM-format cameras such as the Sony HDW-750 and HDW-F900.



  1. ^ Sutherland, Sam (5 October 1985). "Debut Set for High-Definition System". Billboard. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  2. ^ Lovece, Frank (11 January 1986). "Fast Forward". Billboard. p. 44. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  3. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". imdb. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.

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