From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Media typeMagnetic tape cassette
Encoding1035i or 480i (1125-line baseband)
Developed byJVC
UsageHome movies, Home video, Video production
Extended fromVHS
Released1994; 30 years ago (1994)

W-VHS (Wide-VHS) is an HDTV-capable analog recording videocassette format created by JVC. The format was originally introduced in 1994 for use with Japan's Hi-Vision (aka MUSE), an early analog high-definition television system.


The Japanese language uses "W", as an ideogram meaning "double", the original Japanese name of the system refers to a doubling of resolution seen on W-VHS system.

By the time the system was being prepared for a western market, JVC had retrofitted the "W" name as "Wide-VHS" and coined four marketing points based on the "Wide" moniker.[1]

  • Wide aspect ratio
  • Worldwide-usable format, conforming to foreign HDTV systems
  • Wide development of videotape applications
  • Wide (two-track) recording system


W-VHS VCRs can record a high-definition video signal (1035i, stored internally as an 1125-line signal similar to Hi-Vision) via the analog Y/Pb/Pr component interface, a standard-definition signal (480i), or two simultaneous standard-definition signals, for 3D video.[2]

The recording medium of W-VHS is a 12-inch double-coated metal particle tape stored in a cartridge similar to VHS. Some W-VHS VCRs are capable of playing and recording VHS and S-VHS media.

Unlike normal VHS, which uses a single head to record video fields as a series of parallel standalone tracks, W-VHS uses a dual-head design to record each video field as two parallel tracks storing a component video signal. The signal is recorded using a method called "time compression integration" in which the luminance signal is divided into two sets of lines, which are then split and recorded across both tracks. After the luminance signals are recorded, the two color signals are recorded, one on each track, in a time-compressed form. Recording these signals sequentially rather than side by side prevents crosstalk between the luma and chroma components.[3][1]

Because the video signals are recorded in component form instead of e.g. the "color-under" method used by S-VHS, standard-definition image quality for W-VHS is typically much higher, due to the lack of noise caused by a chroma sub-carrier. Audio is stored as a digital PCM stream.


Due to its high cost, W-VHS equipment and media was distributed in the United States through JVC's professional video and broadcast equipment division and was primarily marketed for industrial and commercial applications such as medical imaging.[4]

Currently, it is very difficult to find either W-VHS VCRs or tapes. If W-VHS media is not available, JVC recommends the use of tapes intended for the D-9 or Digital-S digital video format.[5]

The running time between W-VHS and Digital-S is not the same; a Digital-S tape with a length of 64 min is approximately 105 min when used with W-VHS.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b JVC SR-W320U Service Manual. JVC. 1994.
  2. ^ "What is a 3D theater". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  3. ^ Quote from JVC SR-W5U pdf brochure.
  4. ^ "JVC Helps Deliver First High Definition TV Programs into the Home". JVC Professional Products. 8 November 1995. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  5. ^ "JVC Pro Accessories Page". pro.jvc.com. Retrieved 2021-08-01.

External links[edit]