A brief history of video storage

Believe it or not, what you see above you is a video tape recorder. You couldn’t call it a VCR since there’s no cassette. It wasn’t very user-friendly but it did the job.

Video storage sure has changed a lot since those days, when you could record 1/2 hour of black-and-white video on a 6″ reel. The size of today’s video storage is about the same physically, but Blu-ray disc players can hold four hours of HD video at extremely high quality.

Physical media may be going away altogether. There is no home media standard for UHD (also known as 4K) and yet 4K content may be coming as soon as next year. How will it come? It will all stream from the internet, simple as that. If you want to “own” a 4K movie (keeping in mind it’s still just a license) you’ll store it on your hard drive.

Before physical media goes away, it might be worth a quick visit to Multichannel News for a very brief history of video storage. You may not have had any home video storage until the 1980s but the technology goes back a generation further to the Don Draper days. Back then a video recorder was the size of a large piece of furniture.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.