Difference Between VHS and DVD

Storing data were never been easy until the invention of storage devices like floppy disk, hard drive etc… Earlier, people require piles of paper to record or store information. It was not only tedious but also time-consuming and occupied more space.

So, the requirement for a versatile compact device to store and retrieve information was induced. The need for storage devices got strengthened when people started creating audio and video files.

The invention of magnetic tape and floppy disk paved way for a revolution in storing data in the digital format.


The difference between DVD and VHS is DVD stores data in digital format whereas VHS stores data in analog format. Storing data in digital format proved to be more efficient, thus DVD gained the market share from VHS. Nowadays, the use of VHS has almost reached to a grinding halt.


VHS was one of the ancestors which pioneered in media storage. It was used for storing video files in tape. VHS was touted to be an advance version of magnetic tapes when introduced in the year 1970.

To record or playback the audio or video data from VHS, VHS recorder was needed.

Despite limitations, it continued to rule the media industry for storing visual data till the introduction of CD and DVD which turned to be very disruptive. The introduction of DVD was the beginning of the downfall for the VHS industry.

DVD is an optical disc which stores data in digital format. Storing and retrieval data from DVD was very efficient and faster when compared to VHS. Moreover, the optical disc offered more storage space when compared to its predecessor.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonVHSDVD
Stands forVideo Home System.Digital Video Disk.
Mode of StorageAnalog Format.Digital Format.
Year of InventionInvented in 1995 and was introduced in the market in the year 1996.Invented in the year 1970 and was first introduced in the market in the year 1976.
Country of OriginJapanBoth USA and Japan were responsible for DVD as it was created by a collaboration from industrial giants like Sony, Toshiba, Time Warner Inc.
Storage CapacityMaximum of two gigabytes of uncompressed data.Minimum of 4.7 gigabytes of data on a single-sided DVD.
Weight212 grams.16 grams.
Physical AppearanceRectangular.Circular in shape.
Usage as of presentIt has become obsolete.It is still in use.

What is VHS?

VHS (Video Home System) was once the popular storage for recording, storing and retrieving visual information. It stores data in its reel of magnetic tape. The data gets stored in the magnetic tape in the analog format.

The width of the tape would not exceed a half-inch. In the earlier stage, video cameras recorded the videos in VHS Tape. The data gets stored in the VHS format.

To playback the video, video cassette recorder (VCR) was needed. VCR had the dual capability of both recording and playing back video. The video player could only playback the video.

The way the data is played back from VHS tape is as follows. The VHS tape consists of a reel of magnetic tape. This tape is transferred from one reel to another when inserted into the player.

As the tape gets wounded to another reel, it passes over a thing called as playback head. This head is responsible for reading the signal and transforming the analog signal back to visual (audio or video) feed.

There are three modes in VHS tape. They are extended play(EP), standard play(SP) and long play (LP) mode. A maximum of  540 minutes long video can be recorded in a VHS when used in EP mode.

The introduction of VHC tape broke the monopoly of the television industry. People were able to record their desired program telecasted in television and viewed it later. This feature enabled VHS to gain market share when it was released in the market.


What is DVD?

DVD stands for a digital video disc. It is an optical disc which stores data in digital format.

Though the DVD format and its existence got established only in 1995, the concept of optical disc started before the release of VHS in 1970.

The consumer-based optical disc was launched in the year 1978 by Laser Disc. The format did not gain acceptance and this search for a viable format lead to the creation of .vcd (Video CD) format.

In the same year, two other formats were created by the global giants in electronic space. The MMCD format, backed by Philips and Sony and SD (super density) disc by Toshiba and others lead to confrontation in adopting a standard format.

Later, the pressure from the Technical working group (Apple, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell and other market leaders) brought a compromise between the two groups (MMCD and SD) and a new format called DVD got evolved.

The DVD had similarities to the super density disc except that DVD was a single-sided disc with dual-layer as an option. Thus, the single-sided DVD got a storage capacity of 4.7 GB and 8.5 GB storage capacity for a dual-sided disc.

DVD writer or burner drive is used to write data to the DVD. This drive is also responsible for reading data from the DVD. The data gets stored in the digital format (binary data of 1’s and 0’s).

There are numerous of microscopic pits on the layer of DVD in which the digital information gets encoded. The optical source from the DVD drive helps in retrieving or storing data.

Its efficiency in storing high-quality data leads to its boom in the market. Soon, DVD started penetrating in all fields and ended the monopoly of VHS, turning VHS tapes to become obsolete.


Main Differences Between VHS and DVD

  1. VHS tape stores data in analog format whereas DVD stores in the digital format.
  2. VHS stores data using magnetic tape while the optical source is used in case of DVD.
  3. DVD can store more data with high quality than that of a VHS tape which stores data in low quality. Moreover, VHS tapes tend to get damaged easily but DVDs proved to be reliable as it was compact and slim.
  4. VHS tape cannot be relied on for long-time storage due to its analog nature and many moving parts. DVD overcome all the limitation of VHS tape.
  5. VHS tape and devices have been ruled out from the market while DVD still enjoy a lion share.
Difference Between VHS and DVD


  1. https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/27761/1/605284490.PDF
  2. http://hsrc.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1050&context=libfacpres
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