Hi8 (1989 – 2007)

Hi8 (high-band Video8) was an analogue 8mm video format for camcorders, based on the older Video8 format. It was introduced by Sony in 1989 to counter the introduction of S-VHS-C (the compact version of S-VHS).

Hi8 used a combination of higher-grade tape and improved recording mechanisms to increase bandwidth. Both Hi8 and the competing S-VHS-C were officially rated at a luminance resolution of 400 lines, roughly equal to LaserDisc quality and putting them in the lower broadcast-quality range. Recording lengths were 30, 60 and 120 minutes.

Hi8 camcorders were popular with amateur enthusiasts and were also used in television productions which required lightweight portable equipment.

All Hi8 equipment can record and play in the legacy Video8 format.

In 1998, the XR (extended resolution) capability was added to both Hi8 and the older Video8 format to enhance luminance by a modest 10%. XR equipment replays non-XR recordings well, and XR recordings are fully playable on non-XR equipment, though without the benefits of XR.

Although superseded by Digital8, Hi8 camcorders were available until 2007, the same year that Digital8 camcorders were discontinued.

Hi8 did live on a bit longer (until 2012), as the tape used in the professional digital audio DTRS recording system.

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Preservation / Migration