[Ffmpeg-devel] Re: American quality standards.

Dieter ffmpeg
Wed Mar 15 15:15:20 CET 2006

In message <4418854A.90202 at fatooh.org>, Corey Hickey writes:
> Dieter wrote:
> >>>Oh yes, anything other than RF and composite is rare in NTSC-land.
> >>
> >>Ouch, you're kidding me!? Do American viewers not care at all about
> >>picture quality?
> > 
> > 
> > Some do.  Most don't.  Did you not notice that VHS outsold Betamax?
> > 20 years ago the VHS picture was absolute crap.  But a VHS tape
> > held more hours of this crap than a Betamax tape, so VHS won
> > in the marketplace.  Recent VHS machines have a much improved picture,
> > maybe almost as good as a 20+ year old Beta machine (*).  But VHS tape
> > handling is still crap and always will be.  Miss a bit of dialog
> > and want to rewind a few seconds?  KLUNK!  KER-CHUNK!  WHAM!
> > Whirrrrrrrrrrrrr!  THUNK!  KER-KER-KER-CHUNK!
> What was different about Betamax that made it better at rewinding? I've
> never even seen one.

U-load vs M-load.

Google found http://toyvax.glendale.ca.us/~vance/betaphile.html

  Beta machines use a smaller version of the U-load of the professional U-Matic
  format which grabs it in one place and curves it around the head drum. VHS
  uses an M-load which grabs the tape in two spots and pulls it up to the drum.
  The U-load puts less stress on the tape, which is why all but more recent VHS
  machines would pull the tape back into the cassette after Stop was pressed
  rather than letting the tape sit in the M-load position.

With Beta, if you want to back up a few seconds to try and make out what
some actor mumbled, you just press the rewind button and it *instantly*
starts backing up, with picture.  Twenty year newer VHS machines, while
better than they used to be, still can't compare.  It's like comparing
the handling of a semi-truck to a sports car.

Big list of other advantages (signal-to-noise, bandwidth, ...) at the URL above.

More information about the ffmpeg-devel mailing list