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In the early 90’s, sales for higher end consumer and prosumer video equipment started to flatten. Something had to be done. A better mousetrap needed to be built. To avoid a replay of the grueling standard wars, 55 companies formed a consortium and embarked on the development of a new digital video format. The format was first called DVC (as in Digital Video Cassette), later it was called simply DV. (As in Definitive Video ... just kidding). Launched in late 1995, it became an instant success. Here's how it works



After launching their very successful VX1000  (and their less successful VX700), Sony introduced the "passport-sized" PC-7.  It became an instant success.

Panasonic's AG-EZ1U DV unit

Frustrated when going from DV to DVCAM? Defeat the DSR-30 AudioLock with switchcraft.


What Is DV? (DVC? DVCAM? DVCPRO?) 
The definitive paper answering this question has (again) been written by Roger Jennings. Under the unassuming title “Consumer and Professional Digital Video Recording and Data Formats”, Roger describes everything from cassette dimensions to esoteric issues like isochronous transmission and Reed-Solomon error detection and correction coding. 

Some people claim that DV is a video format which escaped the labs prematurely, before marketing managers could "dumb it down". Companies with an established presence in the industrial video and professional area quickly saw the sales of their higher priced units dwindling as organizations like CBS or BBC started buying VX1000s in wholesale fashion.  "Professional" variants of DV were invented. And we had a format war after all.  DVCPRO was sent into battle by Panasonic in 1995, followed one year later by Sony's DVCAM. The formats sound alike, they basically use the same video and audio encoding format as the consumer DV format. But they have subtle and not-so-subtle differences in speed, makeup and track pitch of the tapes being used. Of course, they also cost significantly more than the consumer models. To  "differentiate" the products even more, Sony invented some hurdles  which can prevent copying from  DV to DVCAM via Firewire. But these hurdles have been overcome by Adaptec in software and by readers of the DV-L list through some ingenious switchcraft. 


DV vs. Betacam SP: 4:1:1 vs. 4:2:2, Artifacts and Other Controversies.

Roger Jennings discusses and compares the two formats. No holds barred. 


Do you rrrreally want to know what DV is?

Honestly? All the gory details? Down to the nitty-gritty? Then you must have  the (in)famous Blue Book, which lays down the DV standard.  The Brue ..err. Blue Book costs around $500 (depending on the yen / greenback ratio) and can be obtained from:

M. Tsunoo
File keeper of dissolved HD Digital VCR conference
(yes, that's his official title -- ain't it amazing?)
c/o Research Administration Department
AVC Products Development Lab
Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd.
2-15 Matsuba-cho, Kadoma-shi, Osaka 571, Japan

Tel: +81-6-905-4023
Fax: +81-6-906-8125

The contents is a bit challenging. You have been warned.  Apparently, Tsunoo-San isn't wired. Snailmail or phone must do. 


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Written mostly by Bertel Schmitt.  Maintained by Alexei Gerulaitis.

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