Overview of 8mm Video Formats
The 8mm video tape format was introduced to the market by Sony in 1985. Video 8 is an analogue video tape in a very compact shell making it ideal for small, handheld Video 8 camcorders. Hi8 is a higher quality analogue format for improved picture & sound when used with Hi8 camcorders. Digital8, also known as D8, arrived in 1999 using the same digital compression format as miniDV.
All three video formats ( Video 8, Hi8 and Digital8 ) used virtually the same physical cassette shell. The formulation of the tape being the main difference between them.
We explain in this blog post why there has never been an adapter to play any 8mm video tapes in a VHS player.
Compatibility of Video8, Hi8 and Digital8
Video8 camcorders/players can only play Video8 tapes. Hi8 camcorders/players can playback Hi8 and Video8 tapes. Digital8 camcorders/players vary – Some of the early D8 cameras were backwards compatible with analogue Hi8 and Video8 but many of the later models were not. Digital8 camcorders and players were fitted with IEEE1394 (FireWire) sockets. This allowed convenient transfer from video tape to a video editing computer.
Digital8 players with analogue playback facilities deliver excellent quality playback of Video8 and Hi8 camcorder tapes. They also offer NTSC playback of NTSC Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 recordings. Our video transfer to DVD service makes extensive use of Sony Digital8 video players.