Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Video home system (VHS) cassettes were a popular format for both commercial movies and home videos, and the compact version was first introduced in 1982. These much smaller cassettes were known as video home system compact (VHS-C), and used the same magnetic recording material as regular VHS tapes despite being a fraction of the size. Due to this design, it is possible to view a VHS-C tape with a regular videocassette recorder (VCR). In order accomplish this, a VHS-C to VHS adapter is typically used. These adapters often have the appearance of a regular VHS tape, but include a slot into which a VHS-C cassette may be placed.
Most VHS-C tapes had a limited amount of recording time due to their small size. This made them well suited to the consumer camcorder market. At the time when VHS-C was introduced, Betamax camcorders benefited from a smaller form factor than their VHS counterparts, while the main benefit offered by VHS camcorders was their ability to play video in addition to recording it. The VHS-C format allowed for much smaller camcorders while also retaining the playback capabilities of larger VHS units.
The two main ways of viewing a video recorded to a VHS-C tape were to use the camcorder itself, or to use a VHS-C to VHS adapter. Many VHS-C camcorders could play video via the viewfinder or an attached liquid crystal display (LCD) screen, in addition to offering video and audio out cables. The VHS-C to VHS adapter allowed the playback of a VHS-C tape through a VCR without connecting the camcorder unit. A VHC-C tape could be placed into the adapter, allowing playback on any VHS compatible VCR.
VHS-C to VHS adapters were made possible by the two formats using an identical type of magnetic storage material. Each VHS-C cassette has two spools, one of which is a gear wheel and the other of which is identical to a regular VHS spool. When placed into an adapter, the tape is spooled out so that it will be readable by a regular sized VCR. It continues to unwind from one spool inside the VHS-C cassette and subsequently wind onto the other, just as it would inside a VHS-C camcorder.
The two main types of VHS-C to VHS adapter are purely mechanical and battery operated. The purely mechanical variety pulls the tape out of the VHS-C cartridge via the mechanical motion of inserting the cassette into the adapter. Battery powered variants use a small motor to accomplish this same function. Once the tape has been spooled out into the adapter, both versions work in an identical manner.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!