3/4" U-matic & U-matic SP

Years Used: 1971 – early 1990′s

History (highlight summary):

  • 3/4″ U-Matic             1970
  • 3/4″ U-Matic SP        1986

Formats: low-band, high-band, SP

This format was introduced by Sony in 1971.  Although introduced as a consumer tape, it actually caught on more as a Pro tape.  By the mid ’70′s TV stations started using it.  There was also a U-Matic S format (max 20 mins) like the VHS-C tapes….designed for the portable units.  Many of the newer frontloading machines can accept the S format tapes without an adaptor (earlier top loading ones required an adaptor).  By the early 90′s Betacam SP had more-or-less replaced U-matic.

Over the years improved video deck machines and format changes provided the following Improvements:

  • TBC circuitry….drop out compensation.
  • Dolby noise reduction
  • SP (superior performance) technology…improved video picture

How To Identify The Tape:

The cassette of a U-matic or U-matic SP video tape are the same size.  The cassette comes in a large and small size.  The cassettes are thicker than a VHS tape and thinner than a Betacam tape.  Dimensions for a large tape are: 21.9 cm X 13.7 cm X 3 cm and a small tape are: 18.5 cm X 12 cm x 3 cm.

To convert it into modern media, please contact us here.