Video Home System, better known by its abbreviation VHS, is a video tape recording standard developed during the 1970s. It was released to the public during the latter half of the decade. During the late part of the 1970s and the early 1980s it formed one-half of the VHS vs Betamax war, which it would eventually go on to win. VHS' properties include longer playing time, faster rewinding and fast-forwarding, and a less complex tape transport mechanism. The open standard used for VHS technology allowed mass production without licensing costs. VHS would eventually come out as the winning video tape format, surpassing other home tape formats by the 1990s. In later years, optical disc formats began to offer better quality than video tape, and took over in film studios, then retailers, and finally video rental stores. By 2006, the United States had stopped releasing new movie titles in VHS format, opting for others such as DVD and Blu-ray. On December 23, 2008, the last major United States supplier of pre-recorded VHS tapes, Distribution Video Audio Inc. of Palm Harbor, Florida, shipped its final truckload.
The Laserdisc (LD) is an obsolete home video disc format, and was the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially marketed as Discovision in 1978, the technology was licensed and sold as Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Videodisc, Laservision, Disco-Vision, DiscoVision, and MCA DiscoVision until Pioneer Electronics purchased the majority stake in the format and marketed LaserDisc in the mid to late 1980s. While LaserDisc produced a consistently higher quality image than its rivals, the VHS and Betamax systems, the laserdisc never obtained more than a niche market with videophiles in America. In Europe, it remained largely an obscure format. It was however much more popular in Japan and in the more affluent regions of South East Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore. Laserdisc was the prevalent rental video medium in Hong Kong during the 1990s. The technology and concepts provided with the Laserdisc would become the forerunner to Compact Discs and DVDs.
DVD, also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc, is an optical disc storage media format, and was founded in 1995. Its main uses are video and data storage. DVDs are of the same dimensions as compact discs (CDs), but store more than six times as much data. Variations of the term DVD often describe the way data is stored on the discs: DVD-ROM (read only memory) has data that can only be read and not written; DVD-R and DVD+R (recordable) can record data only once, and then function as a DVD-ROM; DVD-RW (re-writable), DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM (random access memory) can both record and erase data multiple times. The wavelength used by standard DVD lasers is 650 nm; thus, the light has a red color. DVD-Video and DVD-Audio discs refer to properly formatted and structured video and audio content, respectively. Other types of DVDs, including those with video content, may be referred to as DVD Data discs.