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D1, D2, D3, D5, D6, D9 (Digital-S)



D1 was the first major digital video format for professionals. It is also known as a 4:2:2 Component Digital cassette. You can recognise these carriers by their grey casing in two formats: medium and large. Sony, 3M, Philips and Ampex are the most famous brands.
High image quality

D1 cassettes had big price tag, but that was no concern for animation studios. They gratefully used the possibility to store uncompressed video (up to 94 minutes) with a very high image quality.

For more information on D1 cassettes, we suggest the following pages:


D2 is the successor of the D1 tape. Ampex developed this new version for professional usage at the end of the 1980s. D2 cassettes contain uncompressed video of 32, 94 or 208 minutes. That is because there were three formats to choose from: small, medium and large.


Panasonic launched this D3 cassette in 1991 to compete with the D2 of Ampex. There are three formats here as well: small, medium and large. There was no shortage in terms of capacity because the D3 cassettes went from 50 up to 248 minutes.

Discover more information on D3 tapes on:


In 1994, Panasonic launched two varieties of the D5: a standard version and an HD version (D5 HD). The cassettes could contain 23, 63 or 94 minutes of material, and some of them had a yellow valve. Professionals in particular used this carrier for digital video.


You have a D6 tape. The first cassettes were launched in 1995. Only a handful of professional studios took them home, given the high price tag.

  • On Wikipedia there is more information to be found about these cassettes.

D9 (Digital-S)

D9 was originally known as Digital-S. In 1999, its name was changed. With D9, JVC wanted to compete with Sony’s Digital Betacam. They more or less succeeded. A few companies in Europe, Asia and the United States switched, but it was a commercial failure compared to the Digital Betacam.


Like many other producers, JVS launched an HD variety under the name D9 HD. There was room for 10, 34, 64, 104 or 124 minutes of imagery. The capacity was always mentioned on the tape (for example DS10 means 10 minutes).

Would you like more explanation? Then visit the sources below:

Did you know …

… that there is no D4 format? They skipped the number 4 because it is considered a taboo in many Asian cultures.*

Met de steun van Vaal nderen en EFRO europees fonds voor regionale ontwikkeling