Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
VHS logo

VHS or Video Home System is a media format, first developed in the 1970s. A contemporary of the similar Betamax videotape format, meant that titles, including those of Star Trek, were released concurrently in both formats, until Betamax – even though it was technically the superior one of the two – lost the format war and was phased out near the end of the 1980s.


Star Trek on VHSEdit

VHS cassette

A VHS cassette, specifically UK TNG volume 32

The various Star Trek series and movies have been released on VHS ever since the technology came into widespread use.

In the United States, various independent distributors released Star Trek videos, including Columbia House. Columbia House's releases were usually two episode tapes, excepting the two-hour episodes, and the first three part arc of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. These releases were usually single episode tapes.

The central VHS distributor in Australia and the United Kingdom was CIC Video. CIC acquired the license from Paramount Pictures to distributed Star Trek VHS releases in those territories as far back as the home video release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Releases by CIC were typically two-episodes-per-tape, although three-episode-per-tape rereleases of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation were also made.

Paramount Home Entertainment eventually took over all VHS releases in major markets in 1999 – the studio deciding to take distribution in-house. CIC Video was dissolved.


Following the development of DVD technology, the VHS format fell into decline. Star Trek VHS releases were superseded by DVD collections, largely due to their compact nature (a single season of a series on VHS could run to between 13-26 VHS tapes, where as a DVD collection could be only 4-5 discs, with the commensurate space reduction), their improved audio-visual quality, and the ability to add special features.

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