Video Tape Time Comparisons
by:   High-Tech Productions / Blank Video


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Time &

   There is a lot of confusion as to the exact time a video tape runs. Even though tape are usually marked (T-120) it does not mean it will run for 2 hours. The speed in which it was recorded and the country where the tape was manufactured makes a difference as to how long it will run. The system used in the United States (NTSC) uses tape at a higher rate (6.6 feet/minute) then European (PAL) or French (SECAM) (4.69 feet/minute) systems.

    Video tapes are marked in playing time as opposed to tape length, which is why a PAL/SECAM VHS E120 (2 hour) tape will not give two hours of recording time when used on a US NTSC Video recorder.

    A NTSC VHS T120 tape is 812 feet in length and will give 2 hours play time on an NTSC VCR recorded at the SP speed. This same tape used on a PAL VCR will give 2 hours & 49 minutes of playing time.

   A European E120 VHS tape is 570 feet in length and will give 2 hours of playing time on a PAL VCR. The same tape used on an NTSC VCR will give only 1 hour & 26 minutes of play time.

PAL, SECAM and NTSC recording times (in SP mode).



Time in Minutes

Time in Minutes

E30 148 30 22
E60 290 60 44
E90 429 90 65
E120 570 120 86
E180 851 180 129
E240 1142 240 173
T20 145 28 20
T30 211 42 30
T45 310 63 45
T60 412 84 60
T90 610 126 90
T120 812 169 120


225 160

Tape Speed & Time

    Standard Play (SP) is the most common recording speed used for VHS tapes. You can get up to 120 minutes of recording time on the normal (T-120) video cassette.  This is the speed most rented movies are recorded at. Using the highest tape speed in the VHS format, SP speed will offer the highest measurable quality for both audio and video segments. SP is recommended for both real time and high speed duplication.

    Long Play (LP) is a seldom used format. Many newer VCR's cannot play and/or record in this older format.  We do not duplicate in the Long Play mode.

    Extended Play (EP) or sometimes (XP) is the longest VHS recording speed.  You can get up to 360 minutes of recording time on a T-120 video cassette. There are two reasons for using the EP speed.  One reason is where your recording must exceed 120 minutes on one tape.  The second reason is for cost savings.

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