D-9 / Digital-S

D-9 / Digital-S (JVC) video cassettes
light grey Digital S DS10 video cassette, rectangular with rounded corners

JVC Digital S (subsequently known as D-9) 10 minute video cassette

introduction to D-9 / Digital-S video cassette transfer

Digital-S was a professional digital video cassette format introduced by JVC in 1995. Its name was changed to D-9 in 1999 by the SMPTE. D-9 tapes were available from both JVC and Fuji. As a format, it fell out of use in the early 2000s. At Greatbear we can produce archive-quality transfers from Digital-S / D-9 cassettes.

We offer a range of delivery formats for our video transfers. Following International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives TC-06 guidelines, we deliver FFV1 lossless files or 10-bit uncompressed video files in .mkv or .mov containers for archives. We can also produce Apple ProRes mezzanine files for ease of editing. We provide smaller viewing files as H.264 encoded .mp4 files or on DVD. We're happy to create any other digital video files, according to your needs.

We can provide the appropriately-sized USB delivery media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

D-9 / Digital-S video cassette recordings can vary both in duration and in the extent of physical tape degradation, so we always assess tapes before confirming the price of a transfer.

We offer free assessments - please contact us to discuss your project.

For an introduction to our assessment and treatment processes, please see our guide to "what happens to your video tape".

D-9 / Digital-S video machines

This format, while high quality with easy-to-service machines, was not widely used and as a result, good, low-use, working machines can be hard to find now.

This is a born-digital format yet a digital audio / video output was always optional with these models. Given that they were often used as a cheaper alternative to Sony's competing Digital Betacam system, the digital options are rarely fitted.

We have the following D-9 / Digital-S machines:

  • JVC BR-D750 E - PAL
  • JVC BR-D85 E - PAL with SDI (digital output) boards fitted
  • JVC BR-D51 E - PAL D9 / SVHS playback facility

D-9 / Digital-S format variation

video standardD-9 / S-VHS ouput supported280 Mbit/s SDI digital transfer of audio & video2 channel audio output supported4 channel audio output supportedpreservation of timecode supported
PALDigital-S / D-9
NTSCDigital-S / D-9

Scroll to the right to view full table on smaller screens.

end view of Digital S video cassette with protective shield open to reveal black magnetic tape

Digital S video tape cassette shell open to show ½ inch tape inside

rack-mounted JVC Digital S component video recorder

JVC BR-D 750E machine for Digital S / D-9 video

light grey Digital S / D-9 cassette with rulers indicating width 18.8 cm by height 10.3 cm.

Digital S / D-9 cassette dimensions: 18.7 x 10.3 x 2.5cm

D-9 / Digital-S video tape risks & vulnerabilities

According to the Smithsonian Institution Audiovisual Preservation Readiness Assessment, 2019 Final Report, conducted by The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) Community Archiving Collective: AVPRAPPS Scoring System - Baseline Score for D-9 is “Level 1 Highest Risk”.

D-9 / Digital-S video production & recording history

Originally known as Digital-S, it was given the designation D-9 by SMPTE in the spring of 1999.

Despite its high quality metal particle tape formulation and "perceptually lossless" 3.3:1 compression ratio, it didn't fare well commercially in competition with concurrent professional formats such as Sony's Digital Betacam and DVCAM, or Panasonic's DVCPRO.

It was used for a short while by the BBC (JVC D-9 in action worldwide, 2000).