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When Did Hi8 Come Out?

By Shelby Burr

Compactible, light and packed with memories...that’s right, we are talking about the Hi8 tape. This fascinating little format made a big splash when it came to the filming industry and took everyone’s attention by storm. We’re going to take you back a little bit and highlight this perfect, little tape so that we can enjoy it in all of its glory. 

Ahem… let’s begin. 

The year is 1989 and we are just about to enter into a new decade. Well, we all know a new decade equals new products and updates - such as the Hi8 tape. It was introduced by Sony in 1989 and had a very similar quality to SVHS. Not to mention, the size of this thing was the key indicator of “update.” Instead of lugging around a fat camcorder with thick, brick-like VHS tapes, you now have a small camera and a very small (cute)  tape. Easy, light, affordable, AND you could take it anywhere with you. 


Think of this time and this product similar to an Apple release today. This Hi8 release was the new, sleeker version of the clunky tapes everyone had to carry around. Everyone went bananas when Hi8 was released due to its advancement in a more practical size, quality, and practicality. Let’s talk about quality…


Hi8 video tapes record their signal at about 400 lines of horizontal resolution. This is a little less than the Mini DV, but also substantially higher than 8mm or regular VHS formats. With any tape, some quality can be lost when copying or editing over to an Hi8, but it will still have a better than average image quality than most other tape transfers. One con to Hi8 is that it does require special equipment to watch your content. 


One additional fan favorite of the Hi8 tape was that it was easy to use for anyone and everyone. Their user base consisted mainly of amateur camcorder users, although they also saw important use in the professional television production field. All in all, the Hi8 tape was a success and used by many. In fact, I bet you have a few tapes of your own that have some memory gold stored on them right now! Don’t worry, we all have memories that are trapped on old formats. As we progress into the future and digital era, our beloved tapes have become “old school” and less practical. 


The good news? The digital era has given us the gift of digitization. Your hi8 tapes, vhs tapes, super8 tapes, etc. can all be digitized in the blink of an eye and your memories can be preserved with ease. This is where Kodak Digitizing comes into play. It’s super simple and will help take care of the burden of transferring your memories for you. All you have to do is order your KODAK Digitizing Box, fill it up with your memories and send it in. Your memories will then be digitized and restored on DVD, thumb drive or digital download. You’ll get EVERYTHING BACK (your old memories and newly digitized items) in just a few short weeks. And boom. You just saved all of your memories and your family's legacy. Your Hi8 tapes, other videos, film, and photos can all be preserved today - enjoy your memories while you can!

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