Following a collaboration between Sony and Philips, the Compact Disc is launched in Japan in 1982. This new digital music playback format was a big hit, so work then starts on introducing a new digital recording format for the home. This time Sony & Philips go their separate ways.
Philips preferred the idea of a S-DAT based system which would use a Stationary play head as this could be compatible with existing compact cassettes. However significant development would be required to get this idea to work, due to data limitations of the existing tape and head techniology. It eventually emerged in 1992 as DCC, largely owing it’s existence to innovative audio compression techniques that were not possible on a consumer device in the 1980s.
Sony however took a simpler route, eschewing the idea of backward compatibility, and using existing video recorder technology by 1986 they were able to demonstrate prototypes of their new R-DAT based system which used a Rotating head to pack more data onto slow moving tape. This system didn’t employ any compression…and therein lay the rub.
The Sony DAT system could make perfect copies from Compact Discs…and for the recording industry, that was just not cricket. Watch the video below to learn more about Digital Audio Tape and see some DAT machines in action.
Long Play Mode is 32kHz (added as an annotation before the video went live)
This video may contain the occasional redundant turn of phrase...e.g. "DAT Tape" if this is of concern, please do not press play.
Q) Are you going to do a video about Minidisc?
A) I don't know
I bought my DAT Recorders from EBAY - here's a link https://goo.gl/x2k1jX
This video does not go into detail about tape data backup solutions, these were known as DDS. This is a deliberate omission…it’s a video about audio.
Here's a nice 1986 article about S-DAT and R-DAT.