Videotape - VHS Videotape Running Times
NTSC PAL SECAM

Because VHS Videotape is marked in playing times as opposed to tape length, a lot of confusion arises as to why a PAL SECAM VHS E120 (2 hour) videotape will not give two hours of recording time when used on a US NTSC Video recorder.

The US T120 VHS videotape is 246 meters in length and will give 2 hours play time on an NTSC VCR. This same videotape used on a PAL VCR will give 2 hours & 49 minutes of play time.

Conversely, a UK E120 VHS videotape is 173 meters in length and will give 2 hours play time on a PAL VCR. The same tape used on an NTSC VCR will give only 1 hour & 26 minutes of play time.

An NTSC video player/recorder uses tape at a higher rate (2 Meters/Minute) than a PAL or SECAM machine (1.42 Meters/Minute). In other words, the NTSC VCR runs slightly faster than a PAL or SECAM VCR and consequently the video tape gets used that much quicker.

This chart compares the recording times of each tape in NTSC PAL SECAM

TAPE
LABEL
TAPE
LENGTH
Meters
PAL/SECAM
Record/Playback
Time in Minutes
NTSC
Record/Playback
Time in Minutes
E30 45 30 22
E60 88 60 44
E90 130 90 65
E120 173 120 86
E180 258 180 129
E240 346 240 173
T20 44 28 20
T30 64 42 30
T45 94 63 45
T60 125 84 60
T90 185 126 90
T120 246 169 120
T160 326 225 160