D-3 Digital video cassette system (serial No 1)


D-3 is a digital video cassette system. It was the first system adopted by the BBC for digitally archiving their analogue video tape library.

D-3 is an uncompressed composite digital video format. The tapes were substantially smaller than predecessor digital video formats. It was developed by NHK and produced by Panasonic. This machine is serial number 00001.

The D-3 format was used by the BBC to transfer its analogue video tape archive onto digital tape for preservation, accumulating around 315,000 D-3 tapes. As with previous tape storage, the D-3 format became obsolete. In 2007 the BBC launched the D3 Preservation Project to move away from tape storage altogether, transferring the tape contents onto file-based storage.

This project was followed by the BBC’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI). The project proposed to move the company into a fully digital workflow, where staff could access digitised footage and edit on their desktops. The project was initially contracted to Siemens before being brought in-house by the BBC. Problems were highlighted following the death of Margaret Thatcher when digital stored files were inaccessible and the archived storage tapes were required for televised reports. The project was cancelled in May 2013 at a cost of £98.5m.


Object Number:
video recorder
The BBC Collection