We often get asked how SP and LP modes differ.
- SP – Standard Play
- LP – Long Play
- EP – Extended Play
Most if not all manufacturer’s of domestic tape based recording systems such as VHS and Hi8 offered different recording speeds to extend the duration of the tapes. In basic terms the speed of the tape while the machine was recording was reduced, this offered longer recording times. There was however a trade off. Image and sound quality suffered in most cases.
A 3 hour VHS tape in LP mode would have the capability to record for 6 hours. Some VHS decks offered an EP mode which further extended the recording times. Most camcorders also offered LP modes to extend the recording times of cassettes which only offered relatively short recording times. A 45 min VHS C could record for up to 90 minutes in LP mode. Professional decks did not offer LP modes and as such cannot play tapes recorded in LP. Domestic VCR’s that offered LP modes automatically detected LP modes by monitoring the control track and adjusting the playback speed accordingly.