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What is MicroMV Format?

By Christian Roemer

The cool thing about being a writer is that I get to learn a bunch of neat things. Often times, I have to do some research to figure out how to say what I need to say, and it’s my responsibility to learn what I’m writing about. This blog is a perfect example of an article that I had to research to know what I was even talking about.

That’s right. I had never heard of MicroMV format before I was given this writing assignment.

So let’s learn together!

First, let’s run down the specs:


Manufacturer: Sony

Year Invented: 2001 (!!!!)

Format: Film

Recording Capacity: 60 Minutes

Notables: It’s the smallest video storage format ever made! It’s about the size of two quarters put next to each other.

Year Discontinued: 2016 (Poor MicroMV)

I feel like we have a lot to parse through here. First of all, how cute are these little tapes? They’re like if VHS tapes and audio cassettes had an adorable little baby! We don’t want to talk about the tragedy that befell MicroMV when it turned 16, but we’ll just say that it started running with the wrong crowd.

The coolest thing about MicroMV is that it’s a strange hybrid between purely digital and purely analog formats. It looks like a miniature version of MiniDV, but it’s even smaller. The truly wild thing is that, while it uses tape, it actually encodes video digitally like on a DVD. In fact, it was meant to be a digital format, with Sony even trying to get exclusive rights to the video editing software needed if you wanted to fiddle with your production.

Basically, MicroMV was a smaller tape version of DVDs. They both worked the same way, except MicroMV was harder to watch, you needed special conversion software, and it didn’t have the universal playback ability of DVDs. There was basically no reason for MicroMVs to ever exist, because they didn’t really do anything new. They didn’t have better capacity, functionality, or quality. They were just different.

Like Zoolander’s cell phone, MicroMV was small for the sake of being small, and that was what was supposed to make it great.

Except it didn’t.

As it turns out, making something as small as possible--or micro--isn’t really all that awesome on its own. If you’re not getting good functionality on top of a conveniently condensed format, there’s not really much of a point in going tiny. That’s probably why MicroMV crashed and burned as quickly as it did.

Aside from being generally pointless (which actually makes me kind of love the MicroMV format), these strange tapes were basically invented at the wrong time. If they would have hit the market about 5 years sooner, we might never have made it to DVDs. Instead, these little boogers were essentially trying to reinvent the wheel, but they made it square instead of round, and nobody saw the point of a square wheel when the round one was doing just fine. 


If you have some of these cute little tapes laying around, don't let your precious memories that are stored on them be forgotten! Send you tiny MicroMV tapes to Southtree today!

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