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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

datvideo: Storing Video on Digital Audio Tape (DAT)

About a year ago I added a Digital Audio Tape (DAT) deck to my home theater system. I was turned onto the format by popular Youtuber and a great video that he produced: . I had wanted to add magnetic tape to my home theater for some time and this highly unique format seemed like a perfect choice.

Big Buck Bunny from DAT Tape
Shortly after purchasing the deck I realized that I could likely store any arbitrary binary data on the tape with the input/output. It would be really cool to merge some modern high-compression video codec with this antiquated format. Over this weekend I decided to do just that.


I wrote a small tool called that allows storing arbitrary binary data on the tape. This tool is used to grab raw audio binary data from a sound card, search for frames of binary data, decode them and emit them into another file. This can be assembled into a pipeline to feed video data into a player such as mplayer. How cool is that?

Sony DTC-690, below Marantz Blu-Ray, AV Receiver and New-Old-Stock DAT Tapes
In this article, I will walk you through how I pulled this off.

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