An A.I. perspective on Standard VHS versus 4:1:1 sampling

is standard VHS closer to 4:1:1 or 4:2:2 subsampling?

Standard VHS video quality does not directly correlate to digital chroma subsampling formats like 4:1:1 or 4:2:2 because VHS is an analog format. However, we can make an approximate comparison based on the effective color resolution and the way VHS handles color information.

VHS Color Resolution

 VHS, an analog format, uses a composite video signal where the luma (brightness) and chroma (color) signals are combined. The color resolution of VHS is significantly lower than its luma resolution. Here’s a general comparison:

  • Luma (Y): VHS can resolve around 240 lines of horizontal resolution.
  • Chroma (C): The color resolution of VHS is much lower, typically around 30-40 lines of horizontal resolution.

Comparison to Digital Chroma Subsampling

When comparing to digital formats:

  • 4:1:1:

    • Luma: 720 pixels per line.
    • Chroma: 180 pixels per line (a quarter of the luma resolution).
  • 4:2:2:

    • Luma: 720 pixels per line.
    • Chroma: 360 pixels per line (half of the luma resolution).

Approximate Digital Equivalent

Given the much lower chroma resolution of VHS, it is closer to 4:1:1 chroma subsampling rather than 4:2:2. Here’s why:

  • Chroma Resolution: The color resolution of VHS is significantly reduced compared to its luma resolution, similar to how 4:1:1 reduces chroma resolution to a quarter of the luma resolution.


While VHS does not use digital chroma subsampling, its effective color resolution is more similar to the 4:1:1 digital format. The 4:1:1 subsampling method reduces chroma resolution significantly, akin to the low chroma resolution of VHS. Therefore, standard VHS is closer to 4:1:1 than to 4:2:2 in terms of effective color resolution.