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Like Betacam, HDCAM tapes are produced in small and large cassette sizes; the small cassette uses the same form factor as the original Betamax.

The main competitor to HDCAM is the DVCPRO HD format offered by Panasonic.

It uses a similar compression scheme and bit rates ranging from 40 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s depending on frame rate.

Sony has also announced a higher compression mode called "SR Lite".

As with the 440 and 880 mode, SR Lite utilizes the MPEG-4 Part 2 Simple Studio Profile but decreases the bit rate down to 220 Mbit/s for 60i and 183 Mbit/s for 50i.

Tape lengths are the same as for Digital Betacam, up to 40 minutes for S and 124 minutes for L tapes.

In 24p mode the runtime increases to 50 and 155 minutes, respectively.

HDCAM, introduced in 1997, is a high-definition video digital recording videocassette version of digital Betacam, using an 8-bit discrete cosine transform (DCT) compressed 3:1:1 recording, in 1080i-compatible down-sampled resolution of 1440×1080, and adding 24p and 23.976 progressive segmented frame (Ps F) modes to later models.