An introduction to week and year codes

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CalzoneManiac's picture
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09/03/2016
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An introduction to week and year codes

Hello there. CalzoneManiac here to introduce new collectors into the Week and Year code system used on VHS and Beta tapes.

Some tapes (namely, Paramount, Columbia, Universal, Fox, etc.) have a small 3-number code (usually on the top spine, but it can be on the back of the tape or on the side). This three-number code determines the week the tape was pressed. For example, pick up your copy of Jurassic Park. You will probably see something that reads "MCA 427" on the top. The three letters are a code for the distributor (MCA/Universal Home Video) and the three numbers are the week and year code (27th week of 1994 in this instance). Since all of the major VHS distributor companies have evolved labels over the 20+ years of VHS releases, you can infer what the first digit specifically means (weeding out 1984 and 1994 if the labels all say 2004).

The last two digits of the WAYC can be anything from 1 to 52 (53 is used during the very last days of a particular year; anything larger than 53 is an error). As far as I can determine, the first tapes with week and year codes were used in 1981 or 1982, around the same time that other companies began using print date stickers. The latest known tape with a week and year code is the 34th week of 2005.

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03/18/2018
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I know this is late, but this has been so helpful. Thank you very much.