U-matic is also available in a smaller cassette size, officially known as U-matic S. This was developed as a more portable version of U-matic, to be used in smaller sized S-format recorders such as the Sony VO-3800 (the first portable U-matic S machine released by Sony in 1974) and the Sony BVU-100.
It was the U-matic S-format decks that heralded the beginning of ENG, or Electronic News Gathering.
This High-band format had an greatly improved colour recording system and lower noise levels. BVU gained immense popularity in ENG and location programme-making, spelling the end of 16mm film in everyday production. By the early 1990s, Sony's 1/2" Betacam SP format had almost replaced BVU outside of corporate and 'budget' programme making.
U-matic would also be used for the storage of digital audio data. Most digital audio recordings from the 1980's were digitally mastered to U-matic tape.
decades after it was developed, the format is still used for the simple
tasks of the industry, being more highly specialized and suited to the
needs of production staff than the domestic VHS. However, as time passes
it has been replaced at the bottom of the tree of tape based production
formats by Betacam and Betacam SP as these in turn are replaced by Digital
Betacam and HDCAM.