A new scheme is proposed for the efficient coding of highdefinition television (HDTV) sequences for digital video tape recording. This scheme allows the variable speed playback of recorded material at speeds up to 100 times normal in both the forward and reverse directions. An 8:1 level of compression of the original HDTV data is obtained by exploiting both intraframe and interframe redundancies during the coding process, although the perceptual quality of the reconstructed sequences is uncompromised. To allow the high-quality playback of the recorded data at very high speeds, a hierarchical data structure is employed and the head-positioning capabilities of conventional digital video tape recorders (DVTRs) are exploited to enable the recovery of perceptually vital information at high tape speeds. The performance of the resuIting scheme is examined by simulating the compression and reconstruction of three HDTV sequences at 1, 10, 20, 50, and 100 times normal playback speed.