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A theory is presented predicting the performance of thin magnetic tape as a digital storage medium. The NRZ recording properties are discussed with reference to the properties of both the tape and the replay head. Expressions are derived relating the isolated pulse width, the output voltage, and the packing density to the coercivity and thickness of the tape, the head gap length, and the head-to-tape separation. The theoretical predictions are then compared with experimental results measured over a wide range of head and tape properties. The agreement obtained is excellent.