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We investigated the performance of a barium ferrite tape medium in linear tape recording, using a giant-magnetoresistive read head of 0.5 mum track width. A linear density of 400 kbpi with an error rate of 6 times 10-5 was demonstrated based on measured recording data and a simulated channel with advanced noise predictive maximum likelihood detection schemes. Using a timing-based servo format that reduces the position error signal (PES) due to medium jitter and servo-writer velocity variations, we achieved a PES of 0.07 mum standard deviation and a maximum PES (in a 10-s interval) of 0.35 mum. This PES magnitude allows the writing and reading of 1.5-mum tracks at 400 kbpi, for an equivalent areal density of 6.7 Gb/in2.