The D2 format at its core was a lower-cost alternative to D1. By using a compressed composite video signal rather than the higher-quality component video standard, some savings were achieved.

D2 used 19mm (3/4") tape loaded into cassettes. PCM-encoded audio and timecode are also recorded on the tape. The tapes are similar to the more popular D1 format, though they are not interchangeable.

D2 has always had a mild stigma associated with it, and as of 2003 only a handful of broadcasters use it, and even then only to access materials recorded when the format was more popular.