A digital color television system is described in which only one chrominance component of the video color television signal is transmitted for each television line, and digital delay means is employed for delaying at least one of the two chrominance components I and Q of the color television signal so that the delayed chrominance component can be added to the transmitted television signal to produce output signals having both chrominance components. The system includes a recording apparatus for recording the digital color television signal on a record which may be an optical or magnetic record, and a playback apparatus for playing back the recorded signal to a television receiver or other utilization device. A gate means is provided in the recording apparatus for selectively transmitting a conventional digital color television signal having two chrominance components as an altered digital television signal having only one chrominance component per line which is different on alternate lines. As a result, the amount of information stored on the record is greatly reduced. In one embodiment of the system, the two chrominance components I and Q are recorded between luminance words Y with different chrominance components recorded in alternate television lines. A single digital storage means such as a shift register is used in the playback apparatus. In the other embodiment, the chrominance components are recorded at the end of each television line in the horizontal blanking region, with different chrominance components being recorded in alternate lines. This necessitates two digital storage means of the recirculating type in the playback unit, one storage means for each of the two chrominance components because both are recorded out of their proper sequence with the luminance words.