Jump to content

Laserdisc


RickR
 Share

Recommended Posts

Well, what can I say....it was free and I love old stuff....

 

There is a pretty lively Laserdisc collector community here, and recently a really nice person in the group offered up a player for free.  I've always been curious about the format.  I've owned a few discs over the years just for the cool giant label art.  And the player was slightly broken...I think you all know my fondness for fixing stuff. 

 

So now I'm the owner of a gigantic top-loader Pioneer Laserdisc player.  It's been fixed, and seems to work great.  Here are some pics along with 3 movies I also received. 

 

I've got to be honest, I don't know what to make of the technology.  I surely do appreciate the evolutionary steps for home video...but this player is absolutely enormous!  It must weigh 30 pounds easily.  Takes up my entire workbench.  These movies come on two discs, which means 2 side flips and 1 disc swap for one movie!

 

Anyways, I'm very thankful for the generosity of the guy who gave this to me, and I'm going to keep and enjoy it. 

 

Anyone else have any opinions or memories of this technology?

 

 

post-41-0-59290100-1487524760_thumb.jpg

post-41-0-55795100-1487524761_thumb.jpg

post-41-0-52014700-1487524763_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never had Laserdisc. I watched VHS tapes as a kid, and I think I actually still prefer than over DVDs. We had things happen to our VHS tapes all the time. The tape would tear, the VCR would eat it up, or we would step on the VHS and break it. But Dad would fix them. If the tape was wrinkled so badly in one area that it wouldn't play past that point, all Dad had to do was use scissors to cut the small portion out, tape the two ends back together with scotch tape, and the tape played fine again. There would be slight static when it got to that point, and about two seconds of film would be skipped over, but my brothers and I didn't care. If the VHS tape got stepped on, Dad would just put the tape into a different casing. We still have VHS tapes that are almost twenty years old, that have been repaired many times, and most of them still play just fine.

 

DVD on the other hand? You get a single scratch on one, and it will probably never play again. And when you have little kids in the family, it's going to get a scratch on it.

 

If we had Laserdisc growing up, they probably wouldn't have lasted very long. I knew about Laserdisc since at least the seventh grade, and I knew that it was a predecessor to DVD, but I didn't know what a Laserdisc looked like. Then, a couple years ago, we went to a pawn shop, and they had this big box of VHS tapes (we bought about thirty of them), and a stack of Laserdiscs (which we didn't buy). I noticed how big the boxes were for Laserdiscs, and I asked the guy at the counter, "We're Laserdiscs really this big?" He said they were, and he actually took one out of the box for my family to see, and then he hooked up a Laserdisc player to a TV that he had in the corner of the room, and played "The Mask" on it. That was pretty cool.

 

Kind of an interesting historical piece of video hardware, but I can see why they didn't last very long. I can guarantee that we would have had a lot of those break had we used them way back then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never owned laser discs myself, but I remember when they were popular. I also remember a similar type of movie that you all have heard of: CED (Capacitance Electronic Disc), which is a movie disc that was really a record. They were popular around the time of Laserdisc. However, they phased out as well. The process of making CEDs is well hidden. No one knows how to do it anymore. I think RCA still has the writing technology, but they have not shared it with anyone else. They are just resting on their laurels with it when they could find an advanced way of producing it for the populace. I am sure that it can be done. but, that is just me. Laserdisc, however, was still being produced in the 1990s. I remember "Down Periscope" in widescreen format on Laserdisc. It was and is a great format for watching movies. I also like the Laserdisc games, Like "Dragon's Lair", and "Space Ace". Those were the best games I played in a long time. I could not beat them in the arcades, but did on the Atari Jaguar. Pretty cool stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very beautiful machine you have there!  And it was one of the first models I believe.  And if I'm not mistaken that model is closely related to the same players found in the arcade cabs Dragon's Lair and others.  

 

As for copy protection...it's there.  CEDs have it, too.  Some of them anyway.  The 200 plus CEDs I had in the past I tried to put on VHS before the player and movies gave out.  Only a handful of CEDs copied including Annie and couple of others.  A few MGM musicals and most of the Disney movies didn't.  It's hit and miss.  All you can do is try it and see.  

 

LaserDiscs are still analog.  They are not digital.  Basically what went on CED and VHS also went on LaserDiscs.  If copy-protection was in other formats they might be on the laserdisc versions as well.  

 

RickR sounds like me.  My player I paid for but it was damaged.  I had to literally remove the facing to fix the frame of the player.  It was badly dented (still has one dent in the rear which is not seen in the entertainment center), the door on the loading tray looked like someone kicked it in, and it simply refused to power on. It took me about an hour to rebuild it but once I did it worked just find.  It's been working ever since.  The Pioneer emblem is missing but that's about all that is.  No remote but almost every feature can be accessed on the front panel.  It even has a headphone jack and volume control.

 

post-870-0-90376900-1487577508.jpg

 

This is what mine looks like.

 

And if you want more movies http://www.discountlaserdisc.com/

 

It is an interesting format with good picture and sound...just be prepared for laser rot.  Not all will but the LD format was bad about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never owned laser discs myself, but I remember when they were popular. I also remember a similar type of movie that you all have heard of: CED (Capacitance Electronic Disc), which is a movie disc that was really a record. They were popular around the time of Laserdisc. However, they phased out as well. The process of making CEDs is well hidden. No one knows how to do it anymore. I think RCA still has the writing technology, but they have not shared it with anyone else. They are just resting on their laurels with it when they could find an advanced way of producing it for the populace. I am sure that it can be done. but, that is just me. Laserdisc, however, was still being produced in the 1990s. I remember "Down Periscope" in widescreen format on Laserdisc. It was and is a great format for watching movies. I also like the Laserdisc games, Like "Dragon's Lair", and "Space Ace". Those were the best games I played in a long time. I could not beat them in the arcades, but did on the Atari Jaguar. Pretty cool stuff.

 

Check out this site, BlackCatz40: http://www.cedmagic.com/selectavision.html

 

Tom has put a LOT of work into this site and CED technology.  Every player, patent, movie, known to exist on the CED format can most likely be looked up here...not for sale mind you but just a historical point-of-view.

 

It's really no secret any more how they did it.  I already posted this somewhere on here but for ease of finding it...

 

During the last production run, RCA gave the employees this movie.  Japan also adopted the technology that actually sold very well known as VHD (Video High Density).  They made a smaller disc that held two frames per revolution, was slightly smaller in size, and corrected some of the player issues RCA models had.  I spent years studying the technology myself once I inherited a few players and movies from all of the family members on my dad's side of the family.  One was a stereo model (SJT-200) that played well.  But since most movies were mono I didn't use the stereo sound much.  I would really like to get another CED player and movies sometime as there are movies on CED that simply are not found on other formats.

 

I did attempt to clean CEDs I had to help them play, which did work, but I didn't know about the oil on the discs to protect the stylus at the time.  So my players' styluses wore out at a faster rate.  I was in the process of trying to find a replacement oil I could spray on the discs but never found a silicon oil anywhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the bright side (or negative side from my wife's perspective), this gives me one more thing to hunt for at Goodwill.  Laserdisc movies. 

If you don't mind movie ratings, Heavy Metal on the LD absolutely ROCKS!!  I had a gatefold Independence Day LD over a decade ago when I tried to pick up and collect movies for the format.  I had an older model LD I found and fixed it as well.  It and the movies, of course, got lost during a divorce.  But I enjoy the technology and CEDs, too.    

 

Here's my actual player.  I tried to capture the dents it has.  I wish I would have taken before and after pics but when I got it I was so upset on the condition that I didn't think about it.  I just wanted to try to get it going again.  It's working and just turned 20 in November.

 

post-870-0-89414300-1487644592_thumb.jpg

 

post-870-0-37644200-1487644594_thumb.jpg

 

post-870-0-77651800-1487644595_thumb.jpg

 

post-870-0-42960300-1487644597_thumb.jpg

 

I would like to find a replacement Pioneer emblem but not a big deal.  I would, however, like to get an original remote for the thing.

 

RickR and Atari Creep...I'll join you guys on collecting LD movies.  I absolutely love this format.  Give me stereo sound!  I don't need HD video.  480 (or a little less) works just fine for me.  With that being said what movies would you keep an eye out for?  Here are the LD movies I'm looking for:  replacing Independence Day and Heavy Metal (love the soundtrack :D ), Iron Giant, Iron Eagle, and original Star Trek episodes.  Seriously...check out that discount LD link I shared and do a Star Trek search.  There are TONs of LD episodes for Trek fans.  

 

My LD collection pales in comparison to other formats in the house.  I don't have a Blu-Ray player and have no intentions of picking one up.  I'm not a HD fan.  VHS and DVD seem to be battling dominance here.  LD...I currently have:

  • Disney's Santa Clause (Letterbox)
  • Bambi
  • Mrs. Doubtfire (Widescreen Edition Double Disc)
  • Might Ducks
  • Little Women (Widescreen Edition Double Disc)
  • Driving Miss Daisy (Widescreen Edition)
  • Glenn Miller Story (Love these historical talents)
  • Bridge On The River Kwai (Double Disc)
  • Kramer vs. Kramer (Widescreen - this one was new...until I got it)
  • Searching For Bobby Fischer (Widescreen)
  • 3 Ninjas

One thing to keep in mind, just in case it is not known, the "widescreen" editions will have the black bars across the top and bottom of the screen.  Even playing them on a HDTV will not do anything to remove those black bars.  On the bright side the movies I have do not have any of those annoying advertisements.  You might get some of the opening animations for Pioneer Laserdisc and Dolby (which are both really cool to watch) but other than that it's straight to the movie.  And I don't mind having to turn the movie over to finish it as that allows time for a bathroom break and to get more popcorn, candy, and drinks ;)  

 

You have a good player there RickR!  I really hope you get some enjoyment out of it.  There's a LOT of content on this format should you choose to seek it.  I'm not sure but I think all three Back To The Future movies made it to LD where as only the first one made it to the CED format.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never had Laserdisc. I watched VHS tapes as a kid, and I think I actually still prefer than over DVDs. We had things happen to our VHS tapes all the time. The tape would tear, the VCR would eat it up, or we would step on the VHS and break it. But Dad would fix them. If the tape was wrinkled so badly in one area that it wouldn't play past that point, all Dad had to do was use scissors to cut the small portion out, tape the two ends back together with scotch tape, and the tape played fine again. There would be slight static when it got to that point, and about two seconds of film would be skipped over, but my brothers and I didn't care. If the VHS tape got stepped on, Dad would just put the tape into a different casing. We still have VHS tapes that are almost twenty years old, that have been repaired many times, and most of them still play just fine.

DVD on the other hand? You get a single scratch on one, and it will probably never play again. And when you have little kids in the family, it's going to get a scratch on it.

If we had Laserdisc growing up, they probably wouldn't have lasted very long. I knew about Laserdisc since at least the seventh grade, and I knew that it was a predecessor to DVD, but I didn't know what a Laserdisc looked like. Then, a couple years ago, we went to a pawn shop, and they had this big box of VHS tapes (we bought about thirty of them), and a stack of Laserdiscs (which we didn't buy). I noticed how big the boxes were for Laserdiscs, and I asked the guy at the counter, "We're Laserdiscs really this big?" He said they were, and he actually took one out of the box for my family to see, and then he hooked up a Laserdisc player to a TV that he had in the corner of the room, and played "The Mask" on it. That was pretty cool.

Kind of an interesting historical piece of video hardware, but I can see why they didn't last very long. I can guarantee that we would have had a lot of those break had we used them way back then.

Laserdisc actually beat CED to the market during the late 1970's. Their is an Airport movie that briefly shows a LD player and movie being loaded during a flight. I'll see if I can find more info on it. I think that it might have been Discovision but pretty much same technologies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laserdiscs were the gateway media for me, as Criterion and MGM discs brought Special Features to their line-up.

And since they were too expensive for me to own, I could actually rent out a player for the weekend along with a half-dozen titles and rip through them, sleeplessly, until all commentary and all extras were covered.

It was like film school, with intensely-produced materials by film-lovers who never put together fodder like today's 'film-clip>talking-head>film-clip' marketing approach to extras.

 

Criterion's Magnificent Ambersons had never-before-seen and never-since-seen background info and stills from the original print of Welles unsung classic.

Scorcese breezed through Taxi Driver in a stream of insanely informative and entertaining commentary (I think that one got eventually re-released, not sure).

Midnight Cowboy had loving tributes to every aspect of this stunner.

 

MGM's Bond films had commentary so candid the studio quickly pulled them and recorded new tracks.

 

Laserdisc brought the idea of DVDs as a new staple and we lucked out, eventually.

But yeah, like atarifan mentions, these are a fragile format.

DVDs get scratched to uselessness too easily, and laserdiscs suffer from disc rot, eventually.

 

So far, Blu Rays are cool for this, having more wear-resistant coatings.

But I wonder what the future holds for us movie fans.

 

I'd say, if you're into laserdisc collecting, take the opportunity to get your fave titles with bonus features, if possible, cuz most of these extras have never been released in other formats.

 

Yeah laserdiscs are cool.

And the units are heavy, from what I remember bringing them back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice rick! I have a few laserdiscs myself, but no player to watch them on. Ive always been fascinating by laserdiscs one day ill get my hands on player, but for now ill stick to the vhs tapes

You'll need more than your hands.  You'll need some biceps and a strong back too -- these things are heavy!

 

 

Edited by RickR
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I mentioned that we have a laserdisc collection group on Facebook for this area -- they mention all the time of finding players at goodwill or thrift shops in town.  I know for sure by the markings on the back of mine that it came from a thrift shop that I know of, and the discs from Goodwill.  So keep your eyes out.  The players are easy to miss since they look so much like the 5 disc carousel CD players. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I sent you Bambi....and I'm glad I did.  It's a great feeling to give stuff to a collector that keeps and enjoys stuff.  Cheers!

Yep...and I couldn't thank you enough for that.  

 

What got me back in to laserdiscs was shortly after I met my wife we paid a visit to our local goodwill.  I was going through their vinyl LP stack when I seen three LD movies.  That's where I found Disney's Santa Claus for $1.  I didn't grab the others because I wasn't sure if I would find a player.  I went back the next day to grab the other movies and they were already gone.  I don't think our Goodwill realized what these were.

 

My wife did get a bit upset for having movies we couldn't play, then I grabbed a player that had been literally beaten up, but you, RickR, sent my wife's favorite Disney movie so the player and other movies quickly became a small investment she became OK with.  So, yes, I couldn't thank you enough for sending that particular movie.  And I wouldn't mind having someone to share in the collection adventure with at home and online.  It's a good format.  Players are heavy, yes, but they are built like tanks and unlike almost every piece of "junk" gear we get now a days they are built to last as long as possible.  Much like the CED players, too.  Those can last just as long when cared for properly and well maintained.

 

I have ordered movies from Discount Laserdisc in the past and shortly after I got the player I have now with good results.  The prices on his stuff and shipping might seem a bit high at times but most of the good stuff can be picked up for $5 or less.  I got 10 movies last time and did have to pay $15 on top of that for shipping but it was worth it and the discs were well packed.

 

You'll need more than your hands.  You'll need some biceps and a strong back too -- these things are heavy!

 

I'm putting it on my project list to transfer one of my laserdisc movies to VHS.  Why?  I have no idea.  It just sounds interesting to me. 

If you can find an older one, and have a computer to use it on, you could transfer these, and VHS, to a digital format with an ATI All-In-Wonder.  I use to have one a long time ago and was converting my favorite VHS movies to AVI format.  Worked OK for me...just don't expect to get anything of HD quality.

 

 

Laserdiscs were the gateway media for me, as Criterion and MGM discs brought Special Features to their line-up.

And since they were too expensive for me to own, I could actually rent out a player for the weekend along with a half-dozen titles and rip through them, sleeplessly, until all commentary and all extras were covered.

It was like film school, with intensely-produced materials by film-lovers who never put together fodder like today's 'film-clip>talking-head>film-clip' marketing approach to extras.

 

Criterion's Magnificent Ambersons had never-before-seen and never-since-seen background info and stills from the original print of Welles unsung classic.

Scorcese breezed through Taxi Driver in a stream of insanely informative and entertaining commentary (I think that one got eventually re-released, not sure).

Midnight Cowboy had loving tributes to every aspect of this stunner.

 

MGM's Bond films had commentary so candid the studio quickly pulled them and recorded new tracks.

 

 

The Independence Day LD I had was the Letterbox edition on two discs and in a gatefold sleeve.  I think that is why I enjoy this format so much because I always loved the packaging some of the vinyl LPs came in.  The artwork was absolutely some of the best seen on any format in the music and video industries in my opinion.  You can't do that with digital downloads and DVDs, as nice as they are, miss this most of the time.  The Driving Miss Daisy I have on LD is a single disc but also in a gatefold with inside information about the movie that VHS didn't have.  It's those little extras that really make laserdiscs shine and worth collecting.  But, just like video games, I wouldn't buy them if I didn't intend to complete the cycle of watching them, too.  

 

If you are interested in computer animation the Mind's Eye has some cool compilations of computer animated shorts.  I use to have this one on VHS and loved it.  I played it so much that I wore out my copy and have not been able to find it until I discovered Discount Laserdiscs.  They have it but I have not jumped on picking it up yet.  

 

I wonder if your player, RickR, can play CDs?  I don't know if all of them can or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Join the Atari Party! :donkey_kong_big:

    How lucky are you that you've finally found this place?
    It's time to join the best kept secret in classic gaming.
    Membership is limited, so let's get started! :wreck-it-ralph:

     

×
×
  • Create New...