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Modern Relics: The cult of the LaserDisc

Modern Relics: The cult of the...
For over 20 years the Laserdisc carved a solid niche in the home entertainment market embraced by cinephiles and setting the precedent for the special feature wave for DVD and Blu-Ray
For over 20 years the Laserdisc carved a solid niche in the home entertainment market embraced by cinephiles and setting the precedent for the special feature wave for DVD and Blu-Ray
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For over 20 years the Laserdisc carved a solid niche in the home entertainment market embraced by cinephiles and setting the precedent for the special feature wave for DVD and Blu-Ray
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For over 20 years the Laserdisc carved a solid niche in the home entertainment market embraced by cinephiles and setting the precedent for the special feature wave for DVD and Blu-Ray

The relentless march of technological development means once cutting edge inventions are continually being relegated to the scrapheap, or at least the musty bottom drawer. From what might have been to what never stood a chance, our Modern Relics video series takes a look back at technology that has fallen by the wayside, found itself on the wrong side of a format war, or was simply superseded by new innovation.

In this episode of our ongoing Modern Relics video series we look at the cult of the LaserDisc, the first optical video disc to hit the market and a format that developed a rabid, albeit small, collective of followers throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Modern Relics: Laserdisc

Anyone out there still rock a laserdisc player? Admittedly there were some pretty amazing releases across the 1990s that to this day haven't been replicated on newer formats. Let us know in the comments below what your experiences with the LaserDisc were like.

Be sure to check out earlier episodes of our Modern Relics series covering those technological fossils such as the Nintendo Virtual Boy and the Sony Walkman.

9 comments
9 comments
Bob Flint
No, but I've been burning my own Blu-rays for over a decade...
Cuckoo
Don't have a laser disk player, but I do have a disk of 2001 A Space Odyssey. I remember buying it from a junk store when I was about 16. There was a bunch of them, including The Wall by Pink Floyd. I keep thinking I should have bought the lot, but there doesn't seem to be much interest in them as collectibles.
MatthewGibb
Laserdisc was first shown to me in 1991, I had no knowledge of it until then. Since that time I have acquired six players and over 200 movies. My passion for laserdisc is huge still as well as it is for vhs, betamax, dvd, blu ray and even older formats than beta such as my Phillips 1972 vcr format machine called the n1500, the first commercially successful vcr format in Europe. I have five pioneer ld players and a Kenwood lvd9200 model. Laser is still my #1 format
Kerry Smith
Yes, I have a Pioneer LD player and maybe 50 discs. Best of the bunch is The Abyss, with many hours of extras about the set build and filming details. And was able to get The Loved One and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines long before they were on DVD.
IvanWashington
how does LD picture quality on digital TVs compare to DVD?
Alan Halfhill
I got started in Laser Disc in the late 1970's. I have 3 Laser Disc players. One from Goodwill. At one time I have had almost 1000 discs. Now I have about 300 of them left. I have given or sold the rest. Most of the titles were replaced with DVD's or Blu-Ray's. Some are not replaceable so the discs and the players. They still play just fine. It was sad to see my collection go worthless because of technology.
Timelord
Still have my last LD player, a Panasonic with an auto-reverse that took about ten seconds for the optical assembly to move to the other side of the disc. Also still have most of the laserdiscs I bought way back when. You neglected to mention that LD was involved in its own format war a la Beta v. VHS and Blu-ray v. HD DVD. RCA had its own disc format, the Capacitance Electronic Disc, CED. That had some of the advantages of a disc (random access, no need to rewind, etc.) but picture quality not much better than videocassette and was subject to wear since it relied on contact between stylus and disc. CED didn't last long in the market.
Bruce Warren
I have had a Pioneer LD-V4200 LaserDisc player since 1986. Still works. My company was doing industrial training and many LaserDiscs were being produced with technical lessons on them. I still have a course on chemical processes by Involve. Also have an original StarWars (2 discs), Garth Brooks concert, and the movie 52 Pickup with Roy Scheider and Ann Margret.
gtittle
I own four Laserdisc players (all auto flippers) and close to 400 movies. I enjoy them and periodically add more more movies.