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post #1 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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sorry if this has been flogged to death or is just plain obvious, but LD was a little before my time. was it considered successful? i know it was always a niche product, but it had star wars, spawned the criterion collection, etc. seems like a success to me, even if it sold 10k's of copies instead of millions. i see people talking about the 1000+ titles they still have on LD and it sounds successful enough as a format for me.

i'm asking because i expect hd will hang on long enough until universal players are the norm, then both formats will stay alive (bd with region encoding and drm for the paranoid studios, hd for the cheap/small run studios, with maybe some of the red-laser hd sprinkled in for shorts/tv/indies/public domain publishers/personal HD recorders). all this, plus the fact that DVD is good enough for J6P and completely entrenched, tell me that both formats together will still just be niche players. but if my (admittedly ignorant) opinion of LD is correct, that's good enough for me.

for the record, i'm an early adopter only because i could get the HD add-on for $200. except for that bias, i'd be happy with either format dominant. if i can only get half of my future purchases in hi def, i'll be satisfied (with only around 150 SD's i'm not the collecting fiend some of you are).

the perspectives of you grizzled ancients are very much appreciated!

- Chris
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post #2 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 06:17 PM
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It was a niche product that never achieved mass market but was extremely powerful in setting future trends.

For many years, film directors fought for the priviledge of doing commentary tracks and director's cuts on LD, for example.

LD had an exclusive feel.

I have a collection of 600 LD's and really treasure them. It is hard to buy DVD's or Blu-rays to replace them in many cases. Beautiful packaging etc.
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post #3 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 06:27 PM
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Yes. I still have some LD and still buying them especially the DTS versions.


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post #4 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 06:43 PM
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LD was a hit. Let's not forget there were still many without VCRs of either kind then as well. I ran a video store then, and we carried LD until 1999-2000. We had thousands of titles, and there were over 10,000 available. From LD came all of your Special Editions, Commentary, Director's Cuts, extras, etc. LaserDisc was the great format of the late 80's and early 90's. There was no other way to experience the video and audio quality they delivered. When I saw the first public demonstration of what was to become DVD, I was shocked. It looked like a realy low-bitrate AVI or Quicktime. Sony's MMCD version was much better, but had its own set of issues. "Is this what you're giving us instead of LD?" I recall myself saying. The first DVDs were weak, and we had them long before most of the US (I found out later). The whole first batch was recalled, and meanwhile LD was still selling and renting well. Its really only when they decided to end it with "The Matrix," that the deal was done.

I still have quite a few obscure LDs that will likely never see the light of day on any HD format, and not that it would matter (SD origin, or quality not excellent from source). I am still suprised how many bizarre catalog titles finally made it to DVD, but for many, it took over 20 years from the original LD release.

I remember when they were filming a Mel Gibson movie in the parking lot, and I went to have Mel sign my Lethal Weapon LaserDisc. He looked at it, and said "what the hell is this?" (in Australian accent). "It's a movie!" I said. He was confused. He'd never seen one.

It was a specialty, but one store (Dave's) had LD exclusively for many years, and was quite profitable. Only when DVD came around, did it finally kill the independent video store.

Somewhere I have a photo of a hanging mobile comprised entirely of LDs. They sure were cool to look at.

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post #5 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 07:31 PM
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People who had LD and collected them are definitely video hobbyists, and pioneered (pun intended) most of the innovations we see in video today. Widescreen movies, AC-3 audio, special features, we had them and the VHS types did not. I still have some outstanding LDs that have not made it to DVD (Tokyo Pop - where are you?).

Probably a lot of LD afficionados were Beta refugees who refused to submit to the VHS mediocrity.

We had mail order companies who specialized in importing LDs from Japan - the forerunners of Yesasia and CD Japan today. It was great fun to travel to Tokyo, and rummage through the shops in Akihabara and find hundreds of LDs you would want to bring back. Unfortunately, cost and weight usually limited you to only a few per trip.

Then along came DVD, with its Region Coding. That nearly killed the importing hobby, until region free DVD players came along. DVDs outclassed LDs in just about every way, but especially in the areas of anamorphic widescreen, and the ease of getting DD 5.1.

Now comes the high-def media. Both formats make DVD look bad, although scaling will redeem the legacy stuff. Videophiles can once again import from Asia with impunity, since Asia and North America are in the same region. But what about Europe? If the BBC releases Doctor Who box sets in HD on Blu-Ray, will they be playable in the US or not?

Even though LD fell to more advanced technology, so will DVD eventually. Internet downloading and the HD formats will move the marketplace away from regular DVDs just as surely as DVDs drew away the LD crowd.
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post #6 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Shing View Post

People who had LD and collected them are definitely video hobbyists, and pioneered (pun intended) most of the innovations we see in video today. Widescreen movies, AC-3 audio, special features, we had them and the VHS types did not. I still have some outstanding LDs that have not made it to DVD (Tokyo Pop - where are you?).

Probably a lot of LD afficionados were Beta refugees who refused to submit to the VHS mediocrity.

We had mail order companies who specialized in importing LDs from Japan - the forerunners of Yesasia and CD Japan today. It was great fun to travel to Tokyo, and rummage through the shops in Akihabara and find hundreds of LDs you would want to bring back. Unfortunately, cost and weight usually limited you to only a few per trip.

Then along came DVD, with its Region Coding. That nearly killed the importing hobby, until region free DVD players came along. DVDs outclassed LDs in just about every way, but especially in the areas of anamorphic widescreen, and the ease of getting DD 5.1.

Now comes the high-def media. Both formats make DVD look bad, although scaling will redeem the legacy stuff. Videophiles can once again import from Asia with impunity, since Asia and North America are in the same region. But what about Europe? If the BBC releases Doctor Who box sets in HD on Blu-Ray, will they be playable in the US or not?

Even though LD fell to more advanced technology, so will DVD eventually. Internet downloading and the HD formats will move the marketplace away from regular DVDs just as surely as DVDs drew away the LD crowd.

Doctor Who is not in HD. It is done in widescreen SD. HD DVD has no region coding.
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post #7 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Shing View Post

Even though LD fell to more advanced technology, so will DVD eventually. Internet downloading and the HD formats will move the marketplace away from regular DVDs just as surely as DVDs drew away the LD crowd.

well that's what i'm wondering. just looking for parallels between VHS/LD and DVD/HD-BD, it sounds to me like the hobbyists were enough to keep LD going in spite of the mass market VHS, until they were replaced by DVD.

so i'm hoping hobbyists will be able to keep HD-BD alive until they and DVD are both replaced by downloads or whatever. (and even then, i think there will still be a market for the ownership of the physical medium. collecting's just not the same if you're only filling up a hard drive)

thanks for the comments guys.

- Chris
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post #8 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CKNA View Post

Doctor Who is not in HD. It is done in widescreen SD. HD DVD has no region coding.

Ok, I'll just download it from the Internet instead of buying the DVDs in the future, then.

I heard that HD DVD is studying implementing region coding at the behest of the MPAA.
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post #9 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 08:34 PM
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The "hobbiest" keeping the LD format alive was one of the reasons for the cost of titles( disc approx $6 ea for small qty), most noteabily the special editions. As the take a lot more work with very little profit, due to amount of buyers, thus increasing prices even more. I dont want to see higher prices for BD and HD DVD. But this format war may prevent the further increase in price.

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post #10 of 1090 Old 03-08-2007, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randosel View Post

The "hobbiest" keeping the LD format alive was one of the reasons for the cost of titles( disc approx $6 ea for small qty), most noteabily the special editions. As the take a lot more work with very little profit, due to amount of buyers, thus increasing prices even more. I dont want to see higher prices for BD and HD DVD. But this format war may prevent the further increase in price.

LD was great in it's day, and it's day was not all that short. It's biggest thrill for me was getting to see all my favorite Horror and other oddball stuff from the 50's, 60's and 70's in it's proper aspect ratio for the first time, rather than the bleary pan-and-scan VHS tape versions. You would'nt see widescreen DVD had laser not pushed that envelope.

The cover-art was a real treat, and i suppose it felt more "special" to get something on LD.

The biggest drawback to me was "laser-rot" which was presumed to be the bulky sandwiched platters developing flaws due to breakdown in the adhesives. I think I had about a 17% rot-rate before I sold my collection. Sadly it was some of the $70 - $100 Criterion titles that had the most trouble. HALLOWEEN rotted for most of us.
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post #11 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 05:59 AM
 
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It lasted almost 20 years. It had digital sound before the CD. It is still being used by Kodak in a mainframe computer image storage systems (CAV) as you could get 54,000 images per side with each their own frame #.

Seinfield was recorded onto LD in the last few years of the shows main run.

LS was available as HD-LD in Japan and was called Hi-Vision.

The first "enhanced for 16x9 TV's" was not DVD . . .it was LD (THE FUGITIVE)

If we had stuck with it instead of the "sexy" DVD we could have Super HDTV (2500x2000) instead of our normal 1920x1080 HDTV.

It brought attention to the P & S versus OAR issue (and with it brought the lovely black bars)

I have one LD left - Criterion CAV of BLADE RUNNER (out of about 800) and when BR comes to HiDef DVD, I am throwing the LD and the Sony POS 10000 LD player in the garbage.

SIDENOTE: LD was heralded as the highest consumer format available (425 lines) but that was not a truth. It was the highest playback format. Sony had introduced ED-BETA which was 500 lines.

I also believe that LD ushered in the birth of the big screen RPTV and started the actual trend of building HT's as a seperate room.

It served us VERY well both as a format and more important as a foundation to those formats that have followed like DVD and HiDef DVD.
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post #12 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

I have one LD left - Criterion CAV of BLADE RUNNER (out of about 800) and when BR comes to HiDef DVD, I am throwing the LD and the Sony POS 10000 LD player in the garbage.

You should put the disc on eBay and let someone who might actually appreciate it have it.

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post #13 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Shing View Post


Probably a lot of LD aficionados were Beta refugees who refused to submit to the VHS mediocrity.

I definitely was one of those folks.
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post #14 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 07:27 AM
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It was for me and I enjoyed my discs. It was a sad day when my player broke (for the third time) and I decided it was time to move on.
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post #15 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 08:50 AM
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LD was a successful niche product. It never reached any sort of penetration into mainstream. Only a few stores rented them. Forget about Blockbuster. Generally just mom and pop video rental stores and I think because the owner had a LD player. Not even close to all titles came out on it.

It makes you wonder of the "war" will infact ever end. Does HD DVD need to be the sole source of HD movies for it to survive?

mmm...Remember the smell of a freshly opened LD? And that beautiful cover art. I bought my first LD player in 84. Still have one for those few must have titles that aren't out on DVD or HD. LD really had a special feel that I haven't gotten since. I don't miss having to play the six sides of the 2001 CAV edition even though we didn't complain at the time.

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post #16 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 09:18 AM
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Laserdisc was the Only way to watch Star Wars in DD for many years before it was available on DVD. For some reason I treasure my Star Wars SE LD collection and perfere it to the DVD box set. However DVD is more convienant.

HD-DVD: 115 Blu: 6
Latest HD-DVD: All of them at Frys for under $10.

Latest BD: No incentive to pick up discs now that the format war is over. Netflix via xbox and mail is more that sufficient.
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post #17 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 09:34 AM
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I sold half my LD collection and have about 80 left . Bought African Queen off e-bay a few weeks ago . My Ld player switches sides automatically ...Still have it ..Plays dvd also ..

We had a very good LD store in the area . I bought the first player , a used rental for $100.00 . Bought a newer player and sold the old one for $100.00 ...
Could buy the rental discs for a good deal too ...

Ld lasted a very long time ...It beat RCA's CED disc . It was a record inside a sleeve .
It skipped , well , like a record too unfortunatly ...

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post #18 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HB GAMER View Post

Laserdisc was the Only way to watch Star Wars in DD for many years before it was available on DVD. For some reason I treasure my Star Wars SE LD collection and perfere it to the DVD box set. However DVD is more convienant.

I also prefer the LDs over DVDs. This is probably due to the great packaging of the SW SE, having a box looking like the death-star :-) , nice LD jackets, poster, and the great George Lucas book. A must have for the SW fan.

Regarding LD: there were probably more than 40.000 titles released on LD over the 25! years the format existed. Almost non-existent in Europe (except for a few thousand titles released in France and GB) it was widespread in the US and Japan. The last LD was pressed in 2001 I think, and many enthusiasts feel sorrow that not at least one single production line was kept to produce small runs of very rare and fast deteriorating discs.

I started collecting LDs probably 3 years ago which some of you could consider "crazy" given that the format was already dead at that time, but I enjoy the analog look of the uncompressed picture, and the great sound, if present in DD or DTS. I've collected 250 titles of all genres and I'm still buying titles.

Interestingly there existed a small number of Highdefinition-LDs (MUSE HiVision) --- around 100 titles. Picture format was 1920x1035i/60Hz. I own 39 of them and they look really nice on my HD-TV.

Here is a source for further reading: www.lddb.com

Laserdiscs: ~350
HiVision LDs: 42
HD DVD count: 379 / still 20 on the wishlist
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post #19 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by HB GAMER View Post

Laserdisc was the Only way to watch Star Wars in DD for many years before it was available on DVD. For some reason I treasure my Star Wars SE LD collection and perfere it to the DVD box set. However DVD is more convienant.

The Special addition may have provided AC-3 (DD), but it also included a bunch of Lucas re-visualizations that didn't go down that well with me.

My favorites are the original Fox LBX Dolby Prologic LD's -- I transferred them to DVD last summer. I feel them to be the most close to my original theater experience of all the Star Wars releases to date -- and I own several . Those are the only ones I actually watch.
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post #20 of 1090 Old 03-09-2007, 11:47 PM
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I never plan to replace many of the movies I own on LD. Too many memories there.

I just watched my Spartacus Criterion LD a few weeks ago. Holds up pretty well technically, the film itself is a masterpiece. I gather that the new HD DVD of the title is a disaster.
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post #21 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Chemist View Post

LD was a successful niche product. It never reached any sort of penetration into mainstream. Only a few stores rented them. Forget about Blockbuster. Generally just mom and pop video rental stores and I think because the owner had a LD player. Not even close to all titles came out on it. .

But many, many did. Russ Meyer films, Criterion releasing the Janus collection at a quality previously unknown. When you only press 800-1200 titles of something, and they all are going to sell, there is a great freedom in what you can release, so a lot of oddball stuff made it to laser (see if Disney ever puts Song of the South out again).

It was also such a small market, that studio's seemed much more willing to sub-let their vault materials to companies like Image.
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post #22 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 01:18 AM
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LD was the format for videophiles and film buffs. Expensive as hell, limited, and classy. DVD never really achieved that special feeling.
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post #23 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 05:39 AM
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I still own a Panny dual side LD player and a handful of LD movies.
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post #24 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 06:06 AM
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I also believe that LD ushered in the birth of the big screen RPTV

It did for me. My first big screen 60" Mitsi", 3:4 screen, around 1990. I had a Pioneer (still do) LD player that automatically switiched sides, a bid deal. Titles were in CLV or CAV formats. The difference (at the time) between VHS and LD was considerable, actually breath-taking on some titles.
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post #25 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 06:20 AM
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My LD player is still connected to my rack. I don't think I've played a single LD in like 5 or 6 years. Maybe I should auction off my small collection of SW, JP, ET, etc. Would the price be worth the effort?

Edit: Nevermind. I just checked the auction site and it's not worth it. I'll just keep it and when I need the room, I'll donate it to some collector.

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post #26 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 06:47 AM
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I too still have my laser player hooked up.
I haven't turned it on in over 6 years.
(the sound of JP is much better on laser- but I always play the DVD....go figure)

I keep the player for the off chance I want to play SE extras that never made it to DVD.
For instance I think the Big SE box of E.T. has audition material that is not on the DVD.
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post #27 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 07:42 AM
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I've had a little problem with laser rot on some older titles. I must go through my movies some day and see whats left.

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post #28 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 09:27 AM
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Gatefold jackets...YUM!!


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post #29 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 10:33 AM
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I still have my LD player in my rack, hooked up (Pioneer CLD-D703). Looks horrible on the big screen (no outboard scaler), but for some odd reason, I won't get rid of it.

A) The thing still works. That says a lot when my first LD player died in 1994...a whole 3 years of owning it.

B) There are movies that will never see the light of day on DVD/HD formats. Yes, Star Wars (I have three versions of the original trilogy on LD...Fox LBX, THX remaster, and SE, but my favorite in the bunch is the Criterion Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The DVD has some missing scenes (Neary at the power plant before he heads out in his truck, etc) and I just can't let it go. Also Monty Python and the Holy Grail criterion with Japanese dubbing...a classic.

Also, how many of you got some of your discs through Columbia House? That's how I got the original SW Trilogy (when they were $80 a pop). Got them for a penny.

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post #30 of 1090 Old 03-10-2007, 11:41 AM
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You still can't get "The Compleat Tex Avery" box set on DVD, and if you can in the future, it'll no doubt end up censored or with obnoxious
DVNR
, like the incompetently made French DVDs.

David Mackenzie
DVD/BD Compressionist/Author
Reviewer & Tech Consultant, HDTVtest
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