"laserdisc is dead! long live the laserdisc!" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 06-21-2009, 03:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Once upon a time, a webmaster that I consider now a friend wrote: "laserdisc in not dead, it had only retired"... but, after I read the news that Pioneer decided to abandon the format, I cried and screamed: "laserdisc is dead! long live the laserdisc!" as the people once upon a time usually scream when a beloved king die...

I love the laserdisc: it's part of my life! It was my first video format, I bought the first laserdisc with the woman who is now my wife, many of my birthday and Christmas presents were laserdiscs, my two children grew up watching laserdiscs before DVD was ubiquitous!

I have so many laserdiscs that I don't remember (well, indeed I have a complete database in my computer, and they are over 2400, but let me be poetic ;-) ), so many laserdisc players to set the grandsons of my grandsons ready to watch all my entire collection (at least, the laserrot free ones that will remains...).

I knew that last movies were released almost a decade ago, the only brand new players are some combi LD/DVD, but this piece of news was so tragic... like when you don't see a friend for a long time, sure he's busy as everyone but healthy, and one day you discover he passed away the day before! But he will live in your memory, forever...

Well, after some time of sadness and depression, I decided to do something to honor the memory of the laserdisc; I owe it this! I decided to write a book about it! Share all the knowledge I learned on the magazines, newspapers, books in the past 15 years and the information gathered over the web in the past 10 years, to let the people know the "truth" about it.

Now it's time for you to raise your right eyebrow just like Mister Spock, stare for a while with your hand on your chin, scratch your head, mumble some more, and finally say "who in the whole world needs a book about laserdisc nowadays?", then you will suppose that the information floating around the web about the laserdisc argument are enough for everyone; but I kindly disagree.

Let me explain my reasons: it's true, if you search on every search engine, results will contain million pages with the word LASERDISC, but effectively there are so few websites devoted to it, that you can count on your fingers, if you are lucky.
I talk about the websites of the laserdisc aficionados, and I remember here the most important (to me, at least) in no particular order: [b]the laserdisc database, BlamLD, LaserGuru, Laserdisc Archive, Leopold FAQ, Robert Niland FAQ,[/] and also the wikipedia page.

I agree, all these places are useful and everyone who are involved in the laserdisc world should visit them, but I think someone, after visiting these websites, say "I want to know more!, I NEED to know more!". Usually, at this point someone will answer: "Well, buy a book about the argument!" but I could say, honestly, that there is no book that talks about laserdisc, at least no one like "DVD demystified", for example.

Obviously, don't forget all the countless threads in this forum and others, and also the ones on Google groups; there are important supporters who posted in the years, like Joshua, Julien, Kurtis, Douglas, Iain, Kevin, Ty, Christopher, Rachel, Nicholas, Hartmut... it's impossible to name all here!

Literally, there are thousand important bits of info here and there, little chunk of data, curiosities that it's impossible to know them all. Something is saved now thanks to the internet archive, but many, too many things are simply not around, they are vanished. Fortunately, I'm keeping save them on my hard disk, everything, quite every day, about laserdisc from 1999, to preserve them from the passage of the (internet) time. Many GB are awaiting to be rediscovered.

So, I simply came to the conclusion that a "summa" of all the laserdisc information about movies, players, games, history, collector's advices it's not a bad idea, and collect them all in one place, a old-fashioned paper book is a good idea, surely for someone who loves vintage things like a laserdisc lover... where you can find when and where the laserdisc is born, how many titles were pressed, how many copies a certain title has sold, discover what is a VSD, what are the best players, what is a demodulator, what are laserdisc games, which were the real and false names of the laserdisc... but also how to collect laserdiscs, how to send them, how to achieve the best performance in a digital world like this...

I'm realistic, I will not be richer thanks to the ten-twelve copies I hope to sell - my family, my friends, my colleague MUST buy it - but surely I'll be happier, because someone else will know (quite) everything about our beloved big shiny disc!

But, at the end, I must admit that, after ten years on the web reading ALL things laserdisc-related, working in the A/V field for twelve and talked with thousand people, I know so many things about laserdiscs that few others know, but still something is missing...

Yes, I have all the technical details, the info on movies, players, games and, as a old collector myself, many hints and tips; also, the "canonical" history is present, what's missing is the real life experience!

As I live in Italy, I have not the same experience of a person who lives in USA, Japan or UK (or in France, or Germany, other important markets for laserdisc), and it will be wonderful to know what the people thought during the first years of the laserdisc, in its heydays, until the last years; I need someone who lived up the moments, and ready to share its memories.
Also, I'm sure many of you still have the magazines they read in those days, full of meaningful informations, like reviews, technical data, sales figures, charts, interviews etc.

Well, if you have not fallen asleep after reading all this pamphlet, if you think you are one of those persons, and you feel you must participate in the biggest laserdisc project ever, please contact me. Any help will be highly welcomed!

If anybody have any question about the project, want to share here his/her experiences, or just want to know something more about laserdisc, nessun problema! (no problems in italian) - I'll try to answer to every post.

Thanks in advance to everyone, and enjoy your laserdiscs - forever!

Andrea

P.S. Please forgive me for my English, but don't worry about grammar and spelling of the book; it will be corrected, word by word, at least twice, by one of my best friend, a graduated English teacher, (who obviously has NOT corrected this post)

A book about LASERDISC? In THIS millennium? Why not?
Are you crazy or what? No, I just think it's time people HAVE to know the truth about
laserdisc... but I need YOUR HELP! Please contact me!
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post #2 of 42 Old 06-21-2009, 10:13 AM
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Um, it's Mister Spock. Dr. Spock was a pediatrician in the 20th Century. Moving on...
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post #3 of 42 Old 06-21-2009, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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You are right absolutely right, my fault... forgive me, please.
I'm going to edit it right now. Thanks.

Andrea

A book about LASERDISC? In THIS millennium? Why not?
Are you crazy or what? No, I just think it's time people HAVE to know the truth about
laserdisc... but I need YOUR HELP! Please contact me!
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post #4 of 42 Old 06-21-2009, 01:15 PM
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2400 LD's....well, you've only about 48,000 left to collect Andrea.... ....an' you've already more than doubled poor, little ole me!

I got Laserdisc in the early months of '86. My first 2 LD's that I got that day were Clan Of The Cave Bear and The Rutles. Clan Of The Cave Bear went bad about 5 years later. It ain't got the snow of rot, no, no. It has numerous places where blue lines fracture the image. I have no other LD's, known to me, with this affliction. It's proably some kind of delamination...? The Rutles stille plays just fine.

During the 80's I had no idea that LD was doing well in Asia. I was worried that it was going to cease and my only home video option was gonna be (yuck!!!) VHS which I had tried in '85. I just kept buying all the LD's I could afford to stock up for the anticipated death of the LD. My goal was to have atleast 200 LD's by the time the end came. My desire was for my LD-838D to never be lonely. Things gradually picked up as the 90's arrived and the rest of my family followed my lead and got LD players to supplement their VHS habits.

You said you had a fleet of LD players. Have you aqquired any of the great Japanese players? I have an HLD-X9 and an LD-S9. I once aspired to also get an HLD-X0 but gave up that dream as the new formats stretched me in some other directions.

Buenos dias mi amigo de los LD's, Rachael!

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post #5 of 42 Old 06-21-2009, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Rachel,
happy to hear you again!

No, I have not those players, just because I didn't find them for sale in Italy, or at least in Europe... but, if someone has some spare player...

Well, hope I could interview you about laserdisc in its heydays...

Thanks,
Andrea

A book about LASERDISC? In THIS millennium? Why not?
Are you crazy or what? No, I just think it's time people HAVE to know the truth about
laserdisc... but I need YOUR HELP! Please contact me!
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post #6 of 42 Old 06-21-2009, 01:35 PM
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I'll check with my publicists about dates and times available for an interview.... Oh, they say, any ole time.

In real life I am Dot Mongur champion of the International Pacman Federation. I don't play the game, I operate it.....no dot is safe from me....

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post #7 of 42 Old 06-22-2009, 07:57 AM
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I loved laserdisc. I got my player in 1987, and still have it hooked up to my current HT setup. I never collected VHS, because even as a young person I recognized that VHS was worthless. But LD was a great format!

When DVD was announced in the mid 1990's, I was wary. The objective of the format at that time seemed primarily to be, "give people a CD for movies...never mind how bad the quality suffers due to compression." But when DVD was released in 1997, it showed great potential, and the quality was already better-than-expected. Now, of course, blu-ray is my collectible media format of choice.

But I revere the old LD, and wish you well with your book!

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post #8 of 42 Old 06-22-2009, 09:25 AM
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From my standpoint now the one thing I like to look into is how many copies of any one laserdisc was printed. So far I know theres only 4 laserdiscs which I know of including 2 box sets which were japanese imports that I know(not factual) but second hand from one company and one collector which is as follows:

Jonny Quest Vol.1 of which 640 were printed
Jonny Quest Vol.2 of which 640 were printed
Jonny Quest Vol.3 of which 640 were printed
Jonny Quest Vol.4 has a catalog number but have never come across one ever(Proof if you can call it that is its listed on LDDB)
These were the US release discs.

Transformers:Five Faces of Darkness of which 714 were printed.
This was the US release disc.

Beast Wars Transformers:Maximal Edition of which only 316 were pressed which has additional material such as a poster and a instruction booklet with maximals pictures which kinda resembles a mini artbook. From what my friend had told me the number of box sets produced were how many were pre-ordered.

Beast Wars Transformers:Predacon Edition is probably similiar in content and according to him only 300 were produced due to lower expectation or something Im not aware of.

If anyone knows of former Image Entertainment workers or publicists they may recall how many were produced but Im not counting on it.
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post #9 of 42 Old 06-22-2009, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thezlog,
these are THE information I missed, and the ones I love to have!
I'm aware only about the big blockbusters, which sold XXX,000 copies,
or limited numbered editions where, of course, the number were known.
For example, there were some PAL UK titles with only 500 copies pressed!

I surely use your info for my book. Any other ones like these are highly welcomed!

Thanks again,
Andrea

A book about LASERDISC? In THIS millennium? Why not?
Are you crazy or what? No, I just think it's time people HAVE to know the truth about
laserdisc... but I need YOUR HELP! Please contact me!
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post #10 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 01:23 PM
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Ah, this thread brings back memories.

I watched my first LD sometime before 1980. Our school district bought a player to evaluate for educational purposes and picked up two movie, The Sting and The Day of the Jackal and I was able to borrow them. It was fascinating watching the assassin in the alley scene in The Sting frame by frame as she got shot.

During the mid 80s I briefly considered RCA's low cost turkey of a format but thankfully didn't do anything.

I didn't buy a player until 1990, when we upgraded our TV from a 19" to a Sony 32" XBR. I promptly joined the Columbia LD Club, which at that time had some good bonuses.

I have 150 LD titles. I tended to be selective, buying for the quality of the movie, ones that I would enjoy over multiple viewings rather than buy everything that came out.

When DVD killed LD, I rarely double-dipped on the new format, preferring to keep watching my old favorites.

Now, as they come out, I'm in the process of upgrading some of my favorite LDs to BD.

I guess in any discussion of LD collections, one has to ask if you have the holly grail of LDs, the Japanese pressing of Disney's Song of the South. The price on eBay was always too rich for me.

Good luck on your book.
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post #11 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 03:02 PM
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I remember renting the Japanese version of Song of the South from a local store years ago. I bought up a bunch of their discs when they were going out of business but that title was long gone.

Growing up my dad bought a laserdisc player in 94 and we rarely bought VHS in my youth. I still have our collection of about 250 titles and a Pioneer CLD-09 I believe. It's a tank. We converted to DVD in December of 97 and stopped buying laserdiscs at that time. One joy was going to Ken Cranes in So. California once or twice a year to splurge on titles. It was fun to progress from dolby surround to dolby digital and have RF demodulators added to receivers. It would be nice to find an external one sometime since now it is obsolete. I don't think I would ever spin a laserdisc again for a long time though. Maybe to show it off to my posterity one day. Laserdiscs were a big part of my childhood and it's nice to see some lovers still exist out here.
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post #12 of 42 Old 06-23-2009, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bachelor View Post

I remember renting the Japanese version of Song of the South from a local ....One joy was going to Ken Cranes in So. California....RF demodulators.....It would be nice to find an external one sometime since now it is obsolete. I don't think I would ever spin a laserdisc again for a long time though....

I have a copy of Song Of The South. I've played that for alot of folks. I paid about $200 for it and don't regret it. It's out to play right now along with a bunch of other ole Academy ratio films. Get this, there was a rental version of it in Hong Kong with no sub's of any kind. Reportedly, only about 20-30 were produced. Back about 2000, I watched a copy sell for $1100 on e-bay! There was a thread about it here on the forum. Alot of us followed that auction.

I never got to visit Ken Cranes in person but I ordered alot of LD's from there. My parents and I would pool our orders back when shipping was $1.50 an order, no matter what size. Plus, that 20% off list and avoiding Tennessee's high sales tax lessened the pain of LD prices. I've always wanted to give ole Ken a big kiss.

I stille watch LD's fairly regularly. I have so many Academy ratio films that stille are not out on DVD or only a suck-y, budjet label, such as Madacy , that's worse than the LD. I watched Beau Geste on LD last night.

I have 2 demod's. The Sony one I have used some. The Nachimichi (spelling? the hi-end tape deck folks) one is stille new in the box. I'd consider.......

I might watch another LD out of my pile of pulled ones in awhile......The Thin Man and Song Of The South are on my mind.

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post #13 of 42 Old 06-24-2009, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael Bellomy View Post

I have a copy of Song Of The South. I've played that for alot of folks. I paid about $200 for it and don't regret it. It's out to play right now along with a bunch of other ole Academy ratio films. Get this, there was a rental version of it in Hong Kong with no sub's of any kind. Reportedly, only about 20-30 were produced. Back about 2000, I watched a copy sell for $1100 on e-bay! There was a thread about it here on the forum. Alot of us followed that auction.

DVD rips of the Hong Kong disc used to appear on eBay regularly. As I recall, the transfer of the HK LD was a PAL-to-NTSC conversion and widely regarded as inferior to the Japanese LD. Which is saying something, because the Japanese disc looks pretty poor.

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post #14 of 42 Old 06-24-2009, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael Bellomy View Post

I might watch another LD out of my pile of pulled ones in awhile......The Thin Man and Song Of The South are on my mind.

A few years ago I picked up a pristine "The Thin Man" LD box set on eBay. We watch the series at least once a year. William and Myrna. Ahhh....

but I digress......
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post #15 of 42 Old 06-25-2009, 10:00 AM
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I had a very early LD player in the early '80s. I replaced it with a 2 disc capacity Pioneer LD-W1 in the late '80s, which still works but I don't use it anymore. In its day, though, it got heavy use. I bought a fairly substantial number of LDs and rented a bunch of recently released movies from a audio store that had LD rentals and sales as a sideline. The LD-W1 got less and less use as DVDs started to supplant videotape, until it finally fell into total disuse by the mid '90s.
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post #16 of 42 Old 06-26-2009, 08:29 AM
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I wouldnt call Song of the South the ultimate grail but its still very sought after and pricey. Ones on evilbay for 168 and change for 3 bids. The one that caused me the most problems was The Iron Giant. Took me a year to find it since most who wanted it were diehard ld collectors and it was in the Last 100 made in the US while Song was regularly on bay for around a 100 dollars at the same time and 168.00 for one ld isnt actually that bad considering some prices on other ld's. Try to find Galaxy of Terror and youll understand what I mean.
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post #17 of 42 Old 06-26-2009, 08:10 PM
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Where is it written that Pioneer is quitting LD player manufacturing? The DVL-919 is still listed on their website. I couldn't find anything in a Google News search.

I just have a number of discs that I want to transfer to DVD or BD (when burners are cheap enough) and then I am likely done with the format myself. These aren't major releases that you can find on DVD or BD, but stuff that you'll never see again, like Oriental Dreams or Ladies in Alaska. To this day, these are still among the best programs of their kind.
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post #18 of 42 Old 06-27-2009, 01:04 AM
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I always preferred LD artwork vs DVD- there was just so much more to show on 12x12 than a dvd case could ever provide. SO with that in mind, I removed all of the LDs and used the jackets as artwork in my theater. Turned out pretty well





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post #19 of 42 Old 06-27-2009, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleAl View Post

Where is it written that Pioneer is quitting LD player manufacturing? The DVL-919 is still listed on their website. I couldn't find anything in a Google News search.

Pioneer Finally Kills Production of its Remaining Laserdisc Players

Pioneer Stops Making New Laserdisc Players

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post #20 of 42 Old 06-27-2009, 09:43 AM
 
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I bought True Romance and 9 1/2 weeks on Laserdisc just before i was about to purchase a player. Then i read all about DVD being released and put all that on hold and ended up getting a DVD player instead.

I still have True Romance and 9 1/2 weeks on Laserdisc.

Of course i'm an old man now and looking back with nostalgia to a bygone era.

Hell i was born to be wild and i was delivered via royal mail the same year Easy Rider came out.
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post #21 of 42 Old 06-27-2009, 01:18 PM
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Victor-eyd, VERY nicely done!!

but I digress......
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post #22 of 42 Old 06-28-2009, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by htomei22 View Post

A few years ago I picked up a pristine "The Thin Man" LD box set on eBay. We watch the series at least once a year. William and Myrna. Ahhh....

I wish I had that set. I just have the single disc, 1934, The Thin Man which I viewed last night. I bet it'd been ten years since my last viewing. I've watched several of the sequels on TCM. I might spring for a DVD or the LD set sometime.

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post #23 of 42 Old 06-28-2009, 02:19 PM
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Going through my old pile of LDs reminded me of walking through the row after row of LDs at the long-gone Incredible Universe. Those were the days!

Blu Ray... 3-D TV... 4K... I Like New STUFF!!!

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post #24 of 42 Old 06-28-2009, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I had a very early LD player in the early '80s. I replaced it with a 2 disc capacity Pioneer LD-W1 in the late '80s, which still works but I don't use it anymore. In its day, though, it got heavy use. I bought a fairly substantial number of LDs and rented a bunch of recently released movies from a audio store that had LD rentals and sales as a sideline. The LD-W1 got less and less use as DVDs started to supplant videotape, until it finally fell into total disuse by the mid '90s.

Oh how wanted one of those LD-W1's in the late 80's. However, they were about $1500 in tthose J & R Music catalogs I got regularly back then. In retrospect, I'm glad I never got one. There're essentially akin to having 2 LD-838D decks (except wit side changing), my first player, in the same box. It's a low-performance player, 48db video. So, I would of wanted a better deck soon after getting one. I stille love the concept of that deck though.

In real life I am Dot Mongur champion of the International Pacman Federation. I don't play the game, I operate it.....no dot is safe from me....

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post #25 of 42 Old 07-03-2009, 11:08 PM
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Long live LD! I have over 900 titles. Watched one last night, on a good TV they look good. Given the age of the format no better format existed for what it had to offer, and I have hundreds of rare titles. I don't mind being able to own 1500+ films thanks to this format, obscure somewhat, obsolete perhaps, but it still does the job.
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post #26 of 42 Old 07-22-2014, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Laserdisc is still alive!

I continue to use it for much more than "just" watch it... I use sometimes the whole video of a title not available on DVD and/or BD (or available but with some wrong video quality) restored and upscaled, to make my own HD version; audio tracks that are different from the DVD/BD (usually LD has original or untouched mix), muxed with its digital video counterpart; commentary tracks not available on DVD/BD; extended scenes to add to normal DVD/BD edtions, and much, much more...

So, even if everyone know that Laserdisc is (commercially) dead, is more than alive in my heart, and in the hearts of many other people!

A book about LASERDISC? In THIS millennium? Why not?
Are you crazy or what? No, I just think it's time people HAVE to know the truth about
laserdisc... but I need YOUR HELP! Please contact me!
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post #27 of 42 Old 07-24-2014, 02:01 AM
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Wow, here's a thread back from the dead.

My advice for anybody watching laserdisc today: don't assume that your player is always going to work. Parts are getting harder and harder to find for these beasts. You'd be much better off capturing digital files of the discs and watching them off hard drive, or just dubbing it all over to DVD. Laserdiscs are totally impractical today for many reasons.

I agree there are a handful of very valuable, collectable discs out there, some extremely rare, some commanding high prices. But I think in a lot of cases this is dictated by the program material, not by the format. A good example would be The Beatles' Let It Be, which (for political reasons) has never been released on DVD and may never be released for the foreseeable future. eBay prices for these laserdiscs typically go for $200-$300, provided the disc isn't rotted, and the picture quality is not horrible.

I gotta say, I've seen quite a few video formats come and go in my time, and laserdisc got jettisoned very quickly when DVD rolled in around March of 1997. I'm not sure when Tower Video dumped all the laserdiscs (the infamous "Laserdisc Blowout Sale"), but I'm guessing that by late 1998 everybody knew that laserdisc was going out fast. I predicted it would take 2-3 years, but I think it was really over with in 6 months.
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post #28 of 42 Old 07-24-2014, 02:13 AM
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i have my player and some Movies still in a box just for fun:-) will probably nerver connect it again.


Laserdisc was never that big in Europe and you have to find special stores or import the Movies. DVD was sold be everyone very fast.
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post #29 of 42 Old 07-24-2014, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Laserdisc could be considered a zombie format... dead but still alive!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke_ View Post
i have my player and some Movies still in a box just for fun:-) will probably nerver connect it again.
If you are *forced* to dump them, consider a donation (to me, maybe?)

A book about LASERDISC? In THIS millennium? Why not?
Are you crazy or what? No, I just think it's time people HAVE to know the truth about
laserdisc... but I need YOUR HELP! Please contact me!
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post #30 of 42 Old 07-24-2014, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
I gotta say, I've seen quite a few video formats come and go in my time, and laserdisc got jettisoned very quickly when DVD rolled in around March of 1997. I'm not sure when Tower Video dumped all the laserdiscs (the infamous "Laserdisc Blowout Sale"), but I'm guessing that by late 1998 everybody knew that laserdisc was going out fast. I predicted it would take 2-3 years, but I think it was really over with in 6 months.
Laserdisc was never a mainstream product. Even in its prime, few chain stores carried it at retail. Tower Records was the most prominent and had the best selection. Suncoast Video shops usually had a handful of random discs in stock. Beyond that, Laserdisc was never an item you could find at a Walmart or Target. Most LD collectors got their movies from mail order through stores like Ken Cranes or Sight & Sound.

Yes, as soon as DVD swept in, brick-and-mortar retailers saw the writing on the wall and divested themselves of the format. It was never a huge money maker for them in the first place, whereas DVD clearly would be and needed the shelf space.

Nonetheless, Laserdisc still hung around for a couple more years. The final American Laserdiscs (Sleepy Hollow and Bringing Out the Dead) were released in 1999. The final Japanese Laserdiscs (The Cell and The 6th Day) came out in 2001.
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