Before DVD's, Where would you see OAR films? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-01-2014, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Back in the 80's and 90's, when DVD's didn't exist yet, where would you see OAR films on? I know that some films, such as Ben-Hur, Star Wars, T2, Alien, Schindler's List, Titanic, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and A Bug's Life had OAR tapes (sold seprately), but other tapes, such as Les Misrables (1998) and Dark City were not available on OAR on tape. >: (
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-02-2014, 09:30 AM
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Movie Theaters?
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post #3 of 27 Old 02-02-2014, 09:35 AM
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Yeah, movie theatres and laserdisc.

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post #4 of 27 Old 02-02-2014, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Yeah, movie theatres and laserdisc.

I still believe the DTS laserdisc version of "Titanic" was close to the film version. I have yet to hear the DVD releases match the audio quality of the DTS laserdisc.
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post #5 of 27 Old 02-02-2014, 08:34 PM
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My first exposure to letterbox movies was on VHS. Unfortunately the resolution was atrocious, the prices were high and the availability of titles was low.

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post #6 of 27 Old 02-02-2014, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

My first exposure to letterbox movies was on VHS. Unfortunately the resolution was atrocious, the prices were high and the availability of titles was low.
My first exposure to Scope Widescreen was when a TV ad for Ocean's 12 was being released to home video in April 2005. Be happy that USA showed O12 and the film version of Miami Vice (2006) in OAR!
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-03-2014, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DisneySwan1990 View Post

My first exposure to Scope Widescreen was when a TV ad for Ocean's 12 was being released to home video in April 2005. Be happy that USA showed O12 and the film version of Miami Vice (2006) in OAR!

Both Steven Soderbergh and Michael Mann have enough influence that they were able to mandate that their films must be presented in OAR. The Ocean's movies even air letterboxed on HBO-HD, which crops almost everything else to 16:9.

Back in the day, Michael Mann had it written into his contract that Last of the Mohicans could only be released to home video in letterboxed widescreen format, even on VHS.

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post #8 of 27 Old 02-03-2014, 02:12 PM
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Anyway, in answer to the o/p's question: Laserdisc is where I saw most movies in OAR.

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post #9 of 27 Old 02-04-2014, 07:32 AM
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I was at a pawn shop yesterday and noticed a used RCA CED disc machine along with probably 3 dozen large CED discs. They had quite a few of the classics including Sound Of Music. Nowhere on the disc did they say the aspect.....maybe they figured people wouldn't know what it meant?? Anyway I would assume by the lack of mentioning the aspect that it may have been a pan and scan but I'm not sure. Laser discs were specifically targeted at the videophile so would have been more likely to be OAR, I think CED discs were more the "poor mans" videodisc.  I did enjoy looking at the large photos though, reminded me of LPs vs CDs for album art. I remember seeing them for rent next to the VHS tapes in the 80s, I think this particular rental store also rented laser discs but VHS was by far there mainstay and the few times you'd see OAR VHS it was letterboxed 4:3. They could have recorded things anamorphic on VHS but as no one really had 16:9 TVs it wouldn't have made sense.

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post #10 of 27 Old 02-04-2014, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I was at a pawn shop yesterday and noticed a used RCA CED disc machine along with probably 3 dozen large CED discs. They had quite a few of the classics including Sound Of Music. Nowhere on the disc did they say the aspect.....maybe they figured people wouldn't know what it meant?? Anyway I would assume by the lack of mentioning the aspect that it may have been a pan and scan but I'm not sure. Laser discs were specifically targeted at the videophile so would have been more likely to be OAR, I think CED discs were more the "poor mans" videodisc.  I did enjoy looking at the large photos though, reminded me of LPs vs CDs for album art. I remember seeing them for rent next to the VHS tapes in the 80s, I think this particular rental store also rented laser discs but VHS was by far there mainstay and the few times you'd see OAR VHS it was letterboxed 4:3. They could have recorded things anamorphic on VHS but as no one really had 16:9 TVs it wouldn't have made sense.

If it doesn't specifically say otherwise, the CED is almost certainly pan & scan. Almost all CEDs were.

Ironically, it was the CED format that introduced the very first example of letterboxing on home video with Fellini's Amarcord. This was not popular. Many consumers returned the discs to stores, believing that the black bars were a product defect. Letterboxing did not become commonplace until the early 1990s on the Laserdisc format, long after CED had died.

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post #11 of 27 Old 02-04-2014, 05:17 PM
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True. CEDs came along before Laser, I believe, and some were letterboxed but only a very few. The more popular titles (Star Wars, etc) are probably valuable to have.

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post #12 of 27 Old 02-05-2014, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

True. CEDs came along before Laser, I believe, and some were letterboxed but only a very few. The more popular titles (Star Wars, etc) are probably valuable to have.

Laserdisc was introduced in 1978 under the name DiscoVision. The last movie titles on the format were released in 1999 in the United States, and 2001 in Japan.

CED (aka SelectaVision) only ran from 1981 to 1986, and was mostly dead by mid-1984 when RCA canceled production of the players.

Discs from both formats are basically worthless today.

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post #13 of 27 Old 02-09-2014, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Laserdisc was introduced in 1978 under the name DiscoVision. The last movie titles on the format were released in 1999 in the United States, and 2001 in Japan.

CED (aka SelectaVision) only ran from 1981 to 1986, and was mostly dead by mid-1984 when RCA canceled production of the players.

Discs from both formats are basically worthless today.


I had one of the early disc players made by Magnavox I believe it was. One problem was the availability of finding discs. If you were lucky you could find a store in a mall that had some. Now you can find them dirt cheap on eBay. I suppose there are a few movies on laser that you won't find on a DVD. There for quite a while only the laser disc version of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" had the full cut of the movie.

Seems about the same time IBM had plans to store data on a similar laser disc technology but that went bye bye.
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post #14 of 27 Old 02-11-2014, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DisneySwan1990 View Post

Back in the 80's and 90's, when DVD's didn't exist yet, where would you see OAR films on? I know that some films, such as Ben-Hur, Star Wars, T2, Alien, Schindler's List, Titanic, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and A Bug's Life had OAR tapes (sold seprately), but other tapes, such as Les Misrables (1998) and Dark City were not available on OAR on tape. >: (

If you don't mind me asking...how old are you? I'm not making fun of you or anything but if you we're around back then you must of heard of LDs. smile.gif
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-13-2014, 05:02 PM
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I craved OAR home video titles for years, but they took their sweet time coming out. The earliest versions of the Star Wars original trilogy VHS sets were among the very first OAR tapes I had, until I started getting into DVDs around the turn of the century. I had a lot of OAR VHS in my library, let me tell you...

I had tapes in the beginning because I couldn't afford Laserdisc tech at the time. Besides, the discs were available in two sizes, were made with two playback speeds (each with positives and negatives on accessibility features), and had to be flipped over like records to see the whole movie...or was it the whole movie? Laserdiscs held exactly 30 or 60 minutes on a side (for a full size, 12" disc), so if a movie ran longer, you couldn't get the whole thing onto a single disc. And not all movies in that format originally came out as multi-disc sets, either. (Come to think of it, I didn't exactly cotton up to CED either--video discs with a record-like needle? Did that ever make sense?) Now I'm happy with DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

I remember a lot about video formats. I remember VHS and Beta tapes (including S-VHS and D-VHS), Laserdiscs, VHD (which I don't think ever made it very far outside Japan), Video CDs with 5 minutes of video and 20 of audio, CED, and variations on DVD like DVD-Audio and Music Video Interactive (MVI) discs. (Yes, I'm actually that old. eek.gif )

Also, to my recollection, not all Laserdiscs were made in OAR widescreen. Most early titles were still fullscreen, and the idea of letterboxing didn't really take off until the late '80s/early '90s or so. It would be easy to think that all Laserdiscs were widescreen, but that wasn't always the case. But that's just what I recall.

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post #16 of 27 Old 02-13-2014, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by LineWalker View Post

(Come to think of it, I didn't exactly cotton up to CED either--video discs with a record-like needle? Did that ever make sense?)

It did from a cost perspective. The average CED player was cheaper than a VCR, and the discs were cheaper than laserdisc.

Also, the tech was something RCA could own and license, which can be very important (like Sony and blu-ray technology.)

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post #17 of 27 Old 02-14-2014, 08:49 AM
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It did from a cost perspective.
Given that the format failed after RCA sank so much much money into developing it, it ultimately didn't. smile.gif
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post #18 of 27 Old 02-14-2014, 09:14 AM
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True, but gotta take chances somewhere. Otherwise we'd still be stuck sitting around the campfire listening to the story of the latest mammoth hunt and painting stick figures on cave walls for our entertainment. tongue.gif

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...and painting stick figures on cave walls for our entertainment.
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I knew that bird-eye-ankh-feather was ancient Egyptian for icanhascheezburger.

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post #21 of 27 Old 02-14-2014, 11:32 AM
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I had tapes in the beginning because I couldn't afford Laserdisc tech at the time. Besides, the discs were available in two sizes, were made with two playback speeds (each with positives and negatives on accessibility features),

While it's technically true that there were two Laserdisc sizes, 8" and 12", feature movies were only ever released on the 12" size. The smaller 8" discs were typically used for promotional content (such as collections of movie trailers to advertise upcoming releases) or short music video compilations.

The two playback formats, CAV and CLV, were both used on the 12" discs. In fact, if a movie ran longer than 2 hours but less than 2 1/2, it was common for the Laserdisc to be authored with two disc sides in CLV (an hour each) and a one side in CAV. An individual disc could mix CLV on one side and CAV in the other. As I recall, the LD release of Star Trek: Generations had Side 1 in CLV, Side 2 in CAV, and Side 3 (on the second disc) returned to CLV, so that the saucer crash scene in the middle of the movie could be watched using CAV freeze-frame and slo-mo effects.

The true frame-by-frame access and super-smooth forward and reverse slo-mo on a CAV disc are one feature I really miss from Laserdisc. No digital format has replicated that ability to use an analog jog/shuttle dial to step through every frame of a scene at the exact speed your fingers control. The choppy forward and reverse scanning on DVD and Blu-ray aren't anywhere near as nice.
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Also, to my recollection, not all Laserdiscs were made in OAR widescreen. Most early titles were still fullscreen, and the idea of letterboxing didn't really take off until the late '80s/early '90s or so. It would be easy to think that all Laserdiscs were widescreen, but that wasn't always the case. But that's just what I recall.

That is correct. Early Laserdiscs were almost entirely pan & scan. Letterboxing was introduced in the mid '80s and didn't become standard practice until the early '90s.
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post #22 of 27 Old 02-14-2014, 01:37 PM
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Not only that but in the mid-90s there were widescreen TVs available for playing laser discs. I almost bought one but that very week Congress finalized ATSC so decided to wait and get an HD set. One store I rented LDs at also sold the Pioneer widescreen sets. When I went to India in late 1996 at the Amsterdam airport I saw Sony ads pushing the widescreen EDTVs in Europe. We also had a local importer who got a few multi-format CRT sets in the late 90s but they sold out right away.
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post #23 of 27 Old 02-14-2014, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

While it's technically true that there were two Laserdisc sizes, 8" and 12", feature movies were only ever released on the 12" size. The smaller 8" discs were typically used for promotional content (such as collections of movie trailers to advertise upcoming releases) or short music video compilations.

The two playback formats, CAV and CLV, were both used on the 12" discs. In fact, if a movie ran longer than 2 hours but less than 2 1/2, it was common for the Laserdisc to be authored with two disc sides in CLV (an hour each) and a one side in CAV. An individual disc could mix CLV on one side and CAV in the other. As I recall, the LD release of Star Trek: Generations had Side 1 in CLV, Side 2 in CAV, and Side 3 (on the second disc) returned to CLV, so that the saucer crash scene in the middle of the movie could be watched using CAV freeze-frame and slo-mo effects.

The true frame-by-frame access and super-smooth forward and reverse slo-mo on a CAV disc are one feature I really miss from Laserdisc. No digital format has replicated that ability to use an analog jog/shuttle dial to step through every frame of a scene at the exact speed your fingers control. The choppy forward and reverse scanning on DVD and Blu-ray aren't anywhere near as nice.
That is correct. Early Laserdiscs were almost entirely pan & scan. Letterboxing was introduced in the mid '80s and didn't become standard practice until the early '90s.

Excellent post, Josh. I guess I was just too young to have really gotten into Laserdisc but I sure wanted to. Mostly for the DTS laserdiscs. This is pre-dvd days....wow, I feel old!

I always wondered why we couldn't/wouldn't recreate that smooth playback that we could do on those CAV's. That was an interesting note on ST:G. I never knew that.

It's amazing that just 20 years ago we were paying $100 for a single movie, maybe in P&S and often not in anything greater than 2.0 audio. Sub 480i resolution....giant discs, many that you must flip. Ahhh. Those were the days. tongue.gif

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post #24 of 27 Old 02-15-2014, 12:56 PM
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Anyone have the RCA discs and player?
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post #25 of 27 Old 02-15-2014, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z 
Laserdisc was introduced in 1978 under the name DiscoVision. The last movie titles on the format were released in 1999 in the United States, and 2001 in Japan.
I stand corrected.



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Anyone have the RCA discs and player?
I had a player and several discs up until 'bout 10 years ago. Did not purchase it originally, but took it off my aunt's hands (former RCA employee), because I like to collect things and thought it was kinda cool to play video from a stylus .*shrugs*

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post #26 of 27 Old 02-19-2014, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

It's amazing that just 20 years ago we were paying $100 for a single movie, maybe in P&S and often not in anything greater than 2.0 audio. Sub 480i resolution....giant discs, many that you must flip. Ahhh. Those were the days. tongue.gif

The $100 Laserdisc box sets were generally OAR. Unless you're talking about VHS before sell-through pricing was common. In that case, indeed, one crummy tape could go for $100 or more.

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post #27 of 27 Old 02-19-2014, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

I stand corrected.
I had a player and several discs up until 'bout 10 years ago. Did not purchase it originally, but took it off my aunt's hands (former RCA employee), because I like to collect things and thought it was kinda cool to play video from a stylus .*shrugs*
I knew instantly that playing discs with a laser was way cooler and better than using a needle. cool.gif
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