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MCA SelectaVision Video Discs

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Anonymous
January 7, 2005 8:28:03 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

Does anybody know about the quality of these? I wouldn't think it would
look too good using a pickup like that. How subject are these things to
wear?
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 9:55:01 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

In article <51973593ffb77c8d9ea5a30520542f08@localhost.talkaboutvideo.com>,
half_eaten <half_eaten@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Does anybody know about the quality of these? I wouldn't think it would
>look too good using a pickup like that. How subject are these things to
>wear?

RCA not MCA.

The needle is not a problem as it's not like and LP, it is used
to read capacitance changes.

However the video quality on CED disks is about somewhere between
VHS and Beta I.

It had a definate visual 'thumbprint' and I could easily tell
whethere I was watching VHS, Beta or CED.

VHS would be blocky in the colos and the CED would often have a
slight vertical that seemed almost like lines that were slightly
from right to left going from top to bottom.

Wear was not a real problem - but the stylus wear was.

The needle also was used with the parallel tracking arm to act like
a mechanical servo instead of a true servo like the VHD disks did.

CED and VHD were both capacitance, but the VHS were smooth and only
10" in diameter, while the CED were 12" and were grooved and in a
caddy.

The first time I saw VHD was prior to it's release at a special
engineering presentation. Intersting concept. Basically 4
channels that you could use as you wanted.

A film could have a stereo track, but you could also have 3
slide-type video tracks with one audio track so it would be an
electronic equivalent of the multiple slide projector presentations
that were popular then.

Both VHD and CED were developed when VCRs were in the $1000 range,
but buy the time they came out video was lower cost, and in a year
or so video presentations were replacing the multiple slide show
presentations.

Bill

--
Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com
Anonymous
January 14, 2005 1:15:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

half_eaten wrote:
> Does anybody know about the quality of these? I wouldn't think it
would
> look too good using a pickup like that. How subject are these things
to
> wear?

The quality on these is around broadcast levels, ie better than VHS but
not up to Laserdisc. If (and that's a big if) you can find a good disk,
they look pretty good.

Problem lies with the format itself. They're almost like 'Video
Records'. The biggest thing that happens is dust get on the disc and if
its stored in a hot environment (say a garage, or a flea market) the
dust becomes one with the disc and causes skipping and problems. Since
virtually all of the CED disks have ended up in a garage (or flea
market) at some point by now, finding a disk that plays through skip
free is nigh impossible. I picked up about 40 of these things a few
years back, trying to watch any of them was a nightmare. I was up at
the unit every 2 minutes scanning forward and back over the rough bits
trying to free up the gunk (if possible) or just skipping past. I
remember it took me an eternity to get through anything so I just gave
up. I've picked up a few disks since and have run into the same
problem.

At this point old Laserdiscs will run you about the same (ie almost
nothing) and I'd rather deal with the odd rotted disc than worring
about dirty (or worn out) CEDs. Its a neat format, cool as a
conversation piece (chances are nobody you know has ever seen one) but
ultimately more trouble than their worth at this point.
Related resources
Anonymous
January 16, 2005 7:18:57 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

Jack (www.villagebbs.com) wrote:
> The quality on these is around broadcast levels, ie better than VHS
> but not up to Laserdisc.
Not to mention that the titles don't come OAR.

-Junior
Anonymous
January 17, 2005 9:05:06 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

In article <1105726501.568682.77670@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
Jack (www.villagebbs.com) <lupin3@planetjurai.com> wrote:

>half_eaten wrote:

>> Does anybody know about the quality of these? I wouldn't think
>> it would look too good using a pickup like that. How subject
>> are these things to wear?

>The quality on these is around broadcast levels, ie better than VHS but
>not up to Laserdisc. If (and that's a big if) you can find a good disk,
>they look pretty good.

A lot depends upon the mastering. Of all the ones I had the could
look about the same as VHS if the original U-Matic master used
for tape duping was used. And one or two really looked quite good.
The first Star Wars on CED was one of the best.

It was only this past year that one of my favorites I had on CED
finally made it to DVD. That was only about a 15 year wait. It
was never on LD.

>Problem lies with the format itself. They're almost like 'Video
>Records'. The biggest thing that happens is dust get on the disc and if
>its stored in a hot environment (say a garage, or a flea market) the
>dust becomes one with the disc and causes skipping and problems.

I have news for you. They skipped from the very first. I got one
of the first CEDs - and there were all sorts of problems - and
after 6 weeks I took it back to the dealer. RCA had told the
dealer to try cleaning the disk surface as there may have been too
much lubricant.

Later I got one of the 400 series with the servo platters instead
of the belts and other refinements - the player made a huge
difference. If RCA had not decided to emulate servos mechanicallyh
with their method of the parallel pickup arm, and had
done something intelligent like JVC did with the VHD and used an
electronic embedded servo track the format might have survived - as
they certainly had more money and about 10 times the product on the
market of laser disks. Since their target market was the same one
that eventually drove the VHS market quality wasn't at the top of
the chain.

And they brought out the device - with a target of $500 as VHS
players were selling at about $1000 when they first started to
develop the device, but buy the time it hit the market the $499
priced tag for the model 100 was within $100 or VHS machines.

>Since virtually all of the CED disks have ended up in a garage
>(or flea market) at some point by now, finding a disk that plays
>through skip free is nigh impossible. I picked up about 40 of
>these things a few years back, trying to watch any of them was
>a nightmare. I was up at the unit every 2 minutes scanning
>forward and back over the rough bits trying to free up the gunk
>(if possible) or just skipping past. I remember it took me an
>eternity to get through anything so I just gave up. I've picked
>up a few disks since and have run into the same problem.

Anything that is mechanical that is from a flea market will
probably be about the same :-)

>At this point old Laserdiscs will run you about the same (ie
>almost nothing) and I'd rather deal with the odd rotted disc than
>worring about dirty (or worn out) CEDs. Its a neat format, cool
>as a conversation piece (chances are nobody you know has ever
>seen one) but ultimately more trouble than their worth at this
>point.

And for the very first machines they were often more trouble than
they were worth when new.

Bill
--
Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com
Anonymous
January 17, 2005 11:40:16 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

LASERandDVDfan wrote:
> There were some CED titles that came out in OAR, such as "Amarcord."
>
> AAMOF, RCA was the inventor of letterbox releases.
>
> http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/amarcord.html

Out of the hundreds of titles released on needlevision, it seems that
only six were released WS. I still stand by my earlier statment.
-Junior
Anonymous
January 17, 2005 5:23:00 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

>Not to mention that the titles don't come OAR.

There were some CED titles that came out in OAR, such as "Amarcord."

AAMOF, RCA was the inventor of letterbox releases.

http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/amarcord.html

- Reinhart
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 3:34:44 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

>A lot depends upon the mastering. Of all the ones I had the could
>look about the same as VHS if the original U-Matic master used
>for tape duping was used. And one or two really looked quite good.
>The first Star Wars on CED was one of the best.

That's probably because CEDs use source video recorded on 1 inch reel-to-reel
video tape and is recorded to the copper mother at half realtime speed.

>It was only this past year that one of my favorites I had on CED
>finally made it to DVD. That was only about a 15 year wait. It
>was never on LD.

If you're thinking about Star Wars, then I must question that particular
contention.

If not, then what movie was released on CED which never saw a LaserDisc
release? (And, I know that there are flicks on CED that never saw release on
LD.)

>I have news for you. They skipped from the very first. I got one
>of the first CEDs - and there were all sorts of problems - and
>after 6 weeks I took it back to the dealer. RCA had told the
>dealer to try cleaning the disk surface as there may have been too
>much lubricant.

Discs are given a silicone coating after cleaning if the pressed disc passes
inspection. There are times where conditioning plays would be required for the
stylus to literally cut through the lubrication. This problem was coined as
"video virus."

But because of the nature of the format, a lot of things will cause skipping
and carrier distress. The mention of the dust problem is not inaccurate and it
does happen, but it's because the dust manages to bond with the lubricant
coating.

>Later I got one of the 400 series with the servo platters instead
>of the belts and other refinements - the player made a huge
>difference

A.K.A. the SJT and SKT series of players. The 400 is the highest end. The SJT
and SKT players employed a brushless motor direct drive turntable that was
regulated by quartz servo. The 400 models also had a stylus sweeper built into
the pickup arm which activated during carrier distress and pause. The 300
model also had this. The 090, 100, and 200 models did not but still had the
brushless servo direct drive turntables. There was even an SKT-425 planned
that would cosmetically complement RCA's Dimensia home A/V system, but they
were never made. Tom Howe of CEDMagic.com owns one, but it was a prototype.
http://www.cedmagic.com/home/tom-dimensia.html

The SFT and SGT lines used belts, including the turntable where rotation was
regulated by the powerline frequency as opposed to a quartz oscillator.

>If RCA had not decided to emulate servos mechanicallyh
>with their method of the parallel pickup arm, and had
>done something intelligent like JVC did with the VHD and used an
>electronic embedded servo track the format might have survived

First off, a CED player knew when to advance the pickup arm not because of
mechanical actuation, but because the increasing field numbers encoded in the
video vertical blanking would tell the DAXI processor in the player to advance
the pickup arm. Thus, the advancement was not only electronic, but it was
computerized. Think of DAXI (Digital AuXilliary Information) as CED's Philips
code on LaserVision in the same video space.

VHD had several advantages over CED. One advantage was that a VHD disc was
grooveless and the stylus was flat-tipped. CED discs have grooves with a stylus
that was keel-shaped. A flat-tipped stylus would spread the tracking force
over a wider area, reducing wear on the stylus and disc. The grooveless disc
also had pilot tracks adjacent to the main signal track which would prevent an
additional wearout factor that would otherwise be caused by a grooved disc.

Offtopic, interestingly enough, JVC even planned VHD to be an audio format by
implementing PCM support to it. However, the introduction of the Compact Disc
in 1982 changed that tune quickly. (No pun intended.)

But, even if CED had these benefits, it still likely would not have survived
because of the VCR.

CED died mainly because it reached the market in 1981. (It would have been
worse for VHD in the States as a release year of 1984 was all that was possible
at that time, which prompted JVC to abandon the USA market before it ever
started there.) By that time, the VCR had too much of a hold on the market.

Furthermore, video rental outlets were in full swing by that time and allowed
people to rent titles instead of buy. The videodisc business was reliant on
people buying titles with the advantage that it was cheaper to buy videodiscs
than pre-recorded video cassettes. That particular point was publicized by
both MCA DiscoVision and RCA for their respective formats at launch.

Well, it's even cheaper to rent video cassettes than buying content on either
format. Plus, you had the added benefit to record programming, either from the
air or from a VCR-to-VCR dupe.

RCA could have released CED in 1977, but that would have been disastrous. CED
was being developed with multi-layer metalized discs which were prone to
developing problems that lead to delamination which could also damage the
player stylus if a bad disc was ever played.

>Anything that is mechanical that is from a flea market will
>probably be about the same :-)

Tell me about it. A lot of flea market electronics I see require rebuilds to
account for the deplorable conditions that they are stored in if they aren't
too far gone to begin with. Although, there were times I got lucky when I
snagged a Technics SL-7 turntable for $10, which I thoroughly rebuilt and
cleaned up. I also snagged a used but mint STR-DA4ES for $300, which is a deal
that's definitely hard to beat.

>And for the very first machines they were often more trouble than
>they were worth when new.

Almost always true. The first Betamax decks were quite bulky and had their
quirks as did some of the first VHS machines (belt drive head drums, anyone?).
The first consumer LaserDisc player, the Magnavox VH-8000, was an unreliable
piece of junk (although the very first production LD players, the industrial
Universal Pioneer PR-7820, were reliable as hell and tough as nails). The
first CD player, the Sony CDP-101, had a phase-shift on one audio channel
because one D/A converter was shared for two channels with no delay on one to
keep the audio lined up.

Even the first DVD players had quirks, except for the Sony models, particularly
the DVP-S7000. - Reinhart
Anonymous
January 26, 2005 3:25:01 AM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

>RCA not MCA.
>
>The needle is not a problem as it's not like and LP, it is used
>to read capacitance changes.

True.

On CED, the tracking force is extremely low. Coupled with the silicone
application on the disc for lubrication, there was very little problem with
wearout. The biggest wearout for discs come from the actual loading and
unloading of the disc from the caddy.

As for capacitance changes, also correct. The needle was keel-shaped with a
trailing metal electrode which rode in a groove of a carbon loaded conductive
PVC disc. The groove had peaks and valleys and variations in those peaks and
valleys of varying sizes created capacitance variances when the needle rode
over them. The level of capacitance relied on how far from or near to the
electrode was in relation to the surface in the groove. The resonator circuit
inside the pickup would convert these capacitance changes as an electrical
signal that is demodulated and processed into video and audio.

>The needle also was used with the parallel tracking arm to act like
>a mechanical servo instead of a true servo like the VHD disks did.

While a groove was needed to guide the needle in the disc path, a CED player
knew when to advance the pickup arm for the stylus by detecting the increasing
field numbers encoded in the video vertical blanking (a DAXI field number that
failed to increase was also how the player knew that the stylus was skipping
back, which caused the syscon to force the stylus forward past the needlelock
[equivalent to laser lock]). That information is fed to the syscon's DAXI
computer. Think of DAXI as CED's "Philips code." The DAXI also informed the
player of bands (CED's form of chapter stops) and time indexes (supported on
the SJT-400 and SKT-400 models only and mastered on few discs like "Raiders of
the Lost Ark") as well as end of side and whether or not the disc is stereo CX
or dual channel for bilingual playback.

As you already know, VHD used pilot tracks adjacent to the main signal track to
guide the flat-tipped electrode stylus within the main signal track on the
grooveless disc, a very ingenious idea which eliminated quite a few problems
directly caused by grooves in the CED system. Further impressive was the wide
track stylus, which spread out the tracking force instead of concentrating all
of it at one point, which really increased stylus life and, to a degree, disc
life. As you already know, VHD used a 10 inch disc which spun at 900 RPM for
NTSC, compared to CED's 12 inch disc which spun at half that revolution for the
same video system. Yet VHD still had about the same amount of play time per
side and considerably higher bandwidth than CED. Impressive, indeed. -
Reinhart
Anonymous
January 29, 2005 12:18:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

On 16 Jan 2005 16:18:57 -0800, "unclejr" <watsona@kenyon.edu> wrote:

>Jack (www.villagebbs.com) wrote:
>> The quality on these is around broadcast levels, ie better than VHS
>> but not up to Laserdisc.
>Not to mention that the titles don't come OAR.
>
>-Junior


This cannot be used as a negative against the format. At the time
titles wer being released on CED, OAR was a concept that simply didn't
exist in the home video market. LaserDiscs released at the same time
were also not OAR, and only through reissues later did titles start
appearing in widescreen.

One of the last titles issues on CED was "Return of the Jedi" which
was not in Widescreen on LaserDisc until 1987, well after the death of
CED.


Blaine
blam1@oz.net
http://www.blamld.com
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 9:05:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.video.laserdisc (More info?)

In article <k1hnv0llp3ib10iq0dhi5v5cbgo3lktfvf@4ax.com>,
Blaine Young <blam@oz.net> wrote:
>On 16 Jan 2005 16:18:57 -0800, "unclejr" <watsona@kenyon.edu> wrote:
>
>>Jack (www.villagebbs.com) wrote:
>>> The quality on these is around broadcast levels, ie better than VHS
>>> but not up to Laserdisc.
>>Not to mention that the titles don't come OAR.
>>
>>-Junior

>This cannot be used as a negative against the format. At the time
>titles wer being released on CED, OAR was a concept that simply didn't
>exist in the home video market. LaserDiscs released at the same time
>were also not OAR, and only through reissues later did titles start
>appearing in widescreen.

>One of the last titles issues on CED was "Return of the Jedi" which
>was not in Widescreen on LaserDisc until 1987, well after the death of
>CED.

And Woody Allen's Manhattan and ISTR 'Z' were also OAR. And when
the CED was killed by RCA the CED library had about 4 times the
number of titles as did laserdisk.

What was interesting is the approach by those selecting the titles
to be released. Only on the 'hit' titles would you find both
a CED and an LD version, while on other title there was amost no
duplication - and a different approach. RCA seemed to be a bit
more 'artsy' in some places. It was sort of like two different
cable networks with their own program director and their idea
of what people wanted to see.

And one of my favorites The Red Shoes - was available on CED ONLY
for a long time. When RCA launched the format they got exclusives
on many titles that extended for up to 10 years so even after
the CED format went away those titles were not seen on LD or VHS.

So much for competition.

Bill

--
Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com
!