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The CED: RCA’s Very Late, Very Weird Video Gamble (Pt. 1)

The CED: RCA’s Very Late, Very Weird Video Gamble (Pt. 1)


[An electronic / choral rendition of Mussorgsky’s
Pictures at an Exhibition] So. It’s the mid 1960’s, everyone’s got
a television, but nobody’s got a way to choose what they wanna watch. You’ve got your network affiliates, a few
of those newfangled UHF stations… I hear 62’s pretty good. But that’s it. How boring. How limiting. How archaic. Now we’ve got video tape recorders, but
those things use crazy technology that’s super expensive. We’ll probably never get video tape technology
to the point that we could market it for the home. And besides, without some sort of… small case
which holds the tape in a convenient and easy-to-handle form factor, it’s not likely to go over
well with the layperson. Clearly tape isn’t a good option. I know! Discs! Yes, it can be hard to believe for those who
remember transitioning from VHS to DVD, but if things went according to plan, us home
users would have had video discs long before we had video tape. RCA had begun research into a home videodisc
system in 1964, and a mere 17 years later, they came out with this. The Capacitance Electronic Disc system, or
CED, which they branded and marketed as the SelectaVision Videodisc System. This product was RCA’s ultimate folly. It arguably destroyed the company. After years of relentless research, they released
a product so incredibly limited and so hilariously flawed that it’s a miracle they even bothered
trying. Yet, they did. And they shouldn’t have. Now, there are still some fans of this ill-fated
videodisc system, and I’m sorry if I upset you when I say this, but it must be said. RCA was out of their minds here. In hindsight, this product was so incredibly
weird and dumb and doomed. But… the idea behind it is actually pretty
remarkable. Had it been released, say in 1975, it might
have achieved immense success. Our entire media landscape might be completely
different had RCA succeeded in getting this product to market just half a decade earlier. That’s because their ultimate goal was to
use the technology of the humble record player and turn it into a cheap, and easily mass-produced,
video format. Hiding inside this caddy is a black PVC disc,
not that different from the standard phonograph records of the day. This disc is read with a stylus, just like
a normal phonograph record, however it’s not vibration that it’s detecting. I’ll get to that a little later but this
is evidence that RCA did actually meet the goal they set out for themselves. It was just accomplished way too late, and
with way too many compromises. As usual, to understand this story, we need
to start in the past before the past this comes from. In the early days of radio and television,
RCA, that’s the Radio Corporation of America, was among the most innovative companies. Their history dates back to 1899, when the
Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America was formed as a subsidiary of the British
Marconi Company. In these early days of radio, the technologies
which made radio possible were constantly evolving. Through World War I, radio was used almost
exclusively for wireless telegraphy, that’s the classic dots and dashes that make up the
world famous, say it with me now, character encoding schemes of which
Morse code is one. Simple radio transmitters, called spark-gap
transmitters, were able to send radio pulses quite easily, however audio wasn’t super
possible yet. Transmission of audio was relatively rare
and mainly experimental. It wouldn’t really become, what you might
call, “a thing” until after the war. Speaking of after the war, well, actually
before the war, in 1904, what rhymes galore! General Electric had been tasked with creating
a high frequency alternator, which was then designed by Ernst Alexanderson, and thus the
world of radio was introduced to another transmission technology, the Alexanderson Alternator. Compared with the earlier spark-gap transmitters,
it allowed for transmitting on very narrow frequency bands (reducing noise), and had
a lot of other neat advantages, too, but also some disadvantages, notably… they were
huge. But, anyway… In 1919, now we’re after the war again,
General Electric had installed one of these amazing Alexanderson Alternators for the US
Navy at the Marconi transmitter site in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Marconi people were super impressed with
the thing, and they were all like “We’d like to buy your alternator production division,
General Electric” to which GE responded, “Well golly gee ain’t that dandy, we’ve
been looking to sell off our alternator production unit and you sound like the perfect entity
to make that purchase” to which the US Navy said “Uh-oh”. See, the Navy was getting all worried that
if American Marconi was able to buy the alternator production from GE, they (and thus their British
parent company) would have world domination in wireless communications. The Navy said, “we can’t have that!” So, the Navy convinced GE to, rather than
sell their alternator production to American Marconi to just go ahead and buy American Marconi
and nip that little world domination problem in the bud. And so they did, turning American Marconi
into a subsidiary of General Electric, which would henceforth be called the Radio Corporation
of America. So. That’s how RCA became a thing. RCA grew and grew and grew, breaking into
the consumer radio space, and eventually the whole “RCA is owned by GE and they’re getting
kinda monopolistic” thing meant that RCA was forced by the US Justice Department to break
off into its own company in 1932. But still. They were huge, and they knew how to make
cool sh**. RCA had touched nearly every major technological
advancement of the early twentieth century. They had purchased the Victor company, which
not only granted them use of Nipper and the classic “His Master’s Voice” tagline,
but also Victor’s record label and phonograph production. RCA had developed Photophone, a sound-on-film
system for motion pictures. They were instrumental in the proliferation
of television, and pretty much invented color television. In fact, they weren’t just RCA. They were ANNOUNCER:
R C A The most trusted name in television! So. This was a massive and well-respected company, with nearly limitless resources, talented engineers, and with a long track record of successful innovation. And yet, somehow… This happened. The RCA Videodisc is simultaneously a technical
marvel and a technical monstrosity. Getting a phonograph record to produce video
signals that a TV could display was a rather lofty goal. Allow me to explain why. This phonograph record contains a very long
spiral groove with walls that move up and down and all around, and when you put it on
a turntable, then put a stylus inside the groove, and give the record a good spin, those
wibbly wobbly grooves will make the stylus go all wibbly wobbly, too. And thanks to the phonograph’s cartridge, those wibbly wobbly wibble wobbles turn into electrical signals. We can then make those signals stronger through
amplification, pump them through loudspeakers, and listen to the music contained on the disc. But, well this disc doesn’t need to produce
very high frequency signals. The range of human hearing tops out at around
20 kilohertz, so we don’t need to make this record too precisely. If we want to make a disc capable of higher
frequencies, we need to do one of two things; either make the groove walls contain really
tightly spaced wobbles, or speed up the rotation of the disc. Ideally, we’d do both. OK, so how much more bandwidth do we need? If normal disc can go up to 20 kilohertz, uh, what’s a TV signal? Oh, just about 5 megahertz. Alright, so we need to fit 250 times as much
information onto one of these discs. that sounds… difficult. And it was. Remember, research started in 1964, but the
product didn’t get released until 1981. When it finally did make it to market, up
to 60 minutes of video (later pushed to 63) were held on each side of the disc, and although
bandwidth was reduced to 3 megahertz to make things a little easier, this still meant that
about 450 times as much information was held on a 60 minute CED than on a 20 minute vinyl record. Now, you might be wondering, why on Earth
was RCA so determined to make video work on vinyl? Simple. Ease of manufacture. Vinyl records are stamped from metal masters,
and can be pumped out quickly and cheaply. If RCA could figure out how to use the dead
simple, and decades-perfected technology of the phonograph to produce a videodisc, they
would have had a miraculous product on their hands. RCA envisioned a relatively cheap device,
not that far off from a normal record player, that you’d simply put your new video discs in,
and be delighted as your living room became a place to watch television on your own terms. The discs themselves wouldn’t be very expensive
to make, as they’d just be a more perfected vinyl record. So movie and television studios should be happy
to jump on board, as discs could be sold for little more than the cost of a record album,
while still making significant profit. The premise seems less bonkers when you remember
that in 1964, videotape was well over a decade away from entering the home market in meaningful
volumes. Delicate mechanisms, expensive electronics,
and open-reels of wide, heavy tape made it seem very unlikely that videotape would end
up in the home any time soon. And even if that somehow happened, the tapes
themselves would be very expensive, not only because the tape is expensive to manufacture,
but because mass-producing pre-recorded tapes would require dozens or even hundreds of tape
recorders to make duplicate recordings in real-time. So it wouldn’t be a great way to sell pre-recorded
content. Nobody would buy such an expensive tape, and
no movie studio will settle for the razor-thin margins. And so, in the frame of 1964, the RCA Videodisc
actually seems like a great idea. Use the same equipment and technology that’s
used to mass-produce records for the music industry, and replicate that model for things
like movies, television shows, and perhaps one day, whole new categories of content. Except, the development process dragged on
for far too long. By 1972, they had only managed to fit 10 minutes
of video on one side of a disc. What’s more, they discovered that simple
vinyl discs wouldn’t work. The technology they had developed required
that the discs be conductive. The first prototype discs were metallized, with a styrene
top coat, and a lubricant coating on top of that. Now RCA wasn’t dumb, and they realized 10
minutes was dumb. So, they kept on trucking, continuing to pour
resources into the project. One of the things they soon discovered was
that the discs were extremely fragile. If you’re trying to pack a few dozen grooves
into the space of what used to be just one, the discs could easily be destroyed from normal handling. Up until this point, RCA imagined the discs
would be naked, just like normal phonograph records. Finally realizing that, well, this is silly, RCA
designed these not-at-all clunky caddies to hold the discs nice and safely. We wouldn’t want humans touching them. Still, the system needed a lot more work. The prototype discs, being multi-layered and
metallized, didn’t exactly follow the “make movies as quickly and cheaply as vinyl”
premise they had been getting at. They did eventually discover that using PVC
impregnated with conductive carbon particles would work well enough, and so they did get back to that
goal eventually, but it took a while. As we know. By the time 1981 rolled around, RCA had “perfected”
the system. 60 minutes per side, safe protective caddies,
a totally sleek-looking player, and a catalog of movies ready to go at launch. The players were pretty cheap to make, so
RCA was able to sell them for about $500 (that’s roughly equivalent to $1,500
today). That sounds steep, but videocassette recorders
cost about double that when the CED was launched. Wait. Wait. You mean, videotape made it into the home
before the CED was launched? Yes. It did! And you know who had a big part in making
that happen? Why, a little company called RCA. Remember how I said RCA wasn’t dumb? Well, they saw the rise of the videocassette
recorder happening, and quickly jumped in. They didn’t manufacture any VCRs themselves,
instead choosing to outsource that task to companies like Matushita and Hitachi, but
RCA’s presence in the VCR market was a huge deal. RCA backed the VHS format created by JVC,
rather than going with the slightly older Betamax format from Sony. And, it was RCA who pushed the development
of the long-play recording mode, enabling VHS machines to record 4 hours on one tape,
and finally capture an entire football game. This was all happening in the late 1970’s,
in fact RCA’s very first VCR (which was the first to support 4 hour recording) hit the scene in 1977. Oh, and you know what RCA decided to call
their line of VCRs? SelectaVision. What!? Yeah, this was weird. RCA decided to use the name they were planning
to call their new videodisc system for their imported line of VCRs. Now, I suppose this wasn’t a huge deal,
but it is still strange. In fact, it looks like RCA just stole
all the planned marketing material for the CED and slapped it onto their VCRs. ANNOUNCER:
Let RCA turn your television into SelectaVision! This seemed even weirder when you remember
that in the early days of the VCR, pre-recorded content wasn’t really a thing yet. For the most part, VCRs were used to record
live TV to be watched later, a process known as time-shifting. In that context, SelectaVision doesn’t even
really make that much sense. You’re not selecting something to watch. You’re planning to record something, and
will watch it later. Remember, these devices are called VCRs, which
stands for video cassette recorder, not video cassette player. And it’s not a “VHS player” Stop calling it that. RCA was either really forward thinking and
thought that pre-recorded tapes would eventually become a big deal, but of course that would
fly in the face of their continuing efforts to produce the Videodisc system, or else they
were just really lazy and figured, sure, we’ll use that name we planned to use for this entirely
different product we’re still working on for some reason. Just to muddy the waters a bit, SelectaVision
was actually first coined for an earlier abandoned project of RCA’s, the HoloTape player, however
even though that was tape-based, it wasn’t capable of recording. This story, for such a simple product, is
maddeningly complicated and bizarre. Had the CED existed in a vacuum, it would
have made sense. But in a world where the VCR existed, a world
where the VCR was actively being marketed by RCA, its existence is jus… it, it’s… WHY? Why bother continuing this project? What problem could the videodisc possibly
solve when RCA’s own VCRs had been on the market for four years? Well… maybe, cost. Alright. After talking about this for close to 15 minutes,
we’re finally gonna explore this player a little more. The genius of RCA’s machine is that, compared
to a VCR, it’s incredibly simple. Just a turntable, a pickup mechanism containing
the stylus, and then the electronics needed to decode the signals on the disc. To play a disc, the caddy is inserted all
the way into the player, which unlocks and grabs hold of the spine, and thus when the
caddy is removed, the disc is left inside. The main control lever is mechanically linked
to the turntable, and moving it from the load/unload position into the play position lifts the
turntable, which in turn lifts the disc up towards the stylus. It also closes a shutter to prevent you from
inserting the caddy while it’s playing. The motor driving the turntable could be a
cheap, single-speed AC motor since the discs spin at a constant speed of 450 RPM, which
is tied to the frame rate of television sets, which is itself tied to the line frequency
of 60 hz. You can easily hear the distinctive 60 hz
humming of a plain ‘ol motor. [a clunk-like sound] [humming] [some resonance as the motor reaches speed] [and other various mechanical noises, with a distinct one right… about…. here] In PAL countries (yes, RCA did briefly market
this system overseas) the turntable spun at 375 RPM, which is tied to the frame rate and
line frequency of 50 hz. Each rotation of the disc held 4 complete
frames of video, or eight fields, and since a television will automatically synchronize
itself with the vertical blanking intervals encoded on the disc, a simple AC motor would
work fine. You can see the 8 blanking intervals on a
CED pretty clearly with the right light, just like you can see them on a CAV Laserdisc. However, a Laserdisc only holds one frame
of video per rotation, so you only see two blanking intervals. And now let’s talk about that stylus. The very tiny, user-replaceable diamond stylus
is there only to provide physical tracking on the disc. The player doesn’t sense vibration in the
stylus, nor does the stylus actually have anything to do with the signal being read. Instead, bonded to the stylus is a titanium
electrode which senses changes in capacitance brought about by the depth of the groove. Ah, finally the answer as to why it’s called
the Capacitance Electronic Disc. And also the answer to why the disc needed
to be conductive. The disc, being a conductor, and the titanium
electrode, also being a conductor, form a capacitor. The actual video and audio signals are created
by teeny tiny little undulations on the disc, which move the surface of the disc closer
to and farther away from the electrode as it spins, thus varying the value of the capacitor
formed by the stylus and disc. The circuitry in the player is essentially
measuring the capacitance value, and as it changes, it can convert that change into a
change in signal amplitude. And thus, we can recreate a video signal. For those paying careful attention, you’ll
have noticed that the player measures change in a capacitor. Now, when something is said to be in a state
of ongoing change, it is sometimes said to be in flux. Therefore, this disc, when being read by the
player, becomes part of a flux capacitor. Now you know. Also, Back to the Future was in fact released
on CED, though if we jump ahead that far we’ll be spoiling the end. Fun fact! The first shipment of DeLoreans left Belfast
just two days before the CED system was officially released on March 22nd, 1981. The player was able to control where the stylus
landed on the disc with an electromagnet, as well as by moving the carriage that contains
the stylus. Ordinarily the carriage would just move in
steps as the stylus followed the disc (and the disc contained some basic digital signaling
to tell the player where it was), but when using the picture search function, the player
could bump the stylus forwards and backwards with the electromagnet for finer control. This was also used to get the player out of
a locked groove situation, as it could determine it was stuck thanks to the position signals that weren’t advancing, and kick the stylus forward a couple of grooves to get unstuck. And getting stuck was, unfortunately, not
uncommon. ♫ ♫ [ suddenly no more ♫ ] While the caddies did a fairly good job at
keeping the discs clean, they weren’t perfect. And in fact, the caddies themselves could destroy the discs if they weren’t stored right. See, this system wasn’t just late, it was
awfully flawed. But before we get into that, let’s finish
this video up by talking a little bit about the discs themselves. RCA’s VideoDiscs were sold for between $15
and about $30, although the vast majority were priced at $20 and up, and some special
box sets shot way past $30. Now that’s not… terribly expensive, even
for 1981 dollars. In 1981 vinyl LPs were starting to push into
the $10 territory for high-profile releases, so you could say SelectaVision discs cost
about the same as 2 new record albums. And, really, that’s pretty great when you
consider that you’re getting a 90 minute (or so) movie for the same cost as at best an hour
of music. When new, these discs had about the same image
quality as a VHS tape, though some claimed it was a little better. And honestly, the quality of the image coming
from these discs is perfectly fine. The only problem is…
this can happen. [ unintelligible audio as the disc skips uncontrollably ] How common was this when the system was new? It’s hard to say. The caddy design was fairly good and would
keep dust from getting in there, so perhaps these discs all worked great in 1981. For now, let’s just assume they did. Since the discs only held 60 minutes per side,
at some point you’re gonna have to flip that disc over. And, that’s a somewhat strange task with
this player. You take your empty caddy, stick it all the
way in, pull it back out, now flip it over, shove it back in all the way again, and pull it
out again. That’s… a little more cumbersome than
just flipping an LP over. Or a Laserdisc. Ahhh yeah…. What about that other videodisc format? Well, it certainly didn’t help RCA’s mission,
here. But, it might not have mattered much at all. Early laserdiscs typically weren’t mastered
all that well, and comparing the quality between a CED and a Laserdisc from the early ‘80s
reveals, they’re actually not that far off. However, it’s possible that had RCA decided
to take one of the innovations of Laserdisc and adapt it for the CED, it might not have
failed quite as hard as it did. Or perhaps at all. In the next video, we’ll take a closer look
at where the CED was in the marketplace, how it managed to justify its existence in a sea
of VCRs and Laserdiscs, and why given what we know about how its short life panned out,
it might have radically changed how we consumed media throughout the 1980’s and into today,
especially if it had been released in the mid ‘70s. Thanks for watching! I know this story meandered around a lot,
but I promise everything you learned here will make the next video make a little more
sense. And it will also make the CED make even less
sense. As always, I’d like to thank the fine folks
supporting this channel through Patreon. Viewers like you make this channel possible,
and I really appreciate your support. If you’d like to join these people in supporting
the channel with a pledge of your own, please check out my Patreon page. Thanks for your consideration, and I’ll
see you next time. ♫ capacitavely smooth jazz ♫ Somehow… [sounds of discs clattering together] No… So, that’s how RCA became a thing. R… [clears throat] So? So. So? So. Why on Earth was RCA so determined to make
video work on vinyl? Simple. [smirks] Or don’t fall down, that works too… …hundreds of tape duplicators to make duplicate
recording in real t… augh, no no no, I scr aarr arr… that was
tape recorders! Duplicators is a term that you’d probably
get the context of, but no. In PAL [coughs] And It was, remember res… no. no no no. no no no no no.

100 thoughts on “The CED: RCA’s Very Late, Very Weird Video Gamble (Pt. 1)”

  1. Surprisingly good YouTube recommendation, this was absolutely fascinating.

    Despite its flaws it really seems like a cool machine, very cool. And I can see in my feed that part 2 is ready to roll!

    Well earned sub, much obliged!

  2. Lol nice video. I collect these oddities, as well as Lazer disc. Never bothers to look in to the history. Quite interesting.

  3. Waita minute, you're telling me that we have video cassettes available for home users now? What!
    What else have I missed? O.o

  4. We had one. Used to rent discs at Erols. You inserted a cartridge into the player and it removed the disk and spit out the empty cartridge.

  5. Great video. I was always curious about these players. I see the movies at thrift stores here and there. Very comprehensive and well done. Thank you.

  6. its funny today u need a raspberry pi with compression capability to write a complete video to a vynyl record. With the compression rate on very high it might be possible to fit a complete video on one disk.

  7. Back in the 1980s, the problem that needed to be solved was preventing users from copying and sharing proprietary content. Eventually, they added a feature that removed the video synchronization signal when a VCR-to-VCR copy was attempted. That was because an issue after the explosion of VHS content, most was porn in the beginning, was the protection of that content. Of course, computer owners could capture the output to PC hard disk, but they were too few to worry about.

  8. Hi! Guys work on domesday laserdisc project and invent kinda technology to digitize and store luma chroma analog signal to PC, so we thought about use this device for pairing VHS video heads and this device for LD, then we meet some problems in decoding raw signals, may you make some thoughts about this topic in github? https://github.com/oyvindln/ld-decode/issues/1

  9. MOST IMPORTANT INTEL WAS NOT MENTIONED! ALL (invented) RADIO WAVE WAS INVENTION OF GREAT MAN… NICOLA TESLA!!! marconi was faking roberr and COURT what run 50 YAER after N.Tesla funeral say CREARLY! N.TESLA was FIRST and marconi was a faking robber! WTF… how you can impact too many people without shame,,, without REAL FACT on table… but stupid story abour robber with full of dirty shit! you may feel guilty! for bad impact of 454K people what you screw up.. serving lie.. instead of TRUE!

  10. Where do you obtain all of these quirky examples of retro electronics equipment? Seriously, there can't be very many of these things still around – and the same can be said for a lot of the items you review. How do you come to possess them?

  11. Man that jingle sent me on a nostalgia trip. Not because i know it from CED's or anything RCA related, but because my school played Pictures at an Exhibition back in my 8th grade year and it's always stuck with me.

    Hadn't heard Promenade in so long that it's taken me like, 12+ hours to work out where the heck I knew it from.

  12. It is possible that I am remembering wrong.. I am a tad old, but my first memories of VCRs were in the form of separate units – there was the VCR (VTR?) that recorded the tape and the VCP that played the tape (maybe this was in the days of beta?) The combo units followed shortly thereafter. As I said though, I could be remembering wrong. The only CED discs that I kept from my collection were the old LOTR cartoons: Hobbit, etc. I gave away all of the others. I still have most of my laserdiscs and I still enjoy watching them but many of mine suffer what is known as "laser rot" and are now useless. I've got a giant DVD collection but these days they sit in storage as I watch my various streaming services. I could never have imagined technology would reach this point but I'm glad it has.

  13. Sounds to me like we could have had digital music well before the early 2000s. Records with skip functions, increased fidelity and a complete play through without flipping it, everyone in the 80s would have flipped their shit. Cassettes sucked for at home use.

  14. Lol “I don’t wanna say it but I’m going too” here it comes, you ready? Ok, I’m really gonna say it!!!!! Gosh darnit!! There I said it, I’m so bad

  15. Unfortunately RCA at that time didn't know about digitizing and compressing the TV signal otherwise they (probably) could have been able to fit the entire 3MHz signal into 20KHz with heavy lossy compression.

  16. The Boys From Brazil isn't, obviously, a film made in Brazil. But surely make us proud that our country is being portrayed in this marvelous channel!

  17. Why does the General Electronics logo look like GE Money Bank logo? https://www.google.com/search?q=ge+money+bank+old+logo&newwindow=1&rlz=1C1PRFI_enCZ849CZ849&sxsrf=ACYBGNTsqhPCMq6Pq-oJpgSbtVf89uo93g:1571597587502&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjTg7ufwavlAhVJbVAKHZOJCE8Q_AUIEigB&biw=1536&bih=731

  18. Isn't "VHS Player" a valid way of distinguishing a VCR that is made for the VHS format from a VCR made for the Betamax format?

  19. 5:37 Please don't use high pitched sound to censor your filthy language. There is infinite amount of sounds to choose from. Or don't swear at all. F you in the A and have a nice day

  20. You have solved a mystery that has bugged me for years. I remember my foster parents having one of these when I was very young, I even remember seeing Back to the Future on it. But I've never met anyone else who had ever heard of or seen this technology. Happy to finally know that I wasn't imagining the whole thing.

  21. Within the first few notes, I recognized the tune as being from The Incredible Machine II. It sounded like the game borrowed it, and now I finally know from what.
    (3:39) Vizzini will have a fit. I don't think he can stand it.
    (6:45) This reminds me of when the Ladies and Gents clothing floor were temporarily covering the Toys department, and the Wibbly Wobbly toys, on Are You Being Served? s5e2.
    (11:45) Video Cassette Recorder. The home user can't do that with a CED.

  22. I started working at RCA labs right out of college, just when the CED was killed off. Most of the ex-CED team switched to developing software and silicon to play digital video from CDs and develop interactive video apps. It was called DVI and although it was never really a commercial success, it was a direct ancestor of DVDs, HDTV, and realistic graphics. Intel bought out DVI from RCA and continued to develop the technology for digital video compression and playback which has been part of Windows and Apple software ever since.

  23. We had Ch 41 when I was a kid. Lots of local stuff & Presto the Clown. I do not know if he was in Louisville or not. Thanks for posting this, I remembered something about this but since no one else that I had asked had any recollection at all, I just thought I was confused. Now I know it is real. Soon to be a supporter, just gotta clear it with the wife. 🙂

  24. As a former RCA employee at the time, i can tell you that the RCA
    disc player was in fact a HUGE success.
    …….
    It was cheap and had many times more movies available than any other format so it dominated the market.
    ……..
    Laser disc players were VERY expensive at the time and movie titles were VERY limited on laser disc and were VERY expensive as well.
    ……..
    RCA sold 10 times more disc players than any other player on the market and movie companies made millions because of that format.

  25. My father worked 34 years at RCA as an electrical systems engineer for the Apollo and other space programs.

  26. I watched Dumbo and Mighty Mouse on this odd format as a very young boy (1982). I thought i was crazy remembering these strange record movie things in hard plastic sleeves.

    That said, this is way too much history, edit it down a bit.

  27. CEDs are literally one of the heaviest items I can think of. 5 CEDs feels like a box full of VHS tapes. And a tub with 25 CEDs feels like a wheelbarrow full of dry concrete.

  28. The SelectaVision intro music's first notes are the exact same ones used for the later Atari 8-bit computers (XL, XE) audio self-test https://youtu.be/y9318Sg6pKY?t=23

  29. love your channel. your presenting style should be subject of a tutorial for anyone doing these kinds of informational shows.

    kudos very much, thanks for expanding my knowledge and sharing your passion!!

  30. Eureka!!! I grew up watching an RCA CED at my grandparents! My brother inherited it and we always assumed it was a laserdisc player. BTW, all but one of the 60 movies still play extremely well!

  31. I still have one of these machines but it has Zenith on it. It’s identical other than the brand name. The records skip in it and every movie has a piece missing in order to fit the movie in the disc. I bought the machine in 1981. Some video stores were even renting the discs for it. Trust me, that skipping always happened even when brand new. Sometimes I would stop the machine, remove the needle, put the needle back in, and it would replay the scene without skipping. While watching a movie I was removing the needle on average 4 to 5 times. I regretted buying it but could not afford a VCR. The machine has been in my closet since the 80s. It was working last time I used it. I don’t know if it is now, and I am not sure if my TVs would work with analogue coax now. I have 3 movies. One of them is Saturday Night Fever. Thanks for this video. It was fun to see this as it brought back memories.

  32. Well you know the "skipping" on the ced happened on CD DVD and even Blu Ray players today. So it will always happen so don't knock rca for trying to be innovative

  33. Myself and Panasonic would like you to CORRECTLY pronounce their Japanese namesake CORRECTLY

    MATSUSHITA is phonetically ( MAT – SUE – SHE – TAH )

    NOT ( MET – SEW – SHIT – TUH )

    YOU of all PEOPLE, ….SERIOUSLY
    I wont call the Evil Flying Monkey Robots from Hell to punish you…………THIS TIME

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