LaserDisc (abbreviated as LD) is a home video format and the first
commercial optical disc storage medium, initially licensed, sold and
marketed as MCA
North America in 1978. Although the
format was capable of offering higher-quality video and audio than its
LaserDisc never managed to
gain widespread use in North America, largely due to high costs for
the players and video titles themselves and the inability to record TV
programs. It was not a popular format in
first released, but eventually did gain traction in these regions to
become popular in the 1990s. By contrast, the format was much more
Japan and in the more affluent regions of Southeast Asia,
such as Hong Kong,
Singapore and Malaysia, and was the prevalent
rental video medium in
Hong Kong during the 1990s. Its superior
video and audio quality made it a popular choice among videophiles and
film enthusiasts during its lifespan. The technologies and concepts
LaserDisc were the foundation for later optical disc formats
Compact Disc (CD),
3.1 Notable players
5 Comparison with other formats
6 Impact and decline
7 Further developments and applications
7.1 Computer control
7.2 Computer games
7.3 MUSE LD
7.4 Picture discs
7.6 Anamorphic LaserDiscs
7.7 Recordable formats
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Optical video recording technology, using a transparent disc, was
David Paul Gregg and James Russell in 1958 (and patented
in 1961 and 1990). The Gregg patents were purchased by MCA in
1968. By 1969,
Philips had developed a videodisc in reflective mode,
which has advantages over the transparent mode. MCA and
decided to combine their efforts and first publicly demonstrated the
video disc in 1972.
LaserDisc was first available on the market, in Atlanta, Georgia, on
December 15, 1978, two years after the introduction of the
and four years before the introduction of the CD (which is based on
laser disc technology). Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA
DiscoVision (also known as simply "DiscoVision") in
North America in
1978, the technology was previously referred to internally as Optical
Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical
Videodisc, and Disco-Vision (with a dash), with the first players
referring to the format as "
Video Long Play".
Pioneer Electronics later purchased the majority stake in the format
and marketed it as both
LaserVision (format name) and
name) in 1980, with some releases unofficially referring to the medium
as "Laser Videodisc".
Philips produced the players while MCA produced
the discs. The Philips-MCA cooperation was not successful, and
discontinued after a few years. Several of the scientists responsible
for the early research (Richard Wilkinson, Ray Dakin and John Winslow)
founded Optical Disc Corporation (now ODC Nimbus).
In 1979, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago opened its
"Newspaper" exhibit which used interactive LaserDiscs to allow
visitors to search for the front page of any Chicago Tribune
newspaper. This was a very early example of public access to
electronically stored information in a museum.
Sony introduced a
LaserDisc format that could store any form
of digital data, as a data storage device similar to CD-ROM, with a
large capacity 3.28 GiB, comparable to the later
LaserDisc title marketed in
North America was the MCA
DiscoVision release of Jaws in 1978. The last title released in
North America was Paramount's
Bringing Out the Dead
Bringing Out the Dead in 2000. The
last Japanese released movie was the
Hong Kong film
Tokyo Raiders from
Golden Harvest. A dozen or so more titles continued to be released in
Japan, until the end of 2001. Production of
continued until January 14, 2009, when Pioneer stopped making
It was estimated that in 1998,
LaserDisc players were in approximately
2% of U.S. households (roughly two million). By comparison, in
1999, players were in 10% of Japanese households.
released on June 10, 1981 in Japan[clarification needed], and a total
of 3.6 million
LaserDisc players were sold there. A total of
LaserDisc players were sold worldwide, of which 9.5
million were sold by Pioneer.
By the early 2000s,
LaserDisc was completely replaced by
DVD in the
North American retail marketplace, as neither players nor software
were then produced. Players were still exported to
North America from
Japan until the end of 2001. The format has retained some popularity
among American collectors, and to a greater degree in Japan, where the
format was better supported and more prevalent during its life. In
LaserDisc always remained an obscure format. It was chosen by
British Broadcasting Corporation
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for the BBC Domesday
Project in the mid-1980s, a school-based project to commemorate
900 years since the original
Domesday Book in England. From 1991
until the early 2000s, the BBC also used
LaserDisc technology to play
out the channel idents.
Comparison of several forms of disc storage showing tracks (not to
scale); green denotes start and red denotes end. Some CD-R(W) and
DVD-R(W)/DVD+R(W) recorders operate in ZCLV, CAA or CAV modes
The standard home video
LaserDisc was 30 cm (12 in) in
diameter and made up of two single-sided aluminum discs layered in
plastic. Although appearing similar to compact discs or DVDs,
LaserDiscs used analog video stored in the composite domain (having a
video bandwidth approximately equivalent to the 1-inch (25 mm)
C-Type VTR format) with analog FM stereo sound and PCM digital audio.
LaserDisc at its most fundamental level was still recorded as a
series of pits and lands much like CDs, DVDs, and even
are today. However, while the encoding is of a binary nature, the
information is encoded as analog pulse-width modulation with a 50%
duty cycle, where the information is contained in the lengths and
spacing of the pits. In true digital media the pits, or their edges,
directly represent 1s and 0s of a binary digital information
stream. Early LaserDiscs featured in 1978 were entirely analog but
the format evolved to incorporate digital stereo sound in CD format
(sometimes with a TOSlink or coax output to feed an external DAC), and
later multi-channel formats such as
Dolby Digital and DTS.
Since digital encoding and compression schemes were either unavailable
or impractical in 1978, three encoding formats based on the rotation
speed were used:
Constant Angular Velocity
LaserDisc showing the
NTSC field setup and
individual scanlines. Each rotation has two such regions.
Constant angular velocity
Constant angular velocity or Standard Play discs supported several
unique features such as freeze frame, variable slow motion and
reverse. CAV discs were spun at a constant rotational speed
(1800 rpm for 525 line and 1500 rpm for 625 line
discs) during playback, with one video frame read per revolution.
In this mode, 54,000 individual frames (30 minutes of
audio/video for NTSC, 36 minutes for PAL) could be stored on a
single side of a CAV disc. Another unique attribute to CAV was to
reduce the visibility of crosstalk from adjacent tracks, since on CAV
discs any crosstalk at a specific point in a frame is simply from the
same point in the next or previous frame. CAV was used less frequently
than CLV, and reserved for special editions of feature films to
highlight bonus material and special effects. One of the most
intriguing advantages of this format was the ability to reference
every frame of a film directly by number, a feature of particular
interest to film buffs, students and others intrigued by the study of
errors in staging, continuity and so on.
Constant linear velocity
Constant linear velocity or
Extended Play discs do not have the "trick
play" features of CAV, offering only simple playback on all but the
LaserDisc players incorporating a digital frame store. These
LaserDisc players could add features not normally available
to CLV discs such as variable forward and reverse, and a VCR-like
"pause". By gradually slowing down their rotational speed
(1,800–600 rpm) CLV encoded discs could store
60 minutes of audio/video per side for
NTSC (64 minutes for
PAL), or two hours per disc. For films with a run–time less than
120 minutes, this meant they could fit on one disc, lowering the
cost of the title and eliminating the distracting exercise of "getting
up to change the disc", at least for those who owned a dual-sided
player. The vast majority of titles were only available in CLV (a few
titles were released partly CLV, partly CAV. For example, a 140-minute
movie could fit on two CLV sides and one CAV side, thus allowing for
the CAV-only features during the climax of the film).
In the early 1980s, due to problems with crosstalk distortion on CLV
extended play LaserDiscs, Pioneer
Video introduced constant angular
acceleration (CAA) formatting for extended play discs. CAA is very
similar to CLV, save for the fact that CAA varies the angular rotation
of the disc in controlled steps instead of gradually slowing down in a
steady linear pace as a CLV disc is read. With the exception of
LaserDisc manufacturers adopted the CAA encoding
scheme, although the term was rarely (if ever) used on any consumer
packaging. CAA encoding noticeably improved picture quality and
greatly reduced crosstalk and other tracking problems while being
fully compatible with existing players.
As Pioneer introduced digital audio to
LaserDisc in 1985, it further
refined the CAA format. CAA55 was introduced in 1985 with a total
playback capacity per side of 55 minutes 5 seconds, reducing
the video capacity to resolve bandwidth issues with the inclusion of
digital audio. Several titles released between 1985 and 1987 were
analog audio only due to the length of the title and the desire to
keep the film on one disc (e.g., Back to the Future). By 1987, Pioneer
had overcome the technical challenges and was able to once again
encode in CAA60, allowing a total of 60 minutes 5 seconds.
Pioneer further refined CAA, offering CAA45, encoding 45 minutes
of material, but filling the entire playback surface of the side. Used
on only a handful of titles, CAA65 offered 65 minutes
5 seconds of playback time per side. There are a handful of
titles pressed by Technidisc that used CAA50. The final variant of CAA
is CAA70, which could accommodate 70 minutes of playback time per
side. There are no known uses of this format on the consumer market.
Sound could be stored in either analog or digital format and in a
variety of surround sound formats;
NTSC discs could carry two analog
audio tracks, plus two uncompressed PCM digital audio tracks, which
were (EFM, CIRC, 16-bit and 44.056 kHz sample rate). PAL
discs could carry one pair of audio tracks, either analog or digital
and the digital tracks on a
PAL disc were 16-bit 44.1 kHz as on a
CD; in the UK, the term "LaserVision" is used to refer to discs with
analog sound, while "LaserDisc" is used for those with digital audio.
The digital sound signal in both formats are EFM-encoded as in CD.
Dolby Digital (also called AC-3) and DTS—which are now common on DVD
titles—first became available on LaserDisc, and Star Wars: Episode I
– The Phantom Menace (1999) which was released on
Japan, is among the first home video releases ever to include 6.1
Dolby Digital EX Surround. Unlike DVDs, which carry Dolby
Digital audio in digital form, LaserDiscs store
Dolby Digital in a
frequency modulated form within a track normally used for analog
Dolby Digital from a
LaserDisc required a player
equipped with a special "AC-3 RF" output and an external demodulator
in addition to an AC-3 decoder. The demodulator was necessary to
convert the 2.88 MHz modulated AC-3 information on the disc into
a 384 kbit/s signal that the decoder could handle. DTS audio,
when available on a disc, replaced the digital audio tracks; hearing
DTS sound required only an
S/PDIF compliant digital connection to a
In the mid to late 1990s many higher-end AV receivers included the
demodulator circuit specifically for the
LaserDisc players RF
Dolby Digital AC-3 signal. By the late 1990s with LaserDisc
players and disc sales declining due to DVD's growing popularity the
AV receiver manufacturers removed the demodulator circuit. Although
DVD players were capable of playing
Dolby Digital tracks, the signals
DVD players were not in a modulated form and not compatible
with the inputs designed for
LaserDisc AC-3. Outboard demodulators
were available for a period that convert the AC-3 signal to standard
Dolby Digital signal that was compatible with the standard Dolby
Digital/PCM inputs on capable AV receivers. Another type marketed by
Onkyo and others converted the RF AC-3 signal to 6-channel analog
The two FM audio channels occupied the disc spectrum at 2.3 and
2.8 MHz on
NTSC formatted discs and each channel had a
100 kHz FM deviation. The FM audio carrier frequencies were
chosen to minimize their visibility in the video image, so that even
with a poorly mastered disc, audio carrier beats in the video will be
at least ‑35 dB down, and thus, invisible. Due to the
frequencies chosen, the 2.8 MHz audio carrier (Right Channel) and
the lower edge of the chroma signal are very close together and if
filters are not carefully set during mastering, there can be
interference between the two. In addition, high audio levels combined
with high chroma levels can cause mutual interference, leading to
beats becoming visible in highly saturated areas of the image. To help
deal with this, Pioneer decided to implement the CX Noise Reduction
System on the analog tracks. By reducing the dynamic range and peak
levels of the audio signals stored on the disc, filtering requirements
were relaxed and visible beats greatly reduced or eliminated. The CX
system gives a total NR effect of 20 dB, but in the interest of
better compatibility for non-decoded playback, Pioneer reduced this to
only 14 dB of noise reduction (the RCA CED system used the
"original" 20 dB CX system). This also relaxed calibration
tolerances in players and helped reduce audible pumping if the CX
decoder was not calibrated correctly.
At least where the digital audio tracks were concerned, the sound
quality was unsurpassed at the time compared to consumer videotape,
but the quality of the analog soundtracks varied greatly depending on
the disc and, sometimes, the player. Many early and lower-end LD
players had poor analog audio components, and in turn many early discs
had poorly mastered analog audio tracks, making digital soundtracks in
any form desirable to serious enthusiasts. Early
LaserDisc titles lacked the digital audio option, but many of those
movies received digital sound in later re-issues by Universal, and the
quality of analog audio tracks generally got far better as time went
on. Many discs that had originally carried old analog stereo tracks
Dolby Stereo and
Dolby Surround tracks instead, often in
addition to digital tracks, helping boost sound quality. Later analog
discs also applied CX noise reduction, which improved the signal-noise
ratio of their audio.
On a DTS disc, digital PCM audio was not available, so if a DTS
decoder was also not available, the only option is to fall back to the
Dolby Surround or stereo audio tracks. In some cases, the
analog audio tracks were further made unavailable through replacement
with supplementary audio such as isolated scores or audio commentary.
This effectively reduced playback of a DTS disc on a non-DTS equipped
system to mono audio, or in a handful of cases, no film soundtrack at
Only one 5.1 surround sound option exists on a given
Dolby Digital or DTS), so if surround sound is desired, the disc must
be matched to the capabilities of the playback equipment (LD player
and receiver/decoder) by the purchaser. A fully capable LaserDisc
playback system includes a newer
LaserDisc player that is capable of
playing digital tracks, has a digital optical output for digital PCM
and DTS audio, is aware of AC-3 audio tracks, and has an AC-3 coaxial
output; an external or internal AC-3 RF demodulator and AC-3 decoder;
and a DTS decoder. Many 1990s A/V receivers combined the AC-3 decoder
and DTS decoder logic, but an integrated AC-3 demodulator is rare both
LaserDisc players and in later A/V receivers.
PAL LaserDiscs have a slightly longer playing time than
but have fewer audio options.
PAL discs only have two audio tracks,
consisting of either two analog-only tracks on older
PAL LDs, or two
digital-only tracks on newer discs. In comparison, later
NTSC LDs are
capable of carrying four tracks (two analog and two digital). On
certain releases, one of the analog tracks is used to carry a
modulated AC-3 signal for
5.1 channel audio (for decoding and playback
by newer LD players with an "AC-3 RF" output). However, older
made before 1984 (such as the original
DiscoVision discs) only have
two analog audio tracks.
A top-loading, Magnavox-branded
LaserDisc player with the lid open.
A CD, CDV, LD player PIONEER CLD-2950.
The earliest players employed gas helium–neon laser tubes to read
discs and had a red-orange light with a wavelength of 632.8 nm,
while later solid-state players used infrared semiconductor laser
diodes with a wavelength of 780 nm.
In March 1984, Pioneer introduced the first consumer player with a
solid-state laser, the LD-700. It was also the first LD player to load
from the front and not the top. One year earlier Hitachi introduced an
expensive industrial player with a laser diode, but the player, which
had poor picture quality due to an inadequate dropout compensator, was
made only in limited quantities. After Pioneer released the LD-700,
gas lasers were no longer used in consumer players, despite their
Philips continued to use gas lasers in their
industrial units until 1985.
LaserDisc players required the user to manually turn the disc
over to play the other side. A number of players (all diode laser
based) were made that were capable of playing both sides of the disc
Pioneer produced some multi-disc models that hold more than 50
LaserDiscs. One company offered, for a short time in 1984, a
"LaserStack" unit that added multi-disc capability to existing
players: the Pioneer LD-600, LD-1100 or the Sylvania/
It requires the user to physically remove the player lid for
installation and attached to the top of the player. LaserStack holds
up to 10 discs and can automatically load or remove them from the
player or change sides in around 15 seconds.
The first mass-produced industrial
LaserDisc player was the MCA
DiscoVision PR-7820, later rebranded the Pioneer PR7820. In North
America, this unit was used in many
General Motors dealerships as a
source of training videos and presentation of GM's new line of cars
and trucks in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Most players made after the mid-1980s are capable of also playing
Compact Discs. These players include a 4.7 in (12 cm)
indentation in the loading tray, where the CD is placed for playback.
At least two Pioneer models (the CLD-M301 and the CLD-M90) also
operate as a CD changer, with several 4.7 in indentations around
the circumference of the main tray.
The Pioneer DVL-9, introduced in 1996, is both Pioneer's first
DVD player and the first combination DVD/LD player.
The first high-definition video player is the Pioneer HLD-X0. A later
model, the HLD-X9, features a superior comb filter, and laser diodes
on both sides of the disc.
Pioneer PR7820, first industrial
LaserDisc player, capable of being
controlled by an external computer, was used in the first US LaserDisc
arcade game Dragon's Lair.
Pioneer CLD-1010, first player capable of playing 5-inch (130 mm)
CD-Video discs. Released in 1987.
Pioneer CLD-D703, a 1994 model with digital audio playback.
Pioneer LaserActive players: The Pioneer CLD-A100 and NEC PCE-LD1
provided the ability to play Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) and
TurboGrafx16 (PC Engine) video games when used in conjunction with
Pioneer DVL series, capable of playing both LaserDiscs and DVDs
LaserDisc certification mark
During its development, MCA, which co-owned the technology, referred
to it as the Optical
Videodisc System, "Reflective Optical Videodisc"
or "Laser Optical Videodisc", depending on the document; changing the
name once in 1969 to Disco-Vision and then again in 1978 to
DiscoVision (without the hyphen), which became the official spelling.
Technical documents and brochures produced by MCA Disco-Vision during
the early and mid-'70s also used the term "Disco-Vision Records" to
refer to the pressed discs. MCA owned the rights to the largest
catalog of films in the world during this time, and they manufactured
and distributed the
DiscoVision releases of those films under the "MCA
DiscoVision" software and manufacturing label; consumer sale of those
titles began on December 15, 1978, with the aforementioned Jaws.
Philips' preferred name for the format was "VLP", after the Dutch
Video Langspeel-Plaat ("
Video long-play disc"), which in
English-speaking countries stood for
Video Long-Play. The first
consumer player, the
Magnavox VH-8000 even had the VLP logo on the
player. For a while in the early and mid-1970s,
Philips also discussed
a compatible audio-only format they called "ALP", but that was soon
dropped as the
Compact Disc system became a non-compatible project in
Philips corporation. Until early 1980, the format had no
"official" name. The
LaserVision Association, made up of MCA,
Universal-Pioneer, IBM, and Philips/Magnavox, was formed to
standardize the technical specifications of the format (which had been
causing problems for the consumer market) and finally named the system
officially as "LaserVision".
After its introduction in
Japan in 1981, the format was introduced in
Europe in 1983 with the
LaserVision name although
Philips used "VLP"
in model designations, such as VLP-600.
Philips tried renaming the
entire format in 1987 to "CD-Video", and while the name and logo
appeared on players and labels for years, the 'official' name of the
format remained LaserVision. In the early 1990s, the format's name was
finally changed to LaserDisc.
Pioneer Electronics also entered the optical disc market in 1977 as a
50/50 joint-venture with MCA called Universal-Pioneer and
manufacturing MCA designed industrial players under the MCA
DiscoVision name (the PR-7800 and PR-7820). For the 1980 launch of the
first Universal-Pioneer player, the VP-1000 was noted as a "laser disc
player", although the "LaserDisc" logo displayed clearly on the
device. In 1981, "LaserDisc" was used exclusively for the medium
itself, although the official name was "LaserVision" (as seen at the
beginning of many
LaserDisc releases just before the start of the
film). However, as Pioneer reminded numerous video magazines and
stores in 1984,
LaserDisc was a trademarked word, standing only for
LaserVision products manufactured for sale by Pioneer
Video or Pioneer
Electronics. A 1984
Ray Charles ad for the LD-700 player bore the term
LaserDisc brand videodisc player". From 1981 until the early
1990s, all properly licensed discs carried the
LaserVision name and
logo, even Pioneer Artists titles.
On single sided LaserDiscs mastered by Pioneer, playing the wrong side
will cause a still screen to appear with a happy, upside down turtle
that has a
LaserDisc for a stomach (nicknamed the "
The words "Program material is recorded on the other side of this
disc" are below the turtle. Other manufacturers used a regular
text message without graphics.
During the early years, MCA also manufactured discs for other
companies including Paramount,
Warner Bros. Some of them
added their own names to the disc jacket to signify that the movie was
not owned by MCA. After Discovision Associates shut down in early
1982, Universal Studio's videodisc software label, called MCA
Videodisc until 1984, began reissuing many
Unfortunately, quite a few, such as Battlestar Galactica and Jaws,
were time-compressed versions of their CAV or CLV Disco Vision
originals. The time-compressed CLV re-issue of Jaws no longer had the
original soundtrack, having had incidental background music replaced
for the video disc version due to licensing cost (the music would not
be available until the THX
LaserDisc box set was released in 1995).
One Universal/Columbia co-production issued by MCA Disco Vision in
both CAV and CLV versions, The Electric Horseman, is still not
available in any other home video format with its original score
intact; even the most recent
DVD release has had substantial music
replacements of both instrumental score and Willie Nelson's songs. An
MCA release of Universal's Howard the Duck sees only the start credits
shown in widescreen before changing to 4:3 for the rest of the film.
For many years this was the only disc-based release of the film, until
DVD formats were released with extras. Also, the LaserDisc
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is the only format to include
the cut scene of
Harrison Ford playing the part of the school
headmaster telling off Elliott for letting the frogs free in the
Comparison with other formats
For a comparison of consumer video resolutions, see List of common
resolutions § Television.
LaserDisc had a number of advantages over VHS. It featured a far
sharper picture with a horizontal resolution of 425 TVL lines for
NTSC and 440 TVL lines for
PAL discs, while
VHS featured only
240 TVL lines with NTSC. It could handle analog and digital
VHS was mostly analog only (
VHS can have PCM audio in
professional applications but is uncommon), and the
NTSC discs could
store multiple audio tracks. This allowed for extras like director's
commentary tracks and other features to be added onto a film, creating
Special Edition" releases that would not have been possible with VHS.
Disc access was random and chapter based, like the
DVD format, meaning
that one could jump to any point on a given disc very quickly. By
VHS would require tedious rewinding and fast-forwarding to
get to specific points.
LaserDiscs were initially cheaper than videocassettes to manufacture,
because they lacked the moving parts and plastic outer shell that are
VHS tapes to work, and the duplication process was much
VHS cassette has at least 14 parts including the actual
LaserDisc has one part with five or six layers. A disc can
be stamped out in a matter of seconds whereas duplicating videotape
required a complex bulk tape duplication mechanism and was a
time-consuming process. However, by the end of the 1980s, average
disc-pressing prices were over $5.00 per two-sided disc, due to the
large amount of plastic material and the costly glass-mastering
process needed to make the metal stamper mechanisms. Due to the larger
volume of demand, videocassettes quickly became much cheaper to
duplicate, costing as little as $1.00 by the beginning of the 1990s.
LaserDiscs potentially had a much longer lifespan than videocassettes.
Because the discs were read optically instead of magnetically, no
physical contact needs to be made between the player and the disc,
except for the player's clamp that holds the disc at its center as it
is spun and read. As a result, playback would not wear the
information-bearing part of the discs, and properly manufactured LDs
would theoretically last beyond a lifetime. By contrast, a
held all of its picture and sound information on the tape in a
magnetic coating which is in contact with the spinning heads on the
head drum, causing progressive wear with each use (though later in
VHS's lifespan, engineering improvements allowed tapes to be made and
played back without contact). The tape was also thin and delicate, and
it was easy for a player mechanism, especially on a low quality or
malfunctioning model, to mishandle the tape and damage it by creasing
it, frilling (stretching) its edges, or even breaking it.
By the time of the advent of the DVD,
LaserDisc had declined
considerably in popularity, so the two formats never directly competed
with each other.
LaserDisc was a composite video format: the luminance (black and
white) and chrominance (color) information were transmitted in one
signal, separated by the receiver. While good comb filters can do so
adequately, these two signals cannot be completely separated. On DVDs,
data is stored in the form of digital blocks which make up each
independent frame. The signal produced is dependent on the equipment
used to master the disc. Signals range from composite and split, to
YUV and RGB. Depending upon which format is used, this can result in
far higher fidelity, particularly at strong color borders or regions
of high detail (especially if there is moderate movement in the
picture) and low-contrast details like skin tones, where comb filters
almost inevitably smudge some detail.
In contrast to the entirely digital DVD, LaserDiscs use only analog
video. As the
LaserDisc format is not digitally encoded and does not
make use of compression techniques, it is immune to video
macroblocking (most visible as blockiness during high motion
sequences) or contrast banding (subtle visible lines in gradient
areas, such as out-of-focus backgrounds, skies, or light casts from
spotlights) that can be caused by the
MPEG-2 encoding process as video
is prepared for DVD. Early
DVD releases held the potential to surpass
LaserDisc counterparts, but often managed only to match them for
image quality, and in some cases, the
LaserDisc version was preferred.
However, proprietary human-assisted encoders manually operated by
specialists can vastly reduce the incidence of artifacts, depending on
playing time and image complexity. By the end of LaserDisc's run, DVDs
were living up to their potential as a superior format.
DVDs use compressed audio formats such as
Dolby Digital and DTS for
multichannel sound. Most LaserDiscs were encoded with stereo (often
Dolby Surround) CD quality audio 16bit/44.1 kHz tracks as
well as analog audio tracks.
DTS-encoded LaserDiscs have DTS soundtracks of 1,235 kbit/s
instead of the reduced bitrate of 768 kbit/s commonly employed on
DVDs with optional DTS audio.
LaserDisc players can provide a great degree of control over the
playback process. Unlike many
DVD players, the transport mechanism
always obeys commands from the user: pause, fast-forward, and
fast-reverse commands are always accepted (barring, of course,
malfunctions). There were no "User Prohibited Options" where content
protection code instructs the player to refuse commands to skip a
specific part (such as fast forwarding through copyright warnings).
DVD players, particularly higher-end units, do have the ability
to ignore the blocking code and play the video without restrictions,
but this feature is not common in the usual consumer market.)
With CAV LaserDiscs, the user can jump directly to any individual
frame of a video simply by entering the frame number on the remote
keypad, a feature not common among
DVD players. Some
DVD players have
cache features which stores a certain amount of the video in RAM which
allows the player to index a
DVD as quickly as an LD, even down to the
frame in some players.
Damaged spots on a
LaserDisc can be played through or skipped over,
DVD will often become unplayable past the damage. Some newer
DVD players feature a repair+skip algorithm, which alleviates this
problem by continuing to play the disc, filling in unreadable areas of
the picture with blank space or a frozen frame of the last readable
image and sound. The success of this feature depends upon the amount
LaserDisc players, when working in full analog, recover
from such errors faster than
DVD players. Direct comparison here is
almost impossible due to the sheer size differences between the two
media. A 1 in (3 cm) scratch on a
DVD will probably cause
more problems than a 1 in (3 cm) scratch on a LaserDisc, but
a fingerprint taking up 1% of the area of a
DVD would almost certainly
cause fewer problems than a similar mark covering 1% of the surface of
a LaserDisc.
Similar to the CD versus LP sound quality debates common in the
audiophile community, some videophiles argue that
a "smoother", more "film-like", natural image while
DVD still looks
slightly more artificial. Early
DVD demo discs often had compression
or encoding problems, lending additional support to such claims at the
time. However, the video signal-to-noise ratio and bandwidth of
LaserDisc are substantially less than that of DVDs, making DVDs appear
sharper and clearer to most viewers.
Another advantage, at least to some consumers, was the lack of any
sort of anti-piracy technology. It was claimed that Macrovision's
Copyguard protection could not be applied to LaserDisc, due to the
format's design. The vertical blanking interval, where the Macrovision
signal would be implemented, was also used for timecode and/or frame
coding as well as player control codes on
LaserDisc players, so test
Macrovision would not play at all. There was never a push
to redesign the format despite the obvious potential for piracy due to
its relatively small market share. The industry simply decided to
engineer it into the
LaserDisc's support for multiple audio tracks allowed for vast
supplemental materials to be included on-disc and made it the first
available format for "
Special Edition" releases; the 1984 Criterion
Collection edition of
Citizen Kane is generally credited as being the
Special Edition" release to home video, and
for setting the standard by which future SE discs were measured. The
disc provided interviews, commentary tracks, documentaries, still
photographs, and other features for historians and collectors.
Despite the advantages over competing technology at the time (namely
VHS and Betamax), the format does have drawbacks. The discs are heavy
(weighing about 250 grams (half a pound) each), cumbersome, more prone
VHS tape to damage if mishandled, and manufacturers did not
market LD units with recording capabilities to consumers. Also,
because of their size, greater mechanical effort was required to spin
the discs at the proper speed, resulting in much more noise generated
than other media.
The space-consuming analog video signal of a
playback duration to 30/36 minutes (CAV NTSC/PAL) or
60/64 minutes (CLV NTSC/PAL) per side because of the hardware
manufacturer's refusal to reduce line count for increased playtime.
After one side was finished playing, a disc has to be flipped over to
continue watching a movie, and some titles fill two or more discs.
Many players, especially units built after the mid-1980s, can "flip"
discs automatically by rotating the optical pickup to the other side
of the disc, but this is accompanied by a pause in the movie during
the side change. If the movie is longer than what could be stored on
two sides of a single disc, manually swapping to a second disc is
necessary at some point during the film. One exception to this rule is
the Pioneer LD-W1, which features the ability to load two discs and to
play each side of one disc and then to switch to playing each side of
the other disc. In addition, perfect still frames and random access to
individual still frames is limited only to the more expensive CAV
discs, which only had a playing time of approximately 30 minutes per
side. In later years, Pioneer and other manufacturers overcame this
limitation by incorporating a digital memory buffer, which "grabbed" a
single field or frame from a CLV disc.
The analog information encoded on LaserDiscs does not include any form
of built-in checksum or error correction. Because of this, slight dust
and scratches on the disc surface can result in read-errors which
cause various video quality problems: glitches, streaks, bursts of
static, or momentary picture interruptions. In contrast, the digital
MPEG-2 format information used on DVDs has built-in error correction
which ensures that the signal from a damaged disc will remain
identical to that from a perfect disc right up until the point at
which damage to the disc surface is so substantial that it prevents
the laser from being able to identify usable data.
LaserDisc videos sometimes exhibit a problem known as
"crosstalk". The issue can arise when the laser optical pickup
assembly within the player is out of alignment or because the disc is
damaged or excessively warped, but it could also occur even with a
properly functioning player and a factory-new disc, depending on
electrical and mechanical alignment problems. In these instances, the
issue arose due to the fact that CLV discs require subtle changes in
rotating speed at various points during playback. During a change in
speed, the optical pickup inside the player might read video
information from a track adjacent to the intended one, causing data
from the two tracks to "cross"; the extra video information picked up
from that second track shows up as distortion in the picture which
looks reminiscent of swirling "barber poles" or rolling lines of
Assuming the player's optical pickup is in proper working order,
crosstalk distortion normally does not occur during playback of CAV
format LaserDiscs, as the rotational speed never varies. However, if
the player calibration is out of order or if the CAV disc is faulty or
damaged, other problems affecting tracking accuracy can occur. One
such problem is "laser lock", where the player reads the same two
fields for a given frame over and over again, causing the picture to
look frozen as if the movie were paused.
Another significant issue unique to
LaserDisc is one involving the
inconsistency of playback quality between different makers and models
of player. On most televisions, a given
DVD player will produce a
picture that is visually indistinguishable from other units.
Differences in image quality between players only becomes easily
apparent on large televisions and substantial leaps in image quality
are generally only obtained with expensive, high-end players that
allow for post-processing of the
MPEG-2 stream during playback. In
LaserDisc playback quality is highly dependent on hardware
quality. Major variances in picture quality appear between different
makers and models of LD players, even when tested on a low to
mid-range television. The obvious benefits of using high quality
equipment has helped keep demand for some players high, thus also
keeping pricing for those units comparably high. In the 1990s, notable
players sold for anywhere from US$200 to well over $1,000, while older
and less desirable players could be purchased in working condition for
as little as $25.
Main article: Laser rot
Many early LDs were not manufactured properly; sometimes a substandard
adhesive was used to sandwich together the two sides of the
disc. The adhesive contained impurities that were
able to penetrate the lacquer seal layer and chemically attack the
metalized reflective aluminium layer, causing it to oxidize and lose
its reflective characteristics. This was a problem that was termed
"laser rot" among LD enthusiasts, also called "color flash" internally
by LaserDisc-pressing plants. Some forms of laser rot could appear as
black spots that looked like mold or burned plastic which cause the
disc to skip and the movie to exhibit excessive speckling noise. But,
for the most part, rotted discs could actually appear perfectly fine
to the naked eye.
Later optical standards have been known to suffer similar problems,
including a notorious batch of defective CDs manufactured by
Philips-DuPont Optical at their Blackburn, Lancashire facility in
England during the late 1980s/early 1990s.
Impact and decline
LaserDisc did not have high market penetration in
North America due to
the high cost of the players and discs, which were far more expensive
VHS players and tapes, and due to marketplace confusion with the
technologically inferior CED, which also went by the name Videodisc.
While the format was not widely adopted by North American consumers,
it was well received among videophiles due to the superior audio and
video quality compared to
Betamax tapes, finding a place in
nearly one million American homes by the end of 1990. The format
was more popular in
Japan than in
North America because prices were
kept low to ensure adoption, resulting in minimal price differences
VHS tapes and the higher quality LaserDiscs, helping ensure
that it quickly became the dominant consumer video format in Japan.
Anime collectors in every country the LD format was released, which
North America and Japan, also quickly became familiar
with this format, and sought the higher video and sound quality of
LaserDisc and the availability of numerous titles not available on
VHS. LaserDiscs were also popular alternatives to videocassettes among
movie enthusiasts in the more affluent regions of South East Asia,
such as Singapore, due to their high integration with the Japanese
export market and the disc-based media's superior longevity compared
to videocassette, especially in the humid conditions endemic to that
area of the world.
The format also became quite popular in
Hong Kong during the 1990s
before the introduction of VCDs and DVD; although people rarely bought
the discs (because each LD was priced around USD100), high rental
activity helped the video rental business in the city grow larger than
it had ever been previously. Due to integration with the Japanese
NTSC LaserDiscs were used in the
Hong Kong market, in
contrast to the
PAL standard used for broadcast (this anomaly also
exists for DVD). This created a market for multi-system TVs and
multi-system VCRs which could display or play both
PAL and NTSC
materials in addition to SECAM materials (which were never popular in
Hong Kong). Some LD players could convert
NTSC signals to
PAL so that
most TVs used in
Hong Kong could display the LD materials.
Despite the relative popularity, manufacturers refused to market
LaserDisc devices on the consumer market, even though the
VCR devices could record onto cassette, which hurt sales
worldwide. The inconvenient disc size, the high cost of both the
players and the media and the inability to record onto the discs
combined to take a serious toll on sales, and contributed to the
format's poor adoption figures.
LaserDisc format was supplanted by
DVD by the late 1990s,
many LD titles are still highly coveted by movie enthusiasts (for
Song of the South
Song of the South which is unavailable in the US in
any format, but was issued in
Japan on LD). This is largely because
there are many films that are still only available on LD and many
other LD releases contain supplementary material not available on
DVD versions of those films. Until the end of 2001, many
titles were released on VHS, LD and
DVD in Japan.
LD players are also sometimes still found in contemporary North
American high school and college physics classrooms, to play a disc of
the Physics: Cinema Classics series of mid-20th century Encyclopædia
Britannica films reproducing classic experiments in the field which
are difficult or impossible to replicate in the laboratories in
educational settings. These films have now been released on
Further developments and applications
In the early 1980s,
Philips produced a
LaserDisc player model adapted
for a computer interface, dubbed "professional". In 1985, Jasmine
LaserDisc jukeboxes featuring music videos from
Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, and Cyndi Lauper. When connected to a PC
this combination could be used to display images or information for
educational or archival purposes, for example thousands of scanned
medieval manuscripts. This strange device could be considered a very
early equivalent of a CD-ROM.
In the mid-1980s
Lucasfilm pioneered the
EditDroid non-linear editing
system for film and television based on computer-controlled LaserDisc
players. Instead of printing dailies out on film, processed negatives
from the day's shoot would be sent to a mastering plant to be
assembled from their 10-minute camera elements into 20-minute film
segments. These were then mastered onto single-sided blank LaserDiscs,
just as a
DVD would be burnt at home today, allowing for much easier
selection and preparation of an edit decision list (EDL). In the days
before video assist was available in cinematography, this was the only
other way a film crew could see their work. The EDL went to the
negative cutter who then cut the camera negative accordingly and
assembled the finished film. Only 24
EditDroid systems were ever
built, even though the ideas and technology are still in use today.
EditDroid experiments borrowed from hard-drive technology of
having multiple discs on the same spindle and added numerous playback
heads and numerous electronics to the basic jukebox design so that any
point on each of the discs would be accessible within seconds. This
eliminated the need for racks and racks of industrial LaserDisc
EditDroid discs were only single-sided.
In 1986, a SCSI-equipped
LaserDisc player attached to a BBC Master
computer was used for the BBC Domesday Project. The player was
referred as an
LaserVision Read Only Memory) as the discs
contained the driving software as well as the video frames. The discs
used the CAV format, and encoded data as a binary signal represented
by the analog audio recording. These discs could contain in each CAV
frame video/audio or video/binary data, but not both. "Data" frames
would appear blank when played as video. It was typical for each disc
to start with the disc catalog (a few blank frames) then the video
introduction before the rest of the data. Because the format (based on
the ADFS hard disc format) used a starting sector for each file, the
data layout effectively skipped over any video frames. If all
54,000 frames are used for data storage an
LV-ROM disc can
contain 324 MB of data per side. The Domesday Project systems
also included a genlock, allowing video frames, clips and audio to be
mixed with graphics originated from the BBC Master; this was used to
great effect for displaying high resolution photographs and maps,
which could then be zoomed into.
During the 1980s in the United States, Digital Equipment Corporation
developed the standalone PC control IVIS (Interactive VideoDisc
Information System) for training and education. One of the most
influential programs developed at DEC was Decision Point, a management
gaming simulation, which won the Nebraska
Video Disc Award for Best of
Show in 1985.
HyperCard scripting language provided Macintosh computer users
with a means to design databases of slides, animation, video and
sounds from LaserDiscs and then to create interfaces for users to play
specific content from the disc through software called
LaserStacks. User-created "stacks" were shared and were especially
popular in education where teacher-generated stacks were used to
access discs ranging from art collections to basic biological
processes. Commercially available stacks were also popular with the
Voyager company being possibly the most successful distributor.
Commodore International's 1992 multimedia presentation system for the
Amiga, AmigaVision, included device drivers for controlling a number
LaserDisc players through a serial port. Coupled with the Amiga's
ability to use a Genlock, this allowed for the
LaserDisc video to be
overlaid with computer graphics and integrated into presentations and
multimedia displays, years before such practice was commonplace.
Pioneer also made computer-controlled units such as the LD-V2000. It
had a back-panel
RS-232 serial connection through a five-pin DIN
connector, and no front-panel controls except Open/Close. (The disc
would be played automatically upon insertion.)
Under contract from the U.S. military,
Matrox produced a combination
LaserDisc player for instructional purposes. The computer was
a 286, the
LaserDisc player only capable of reading the analog audio
tracks. Together they weighed 43 lb (20 kg) and sturdy
handles were provided in case two people were required to lift the
unit. The computer controlled the player via a 25-pin serial port at
the back of the player and a ribbon cable connected to a proprietary
port on the motherboard. Many of these were sold as surplus by the
military during the 1990s, often without the controller software.
Nevertheless, it is possible to control the unit by removing the
ribbon cable and connecting a serial cable directly from the
computer's serial port to the port on the
The format's instant-access capability made it possible for a new
breed of LaserDisc-based video arcade games and several companies saw
potential in using LaserDiscs for video games in the 1980s and 1990s,
beginning in 1983 with Sega's Astron Belt.
American Laser Games
American Laser Games and
Cinematronics produced elaborate arcade consoles that used the
random-access features to create interactive movies such as Dragon's
Lair and Space Ace. Similarly, the
Pioneer Laseractive and Halcyon
were introduced as home video game consoles that used
for their software.
In 1991, several manufacturers announced specifications for what would
become known as MUSE LaserDisc, representing a span of almost
15 years until the feats of this HD analog optical disc system
would finally be duplicated digitally by HD
Encoded using NHK's MUSE "Hi-Vision" analogue TV system, MUSE discs
would operate like standard LaserDiscs but would contain
high-definition 1,125-line (1,035 visible lines) (
video with a 5:3 aspect ratio. The MUSE players were also capable of
NTSC format discs and are superior in performance to
non-MUSE players even with these
NTSC discs. The MUSE-capable players
had several noteworthy advantages over standard
including a red laser with a much narrower wavelength than the lasers
found in standard players. The red laser was capable of reading
through disc defects such as scratches and even mild disc rot that
would cause most other players to stop, stutter or drop-out. Crosstalk
was not an issue with MUSE discs, and the narrow wavelength of the
laser allowed for the virtual elimination of crosstalk with normal
To view MUSE encoded discs, it was necessary to have a MUSE decoder in
addition to a compatible player. There are televisions with MUSE
decoding built-in and set top tuners with decoders that can provide
the proper MUSE input. Equipment prices were high, especially for
early HDTVs which generally eclipsed US$10,000, and even in
market for MUSE was tiny. Players and discs were never officially sold
in North America, although several distributors imported MUSE discs
along with other import titles. Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Lawrence
of Arabia, A League of Their Own, Bugsy, Close Encounters of the Third
Kind, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Chaplin were among the theatrical
releases available on MUSE LDs. Several documentaries, including one
Formula One at Japan's
Suzuka Circuit were also released.
Picture discs have artistic etching on one side of the disc to make
the disc more visually attractive than the standard shiny silver
surface. This etching might look like a movie character, logo, or
other promotional material. Sometimes that side of the LD would be
made with colored plastic, rather than the clear material used for the
data side. Picture disc LDs only had video material on one side as the
"picture" side could not contain any data. Picture discs are rare in
Pioneer Electronics—one of the format's largest
supporters/investors—was also deeply involved in the karaoke
business in Japan, and used LaserDiscs as the storage medium for music
and additional content such as graphics. This format was generally
called LD-G. While several other karaoke labels manufactured
LaserDiscs, there was nothing like the breadth of competition in that
industry that exists now, as almost all manufacturers have
With the release of 16:9 televisions in the early 1990s, Pioneer and
Toshiba decided that it was time to take advantage of this aspect
ratio. Squeeze LDs were enhanced 16:9-ratio widescreen LaserDiscs.
During the video transfer stage, the movie was stored in an anamorphic
"squeezed" format. The widescreen movie image was stretched to fill
the entire video frame with less or none of the video resolution
wasted to create letterbox bars. The advantage was a 33% greater
vertical resolution compared to letterboxed widescreen LaserDisc. This
same procedure was used for anamorphic DVDs, but unlike all DVD
players, very few LD players had the ability to unsqueeze the image
for 4:3 sets, If the discs were played on a standard 4:3 television
the image would be distorted. However some 4:3 sets (such as the Sony
WEGA series) could be set to unsqueeze the image. Since very few
people outside of
Japan owned 16:9 displays, the marketability of
these special discs was very limited.
There were no anamorphic
LaserDisc titles available in the US except
for promotional purposes. Upon purchase of a Toshiba 16:9 television
viewers had the option of selecting a number of
Warner Bros. 16:9
films. Titles include Unforgiven, Grumpy Old Men, The Fugitive, and
Free Willy. The Japanese lineup of titles was different. A series of
releases under the banner "Squeeze LD" from Pioneer of mostly Carolco
titles included Basic Instinct, Stargate, Terminator 2: Judgment Day,
Showgirls, Cutthroat Island, and Cliffhanger.
Terminator 2 was
released twice in Squeeze LD, the second release being THX certified
and a notable improvement over the first.
A Pioneer LaserRecorder that can be connected to a computer or a video
A CRVdisc with a
VHS tape for size comparison
A Recordable Laser
Videodisc with a
DVD-R for size comparison
Another type of video media, CRVdisc, or "Component Recordable Video
Disc" were available for a short time, mostly to professionals.
Developed by Sony, CRVdiscs resemble early PC
CD-ROM caddies with a
disc inside resembling a full-sized LD. CRVdiscs were blank,
write-once, read-many media that can be recorded once on each side.
CRVdiscs were used largely for backup storage in professional and
commercial applications.
Another form of recordable
LaserDisc that is completely
playback-compatible with the
LaserDisc format (unlike CRVdisc with its
caddy enclosure) is the RLV, or Recordable Laser Videodisc. It was
developed and first marketed by the Optical Disc Corporation (ODC, now
ODC Nimbus) in 1984. RLV discs, like CRVdisc, are also a WORM
technology, and function exactly like a
CD-R disc. RLV discs look
almost exactly like standard LaserDiscs, and can play in any standard
LaserDisc player after they have been recorded.
The only cosmetic difference between an RLV disc and a regular
factory-pressed LaserDiscs is their reflective purple-violet (or blue
with some RLV discs) color resulting from the dye embedded in the
reflective layer of the disc to make it recordable, as opposed to the
silver mirror appearance of regular LDs. The purplish color of RLVs is
very similar to
DVD+R discs. RLVs were popular for making
short-run quantities of LaserDiscs for specialized applications such
as interactive kiosks and flight simulators.
Pioneer also produced a rewritable
LaserDisc system, the VDR-V1000
"LaserRecorder" for which the discs had a claimed erase/record
potential of 1,000,000 cycles.
These recordable LD systems were never marketed toward the general
public, and are so poorly known as to create the misconception that
home recording for LaserDiscs was impossible and a "weakness" of the
The most common size of
LaserDisc was 30 cm (11.8 in),
approximately the size of 12 in (30.5 cm) LP vinyl records.
These discs allowed for 30/36 minutes per side (CAV NTSC/PAL) or
60/64 minutes per side (CLV NTSC/PAL). The vast majority of
programming for the
LaserDisc format was produced on these discs.
A number of 20 cm (7.9 in) LaserDiscs were also published.
These smaller "EP"-sized LDs allowed for 20 minutes per side
(CLV). They are much rarer than the full-size LDs, especially in North
America, and roughly approximate the size of 45rpm (7 in
(17.8 cm)) vinyl singles. These discs were often used for music
video compilations (e.g. Bon Jovi's "Breakout", Bananarama's "Video
Singles" or T'Pau's "View From a Bridge".)
There were also 12 cm (4.7 in) (CD size) "single"-style
discs produced that were playable on
LaserDisc players. These were
referred to as
CD Video (CD-V) discs, and
Video Single Discs (VSD). A
CD-V carried up to five minutes of analog LaserDisc-type video content
(usually a music video), as well as up to 20 minutes of digital
audio CD tracks. The original 1989 release of David Bowie's
Sound + Vision CD box set prominently featured a CD-V
video of "Ashes to Ashes", and standalone promo CD-Vs featured the
video, plus three audio tracks: "John, I'm Only Dancing", "Changes",
and "The Supermen".
CD-Vs are not to be confused with
Video CDs (which are all-digital and
can only be played on VCD players,
computers, and later-model
LaserDisc players that can also play DVDs,
such as the DVL-9xx series from Pioneer). CD-Vs can only be played
LaserDisc players with CD-V capability. VSDs were the same as
CD-Vs, but without the audio CD tracks. CD-Vs were somewhat popular
for a brief time worldwide, but soon faded from view. VSDs were
popular only in
Japan and other parts of Asia, and were never fully
introduced to the rest of the world.
LaserDisc Players: wave of the future?. Retrieved 24 October 2011
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^ U.S. Patent 3,530,258
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to LaserDisc.
LaserDisc Player Archive: includes North American players
LaserDisc Database: titles database, profiling, marketplace
The 'Total Rewind'
VCR museum, covering
LaserDisc and other vintage
Available spectrum organisation
The addition of digital sound, by Kees Schouhamer Immink
"World On A Silver Platter: A Brief History of Optical Disc"
BLAM entry page for discovision
LaserDisc FAQ, (original source)
DiscoVision History via the Wayback Machine
BLAM Entertainment Group: includes
Star Wars and Star Trek LaserDisc
catalogs and lists of
Dolby Digital and DTS equipped titles
Blog and Database: articles, title information, marketplace
SelectaVision VideoDisc FAQ: also contains some DiscoVision
eBay UK guide - Laserdisc Players and Laserdiscs - Formats and
Guide to and software for the
Video storage formats
Ampex 2 inch helical VTR (1961)
Sony 2 inch helical VTR (1961)
Type A (1965)
Type B (1976)
Type C (1976)
Video 2000 (1980)
Digital-S (D9) (1995)
Betacam SX (1996)
Sony HDVS (1984)
D6 HDTV VTR
D6 HDTV VTR (2000)
HDCAM SR (2003)
CD Video (1987)
VSD (c. 1987)
DVD (c. 1996)
Video Disc) (2003)
HVD (High-Definition Versatile Disc) (2004)
MUSE Hi-Vision LD (1994)
Blu-ray disc) (2006)
MiniBD (c. 2006)
HVD (Holographic Versatile Disc) (2007)
CBHD (China Blue High-definition Disc) (2008)
UHD BRD (Ultra HD
Blu-ray disc) (2016)
DVCPRO HD (2000)
Video recorded to film
Electronicam kinescope (1950s)
Video Recording (1967)
Optical storage media
BD-R XL (2010)
BD-RE XL (2010)
DVD+R DL (2004)
DVD-R DL (2005)
Compact disc (1982)
Optical tape (20th century)
Optical disc (20th century)
Magneto-optic Kerr effect
Magneto-optic Kerr effect (1877)
MO disc (1980s)
Laser turntable (1986)