LaserDisc is a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium, initially licensed, sold and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978. It was not a format in Europe and Australia when first released but was popular in the 1990s. Its superior video and audio quality made it a choice among videophiles. The technologies and concepts behind LaserDisc were the foundation for later optical disc formats including Compact Disc, DVD, Optical video recording technology, using a transparent disc, was invented by David Paul Gregg and James Russell in 1958. 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 Philips then 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, 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 founded Optical Disc Corporation. 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 and this was a very early example of public access to electronically stored information in a museum. The first LaserDisc title marketed in North America was the MCA DiscoVision release of Jaws in 1978, the last title released in North America was Paramounts 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 LaserDisc players continued until January 14,2009, when Pioneer stopped making them and it was estimated that in 1998, LaserDisc players were in approximately 2% of U. S. households. By comparison, in 1999, players were in 10% of Japanese households, LaserDisc was released on June 10,1981 in Japan, and a total of 3.6 million LaserDisc players were sold there. A total of 16.8 million LaserDisc players were sold worldwide, 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 Europe, LaserDisc always remained an obscure format and it was chosen by the British Broadcasting Corporation 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 up until the early 2000s, the BBC also used LaserDisc technology to play out the channel idents, the standard home video LaserDisc was 30 cm 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 domain with analog FM stereo sound
Constant Angular Velocity LaserDisc showing the NTSC field setup and individual scanlines. Each rotation has two such regions.
A top-loading, Magnavox-branded LaserDisc player with the lid open.
A CD, CDV, LD player PIONEER CLD-2950.
A Pioneer LaserRecorder that can be connected to a computer or a video source