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RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc FAQ



Frequently Asked Questions about RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc

This FAQ about RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc was compiled and written by tom@cedmagic.com (Tom Howe) with numerous contributions by others.

Copyright (c) 1996-2003 by Tom Howe. All rights reserved.

This FAQ may be freely redistributed in its entirety without modification provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents (e.g., published for sale on CD-ROM, floppy disks, books, magazines, or other print form) without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. Permission is expressly granted for this document to be made available for file transfer from installations offering unrestricted anonymous file transfer on the Internet. If this FAQ is reproduced in off-line media (e.g., CD-ROM, print form, etc.), a complimentary copy should be sent to Tom Howe, P.O. Box 5604, Portland, OR 97228 USA.

RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc FAQ

This is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc System, a delivery platform for home video marketed by RCA from March 1981 through June 1986. In the mid 1990's, defunct electronic technology from the 70's and 80's became collectible, as evidenced by the creation of Usenet news groups devoted to collecting items as diverse as 8-Track tapes and Atari 2600 video game cartridges. In this same time frame I was contacted by a number of people interested in getting more information on the RCA VideoDisc system, rather than to just sell their player and discs, and there were postings to the Usenet groups rec.video, rec.collecting, misc.wanted, and alt.video.laserdisc from people wanting to purchase discs. These events led me to start this FAQ, in part to provide answers to the increasing volume of questions regarding the SelectaVision VideoDisc system, and also to dispel some inaccuracies (such as the rumor that new stylus cartridges have been unobtainable for years). I saved all references to the RCA VideoDisc system that appeared in the above newsgroups since 1990, and it is from this data, as well as questions that have been asked of me by other collectors, that the questions in this FAQ are derived.

-1.1 Why Collect RCA VideoDiscs?
I'm tackling this question first, since there have been several ...
-1.2 What does the acronym CED mean, and is there an explanation forhow these discs work?
CED stands for Capacitance Electronic Disc, which refers to the ...
-1.3 What are the technical specifications of the RCA VideoDisc system?
Here are the technical specifications for the RCA VideoDisc System,...
-1.4 What is the proper terminology to use when talking about RCAVideoDiscs?
The name used by RCA for the first couple of years of production ...
-1.5 Where can I find RCA VideoDiscs and players?
The best retail establishments, in order of preference, are ...
-1.6 Are there any mail-order CED liquidators still in operation?
There were quite a few CED liquidators back in the late 1980's, but I ...
-1.7 Is there a site on the World Wide Web where I can get informationon the RCA VideoDisc system?
I have established a web site named
-1.8 In what countries was the RCA VideoDisc system available?
The RCA VideoDisc system was primarily a US/Canada product and was ...
-1.9 Is the RCA VideoDisc system older than the MCA DiscoVisionreflective optical disc system (later called LaserDisc)?
The MCA DiscoVision system was first offered for sale on December 15,...
-1.10 The music played at startup on the early RCA VideoDiscs from 1981sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?
This music is from the Promenade of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky'...
-1.11 What does the phrase "Nipper's Revenge" mean in regards to theRCA VideoDisc system?
Nipper is the dog in the familiar RCA trademark where the terrier ...
-1.12 How does the resolution of CED compare to the VHS, LaserDisc,and DVD video formats?
RCA didn't use Lines of Resolution in their CED specifications, but ...
-1.13 Magazine articles in late 1976 and early 1977 implied theimminent release of the RCA VideoDisc system. Why didn't it appear untilMarch 1981?
In late 1975, Anthony Conrad replaced Robert Sarnoff as head of RCA ...
-1.14 Grooved records containing images and sounds of Earth were placedon the two NASA Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. Were these CED's?
The Voyager records were not CED's but gold-plated Audio LP mothers ...
-1.15 Who were some of the key people involved in bringing the CEDsystem from research concept to a manufacturable product?
Thomas Stanley of RCA Laboratories suggested in 1959 that video could ...
-1.16 Why did the CED system fail to even come close to RCA's expectedmarket penetration?
RCA expected to sell 200,000 players in 1981 (they sold half ...
-1.17 Why did RCA abandon further development of the CED system inApril 1984?
At the end of 1983, RCA had sold fewer than 500,000 players total, ...
-1.18 How much did CED players and software titles cost when theywere new?
RCA priced some of their players at $499.95 when first introduced--...
-2.1 Who manufactured CED Players, and how many different models arethere?
There were 4 manufacturers, marketed under 11 brand names, with a ...
-2.2 How many CED players were manufactured over what time span?
Players were manufactured from late 1980 (in preparation for the ...
-2.3 What are some recommended CED player models?
There are two models I'd recommend any serious CED collector to ...
-2.4 The RCA K series players appear externally identical to their Jseries counterparts. What changes were made in the K series?
Although at first glance identical, minor cosmetic changes were ...
-2.5 Do any CED players have a serial port to control the player withan external computer?
RCA made four models controllable with an external computer- the SKT265,...
-2.6 Is it true that new stylus cartridges for CED players have beenunavailable for a long time?
This rumor may have started when the Q & A Column in the January ...
-2.7 Are the stylus cartridges used in stereophonic players differentfrom those used in monaural players?
RCA introduced a new stylus cartridge about the same time the ...
-2.8 How long should a new stylus cartridge last?
RCA tests indicate an expected life of about 1,000 hours play time ...
-2.9 How do I install a replacement stylus cartridge in my CED player?
On all players except the RCA J and K series, there is an access ...
-2.10 My CED player is broken, and none of the service centers in myarea will work on CED players. What can I do?
Well, the simplest solution might be to run an
-2.11 Will it be impossible to find replacement electronic componentsfor CED players, when these are no longer available from the originalmanufacturer?
Actually, looking 20 years into the future, CED players will be ...
-2.12 Why does my CED player eject the disc caddy without removing thedisc?
This condition occurs on the RCA J and K series players when ...
-2.13 Why do the side indicator LED's on my player indicate the wrongside on some of my discs?
The status of the side indicator LED's is determined by switches ...
-2.14 Where can I get a service manual for my CED Player?
Photocopies of the service manuals for the RCA and Sears players, ...
-2.15 Can separate Audio/Video connectors be added to my CED playerthat does not have these built-in?
With many CED players it is possible to add these connections, in fact,...
-2.16 Why can't I program a universal IR remote to control my SGT250player?
The SGT250 (as well as the SJT300, SKT300, and JCPenney 686-5705) ...
-2.17 Can I remove RCA VideoDiscs from their caddies and play them inmy LaserDisc player?
The answer to this question is an emphatic NO, but I'm surprised at ...
-2.18 I've heard there are special LaserDisc players that can playCED's. Where can I get such a player?
I wouldn't call these LaserDisc players, but RCA had a number ...
-2.19 I've heard of a CED player called the VHD system that doesn't usegrooved discs. What is this?
The Video High Density system- a joint effort by Matsushita and JVC, ...
-2.20 I have a different-looking caddy labeled Thomson-CSF with a 12"disc inside. Is this a new version of the CED system?
This is a disc used in the Thomson transmissive optical disc system, ...
-3.1 How many different CED's were pressed?
I have personally seen a little over 1,700 NTSC CED titles, which ...
-3.2 Which CED titles are rare and/or collectible?
In general, CED titles released after RCA announced their abandonment ...
-3.3 Is there a listing of all CED titles with a rarity rating for eachtitle?
I have prepared a CED Title Database, that lists approximately 1,...
-3.4 Was the same movie ever released twice in the CED format?
I know of about sixty NTSC movie titles released twice in the CED format....
-3.5 What is the significance of the white, blue, and black colors ofthe caddies VideoDiscs come in?
The color of the caddy often indicates some information about the ...
-3.6 Is there a way to tell whether a caddy contains the right moviewithout actually loading the disc in a player?
All CED's have a number printed on the raised center section of the ...
-3.7 How do I remove a disc from the caddy to inspect the condition ofthe disc or to read the stock number stamped on the disc?
First hold the caddy upright on a table with the label edge resting ...
-3.8 How can I tell whether a CED was originally a rental disc or hasalways been privately owned?
Most collectors want their discs to be from original ...
-3.9 Why do some of my CED's skip, and what can I do to correct this?
Most of the skipping on CED's is caused by a condition RCA called
-3.10 Is there a way to safely clean the grooves on CED's?
The only recommended way to clean a CED is to play the disc, and let ...
-3.11 Some of my CED's play fine at the beginning and end of a side,
but poorly in between. What causes this?...
-3.12 How long can I expect my CED VideoDiscs to last?
This depends upon whether you're thinking of the number of times a ...
-3.13 Is it true that RCA VideoDiscs will be unplayable once thecoating on the disc surface evaporates?
The coating applied to CED's was intended to reduce stylus wear, but ...
-3.14 Why does the surface of a CED look like an eight spoked wheelwhen viewed under certain light conditions?
The eight spokes constitute the vertical blanking interval, where ...
-3.15 What is recorded on the unused sides of CED's?
With most program material less than one hour in length, and with ...
-3.16 Why do some CED caddies have two labels glued on?
Some CED's issued late in production have two caddy labels, one ...
-3.17 Were any CED's released with Dolby Surround Sound?
Some of the later CED's state on the caddy:
-3.18 Do any CED's have dual soundtracks?
A small number of CED's were issued with dual soundtracks, ...
-3.19 Are there any CED's with the image in letterbox format?
Several CED titles were issued in letterbox format (
-3.20 Will any new RCA VideoDisc titles ever be pressed?
Though the pressing of audio LP's has been revived on a small scale,...









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