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1.1 Why Collect RCA VideoDiscs?


This article is from the RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc FAQ, by tom@cedmagic.com (Tom Howe) with numerous contributions by others.

1.1 Why Collect RCA VideoDiscs?

I'm tackling this question first, since there have been several Usenet
postings from people incredulous that anyone is interested in an
obsolete video format that hasn't been supported in years. Well, my
interest started in 1987 when I found a CED player (complete with Jane
Fonda's Workout Challenge inside) for $10 at a thrift store. Being in an
electronic engineering curriculum at the time, I got this to take apart
and analyze how it worked. A while later I found a bunch of discs for 50
cents each, and became interested in getting as many different titles as
possible. So my motivations have been an interest in the technology and
the inexpensive nature of collecting it. Here are some reasons I've
heard from other collectors:

--American Technology- The CED system was envisioned and manufactured
(all discs and the RCA players) entirely in the U.S.A., and it was the
last major electronic entertainment format to have this distinction. It
was also RCA's splashiest product introduction, and the last major thing
the company did before its disposition by GE in 1986.

--Nostalgia- Some collectors feel nostalgia for this system, since it
was the first home video system that they owned movies for. This seems
particularly true for young adults, who back in the early 80's had their
very own stack of children's VideoDisc titles. (HINT: If you find
children's titles in private collections, inspect them carefully- they
may have been played to death).

--Cool Design- Some collectors are captivated by the caddy design with
automatic extraction of the disc (on the RCA J and K series, the caddy
is slid 3/4 of the way into the entry door, whereupon a motorized
mechanism takes in the caddy, unloads the disc, and ejects the empty
caddy). I have CED and LaserDisc players adjacent to each other in my
entertainment console, and am sometimes surprised that people unfamiliar
with the CED format assume the CED player is newer than the LD player,
even though it is 10 years older. They make this assumption purely on the
basis of the "sophisticated" motorized disc extraction mechanism.

--Needle Vision- Some people embrace the CED format for the very reason
others have deplored it- the grooved, stylus-read media. CED represents
the final chapter in grooved media that began with the Edison wax
cylinder in the 19th century. In an odd twist of history, LaserDisc and
Audio CD were cool back in the early 1980's due to the newness of lasers
in consumer products. But with the passage of time, the unusual
capacitance pickup in the CED system has a retro appeal lacking in
the commonplace laser pickups of today.

--Unique program material- Although not as much a reason as a few years
ago, there is still some CED material unavailable on VHS, LaserDisc, or


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