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Posted: 28 Sep 2023, 08:40 


I have used the site on and off for many years but somehow missed that it has a forum section, too. So, after thousands of posts on Videokarma, AVS, Antique Radios, and others, now I am here.

My history with Laser Discs goes back almost to the beginning, and in some ways to earlier than that. I remember in Radio-Electronics magazine when David Lachenbruch would describe the upcoming "laser-optical video disc" system, and when he mentioned that the engineers had followed up the 30-minute-per-side disc with "one that can play up to 60 minutes per side, but with most of the special features not available".

I worked in a store that sold the original Magnavision player in 1980, and I got my first player in 1984, a Pioneer VP-1000 that skipped and froze about halfway into discs. I fixed that problem, and later I upgraded to nicer players into the late 1990s when I got a used CLD-D704.

Since then, I have kept upgrading my equipment and now I have a "4K" or UHD display and player, but I still have all of my Laser Discs and I never plan to get rid of them, the format is just too much fun.

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Posted: 01 Oct 2023, 04:14 

If something beside a complete disc-watching counts, my first was the MCA Discovision demo disc that includes Peter Falk in two languages (to demonstrate the use of separate sound tracks) along with Elton John performing (to demonstrate stereo sound; ironically the first Elton John concert disc was -not- in stereo). That, plus some of the beginning of "Jaws 2" (demonstrating slow motion, freeze-frame, step-by-step and similar functions) were both played at the "How to sell the Magnavision videodisc player and video discs" class I took shortly before the format was put on sale in the Chicago, Illinois area in October 1980. When we got our first player in the store, the Magnavox rep gave us a spare disc from a copy of "Jesus Christ Superstar" (sides 3 and 4, I am pretty sure) and we played that disc in the store window repeatedly every day for a good while.

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Posted: 01 Oct 2023, 04:36 

Both black and white!

I bought Invasion Of The Body Snatchers when it first came out in 1988, because I was so thrilled that someone was finally going to release a movie in non-chopped format. (I remember explicitly when "Home Box Office" was first announced in 1975, my first reaction was "they cannot put actual theater movies on TV screens-they are not the right shape!". It just did not occur to me that they would do the same thing as broadcast TV did.)

Some time later, I found out that Woody Allen had somehow got MGM to release his movie Manhattan in widescreen/letterbox format back in 1985. I recently (in September 2023) decided to find a copy of that disc on Ebay, and got one for maybe US$12 shipped. That also got me to start fixing my two known-bad Pioneer players, and I watched it tonight.

I have managed to never see one of Woody Allen's many movies until now despite his many awards or nominations and long reputation as a movie maker. Well, unfortunately this movie did not do much for me. None of the characters were really likeable or interesting at all, with Woody Allen's central character being truly dis-likeable: Self-centered, narcissistic and full of himself (but maybe those are three ways of saying the same thing?).

The Manhattan disc itself was good quality, and the transfer was decent other than having the reel-change dots on it at least three times. It was a good demo of standard-definition upscaling (including zooming to fill a 16:9 screen) on my Sony 77-inch OLED TV set. No stair-stepping at all on curved lines at any angle, and good sharpness and definition without edge enhancement.

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Posted: 03 Oct 2023, 07:33 

Unlikely. They cost more than $10 when they were mass produced by the thousands decades ago.
That is a good point. Yes, I did pay US$9.95 each for mine when I bought them, but I guess I am spoiled by $12 Blu-ray discs and similar bargains in recent years. The Laser Disc market was an entirely different thing; I remember being totally shocked when a store opened in a new, huge shopping mall near me in maybe 1990, it was called Media Play or something similar if I remember right. The big thing was, it was the --one and only-- store I ever saw that priced all of its laser discs below retail list price. (We did have Tower Video stores here, and I think Musicland or its video division, and both of those did often have specific discs on sale often.)

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Posted: 03 Oct 2023, 20:28 

Since no one ever answered this, I will give it a try. One reason to use an eight-inch disc is that it may/will allow access to test points or adjustments that are physically blocked by a twelve-inch disc. Another possibility, if karaoke discs are CAV, is that you could pick specific frames where the lyrics on screen are different on two adjacent frames. This would give you an alternative to the official signals on test discs to allow adjustment to eliminate crosstalk, as one example.

If I am wrong here, others may have better answers.

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Posted: 04 Oct 2023, 00:39 

My M holder is indeed broken. Zero-for-two on gear posts. This project is less urgent now because I fixed my CLD-D704 (thanks to the notes from krbahr) and I also tested my PR-8210 and it works fine too. But, it will be nice to get this machine working as my full-function backup.

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Posted: 04 Oct 2023, 01:58 

Hi all-

I just fixed my Pioneer CLD-D704 a couple of days ago, so I have watched a couple of discs on it now. I also pulled out and tested a Pioneer PR-8210 (top-opening tube player built in 1983) that I bought for maybe US$15 about ten years ago, more from curiosity (now) than anything. I had also bought a PR-8210 new in about 1986 for US$250 at a local electronics chain when that was half or less of the typical price for any laser disc player.

Regarding player quality comparisons: For years, probably going back to the late 1990s, I had always heard a similar set of comments regarding performance of players sold in the USA. Essentially, they -always- were something like this:

"You need a CLD-D703 or 704 for decent quality (or really, a CLD-79 or 99 in fact). But a 503/504 or 600-series is sort of OK, maybe 80% as good as a 704. You should not bother with a CLD-1010/3030/3080 or similar, those old models are maybe 50% as good as a 703/704. And, don't even think about an LD-700 or 838, much less the stone-age top-loading tube players. Good luck getting even 5-10% of the quality of a '704 out of those!"

The typical comments did not have actual percent numbers in them, I just added those to emphasize how the further details of what is/was lacking in non-703/704 players (all of the filters, noise reduction, and so on) made everything sound.

Last night, after watching a Japanese import concert disc Genesis Live: Live - The Mama Tour (1984) [TELP-45037] I decided to put the same disc into my PR-8210 and see how it looked and sounded. This disc, as with most rock concert discs, is full of scenes that may have only one color lighting up a musician with an otherwise black background, a good torture test for NTSC color-noise among other things (and a test that shows the limitations of NTSC, and especially encoding in home-video formats, perhaps more than any other). The first song on the disc, "Abacab", is one of my all-time favorites of any music type/artist, so I have watched this performance many times.

Here is the "heresy" part: After comparing these two players, yes indeed, there is a difference, and the CLD-D704 is better, but WOW, I kept looking for the supposed "giant differences in quality" or whatever, and I --just do not see them--. I looked at detail/resolution, edge enhancement/ringing/overshoot, color noise, black level consistency, background video noise, color consistency, the sound quality, anything I could think of (except video dropouts; apparently the disc I have is flawless, unless my TV set knows how to hide things). Specifically in video noise and color noise, the CLD-D704 is visibly better, but maybe ten percent if even that.

I have been picky with video since I was a teenager in the 1970s, when I bought a Sony 19-inch color TV set new, and it is also (of course) why I got into laser discs in 1984 when everyone else was renting tapes instead. So, with over 40 years of looking and learning and understanding what makes video good or bad, I think I reasonably know what I am seeing. Obviously, the '704 is a vastly better machine overall in usability, features, and more, but those are all not what the comparisons have discussed.

What do you all think?

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Posted: 06 Oct 2023, 23:32 

The XBR Pro definitely does have a comb filter, and the high resolution (for NTSC) that you get as a result. I used to install and maintain hundreds of that model in the 1980s and early 1990s; airports were full of them for the arrival/departure display systems. The one issue I know of with them is that their color temperature is very "cold" out of the box (9300 degrees K) and can only be adjusted with the internal setup controls. Thank you for the notes about the displays.

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Posted: 12 Oct 2023, 21:49 

I received my M holder from thelaserparts and it fits fine. I did some internal cleaning and lubrication, and I had to replace the belt as well. Now the player works fine except that I found one disc so far that gives me an F5 error (focus problem at startup) on side B, regardless of which side is "side B" (face up). I will work on that issue some time in the future, since this is a backup player and I have lots of other projects going on here as well.

There was some dirt on the gears and the paths of the pickup which I cleaned, but I found out why the dirt got inside. There is a plastic cover on the back over the side-change mechanism end, and that cover has a gap at its top edge between the cover and the main metal cover for the player. I decided to use some good-quality electrical tape (Scotch type 33) to cover that gap, as shown in the attached picture. CLD-D504 players and maybe others could have the same problem, but CLD-D704s have a metal extension of the main cover that avoids this issue.

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Posted: 13 Oct 2023, 18:56 

It is entirely possible that I had some type of bizarre dream after eating too much pizza too close to bed time one night; I will not deny that this could be the explanation for this memory. But if I am -not- remembering a dream, then:

This was definitely on a CLV/CAA laser disc. My comments about frame numbers (1-30 per second for NTSC video) is related to "time code" as used in professional video editing systems, where video is encoded that way (minutes, seconds, frame number within any given second).

In this discussion:

One person mentions seeing a CLV frame count display on a Panasonic LX-900 player, and LDDB member cplusplus mentions the ability of CLV discs to have frame numbers encoded. Also mentioned is the standard IEC 60857, but this seems to be an expensive document, nut something that can be downloaded and read free of charge.

So, it is all a mystery to me still.

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Posted: 14 Oct 2023, 06:38 


My main display is a Sony XR-77A80J OLED TV set. Laser discs look quite good on it, including if I zoom widescreen discs to full width on its screen.

My sound system is an Onkyo TX-SR876 receiver with five SVS Prime Satellite speakers and an SVS SB-2000 subwoofer in an approximately 144-square-foot room.

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Posted: 23 Oct 2023, 21:33 

Once I fix my CLD-D604, I will play a karaoke disc and connect a couple of microphones, and see what it does.
I did try this (but I did not find my small stack of other karaoke discs to look for a Standard Play one yet). Just by plugging in one or two microphones, the player goes into karaoke mode, with an indicator on the front panel display. The player can indeed change the pitch of the music on a karaoke disc with the "key" buttons, so those discs clearly do something other than to send standard audio tracks directly to the output jacks. The "echo" control can add a good amount of delay to the microphone audio as well, and you can use your microphone(s) without even playing a disc, so there is the potential here to have some audio fun other than karaoke singing if you have one of these players. (Halloween is coming soon!)

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Posted: 13 Nov 2023, 04:36 

Does the Colorized DVD look better than the Colorized LD?
The colorized DVD looks much better as a drink coaster; the laser disc will look silly covering most of the table. (You could use the colorized King Kong laser disc as a "trivet" under a hot pizza tray, though, and it will look fine that way on the same table.)

The colorized laser disc will look OK when used as a Frisbee, too; reflections from the sun could be quite nice outdoors. Using a colorized-movie DVD as a Frisbee is a waste of time, though.

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Posted: 11 Mar 2024, 23:51 

I agree with the others, the CLD-D704 is the best among your listed options. I am very happy with mine here in the USA.

Truly, though, no player is -bad- at all, especially regarding picture quality. The differences are far smaller than most people think (or claim), I have found.

I wish you success!

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Posted: 12 Mar 2024, 16:41 

Mike, I will be happy to scan and share my manuals, without charge. I agree that making them available here is good for the community. Ideally, I can get going on this within the next week.

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Posted: 14 Mar 2024, 02:11 

Hii guys! ^^ I'm looking for one that has a good quality (in laserdisc standards) - I'm not a very picky person
I did recommend the Pioneer CLD-D704 earlier, but the truth/fact is, -every- working laser disc player will have -excellent- picture quality, compared to regular TV of the 1980s or 1990s, let alone VCRs, haha. If you can buy two "average" players (locally) that you can confirm are working properly, for the price of one "fancy" player (such as the CLD-D704) especially if it is not "local", I would do that. Do not bother to chase after something distant but "better", imagining that the risk is worthwhile.

Many of the "experts" will disparage any other than the best players, but even the oldest, most basic players that are still working (or have been repaired) will look and sound very good.

Go get -any- player, enjoy it, and welcome (back?) to the laser disc community!

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Posted: 08 Apr 2024, 03:20 

Jesuslovesgood, you may have described exactly the difference between the CLD-D704 and CLD-99, but I think it is more than just a face plate. The entire cabinet (and wood side panels?) may be different. Specification charts may show one decibel or two higher performance in some aspects, too. But in the real world, I think very few if any disc watchers will be able to see or hear anything "better".

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Posted: 11 Apr 2024, 16:37 

The door/drawer components should be fine. The differences in weight distribution relative to the strength of the plastic or metal parts should not matter. (Maybe three to six weeks in open sunlight would be different. :) )

I noticed light rot on Legend... or maybe this film print is just dirty at certain areas.
Laser rot versus a dirty/grainy film transfer should be very obviously different. Rot, for one thing, usually flickers/flashes or rolls vertically on the screen and affects a major part or entire side of a disc typically. Grain will look different in each scene change, and a dirty film print is not likely at all to look like "rolling snow". You could always try to take a good picture or two of the scene(s) that appear to have rot and post them here.

I have not played a rotted disc in my CLD-D704 in a long time, so I forgot what it looks like when I use the digital freeze function on an Extended Play disc.

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Posted: 13 Apr 2024, 17:11 

As ldfan mentioned, the belt is not affected by the position of the tray. Truly, just plain not using the player for months or years at a time is the worst thing for the belt because it will sit in one position on the two idlers/pulleys. That would be true with the tray open or closed. Closed is better for keeping dust out.

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Posted: 29 Apr 2024, 06:29 

The LD-W1 was the first auto-flip player in the USA, as ldfan mentioned. The CLD-3030 was the first single-disc auto-flip player in the USA, I am pretty sure. I bought mine in 1988 or 1989 when it first came out.

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Posted: 29 Apr 2024, 22:19 

The Pioneer, CLD-3030... is not an auto reverse player
OK, my mistake then. I sure thought I owned a dual-side player before my CLD-D704 in the late 1990s, and I do remember selling my 3030 at a flea market around that time also (for a now-criminal price of about US$40, including remote control, in flawless condition, probably with its box and manual). Maybe I never did.

I do know that my first dual-side player would "go back a bit and pick a random freeze frame to put on the screen while it does the auto-flip". If the 704 does that, then it was/is my first one. I should check if that is how it behaves.

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 Post subject: Re: VHS Users
Posted: 13 May 2024, 05:30 

What do you like to watch?
I have only ever owned maybe three or so pre-recorded VHS tapes, and I have actually watched only one all the way through since the early 1990s. Non-Super VHS is and always was a pretty pathetic way to watch video, especially once you saw a laser disc played.

For home recording, I went from Beta to SuperBeta as soon as it came out (in 1985 if I remember right), then to ED Beta (in 1990?), then I did get a Super VHS VCR for recording (on lower-cost tapes) and it also improved standard VHS by having the s-video output for when friends insisted on renting tapes.

That one tape that I bought and watched is the pilot episode of "The Duke", a late-1970s or maybe 1980 TV show with Robert Conrad that lasted only a few episodes. That double episode was apparently released as a theatrical movie in Canada or elsewhere with a different title, and got onto a commercial VHS release as well. I found it on Ebay a few years ago, amazing.

Oh, I also bought and watched E.T. on VHS at midnight on its first home-video release day in 1988, even knowing it would be available soon on Laser Disc. I was -that- anxious to see it for the first time since its release six years earlier.

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Posted: 13 May 2024, 05:37 

Earlier today I bought Towering Inferno (THX) and Topkapi (Letterbox) for my collection.
Very cool! I bought a Japanese import of "The Towering Inferno" in the late 1980s, since it was (and is) one of my all-time favorite movies. Then the USA wide screen release came out from Fox Video, and I bought that one new also (for US$70 at the time, but worth every penny to me!).

Enjoy your discs.

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Posted: 13 May 2024, 05:40 

I just bought the Art Awareness Collection (Discovision), it should arrive soon. ... ery-of-Art

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Posted: 27 May 2024, 19:57 

A few notes about my move into DVDs, in 1997-98:

-I was in no hurry to buy a DVD player even though many DVDs were about US$20 in the early days versus $30-35 for Laser Discs often. Some DVDs were also around $30, I think the Universal Studios ones.

-Knowing the history of the Laser Disc format, and learning that some DVDs would be two-sided, I thought immediately "Well, they will take the lesson from the Laser Disc format, and make -every- player (almost all $500 and up in the beginning) dual-sided from the start, right? Right???" And I was disappointed that they did not, none in fact.

-I was also disappointed to see many movies in pan-and-scan only in the early days. This is another thing I thought they would "do correctly, right from the start".

-A few movies (Jingle All The Way I am pretty sure, and maybe George Of The Jungle and probably others?) were in widescreen on Laser Disc but -not- on their DVD versions at first. That sure did not do much to sell the new format to me.

-I did not understand at all what "enhanced for widescreen" meant at first. I only learned later about "in-player letterboxing" for the still-univeral-in-the-USA 4:3 displays used at that time.

-What moved me toward getting into DVDs sooner was the announcement of that horrible "DIVX" concept (essentially DVDs that you have to "pay rent to watch" rather than just buy and own, if you do not already know), and its potential threat to the already-started normal DVD format.

-What made me decide "OK, I am going to start buying DVDs today" was the news that seven existing DVD titles directed or produced by Steven Spielberg were going to be pulled off the market because he wanted to support -only- the DIVX format. Gremlins was the one I knew I wanted; The Color Purple was another but I do not remember the others. I was on vacation in the Chicago, Illinois area, which at that time was still an excellent place for shopping. I probably went to five DVD/video stores, and I did find Gremlins, and I bought Capricorn One (widescreen) and maybe a couple of others too. At one point after that, I remember that Gremlins was pretty expensive on Ebay (another "new thing" in 1997-98).

-Soon, when the Laser Disc format started its decline, I started chasing down and buying a bunch of titles I did not expect to see on DVD for a long time if ever, such as Big Jake and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. There was a Web site where you could search for Laser Discs by title and it would find online sellers, maybe run by a man named Steve Martin (not the actor). I probably still have my ~1999 bookmark for it on my desktop computer.

-I also saw my first High-definition TV broadcast and TV sets in 1998, and by the end of 2000 I was one of the first fifty customers for a computer-based HDTV recording system. The coming of HDTV, and of course HD video discs, meant that any "thrill" I got from the DVD format did not last long.
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