DINODISC LASERDISC & RETRO GAMES

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 Laserdisc History

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laserkb

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Posts : 165
Join date : 2011-03-29
Age : 67
Location : Derbyshire

PostSubject: Laserdisc History   Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:37 am

It's gratifying to see users here who have only recently got into laserdiscs. Some of you might be interested in the background to the format, how it began and why it ended as it did. If so, check out:

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The Wikipedia entry on laserdiscs is also very interesting and comprehensive, if a bit technical.

What none of these sources mention is just how difficult it was to be a laserdisc collector back in the 1980s and 90s. For a start, discs were prohibitively expensive - £25 just for a single basic 1-disc release. Doubles and boxed sets were sometimes outrageously priced. As for importing NTSC titles, prices obviously increased with import charges, international shipping and so on. How lucky you are today that there are dealers such as Dinodisc where great discs of all kinds can be found for less than a fiver. Most of the pricier items are still cheaper than when they were first released.

There were a few High Street retailers - HMV and Virgin both sold LDs over the counter (PAL only, of course) - but most collectors used mail order. There were quite a few dealers about. Older collectors may remember Laser Enterprises in Wickford and Thames Valley Laser in Bicester, and of course in the US there was always Ken Crane's Laser and my beloved "Big Emma's". (My neighbour used to take in parcel deliveries for me and he could never quite understand what it was I was receiving from Big Emma!) What some of you may not realise is that the law stepped in to make our hobby even more difficult, and this, I believe, is what led to the current system of region coding for DVDs.

What happened is that the release schedule for PAL laserdiscs was always limited and about 6 months behind that for NTSC titles in N. America, so most enthusiastic collectors were importing editions (often with more features and extras) rather than wait for the PAL versions to come out. So the UK companies - Pioneer LDCE, Encore Entertainment and so on - found that their already slender sales base was being eaten into by this anomaly. Their solution? To appeal to HM Customs and the other powers-that-be to restrict the import of NTSC titles. Their excuse was that these American releases were not certificated by the BBFC and therefore could not legally be sold and exhibited in Britain. All video products had to bear a BBFC classification logo. At a stroke, dealers found themselves in possession of 'illegal' inventory. Many of them, such as Laser Enterprises, had all their import stock seized without compensation and accordingly went out of business. Some tried a loophole whereby they could import to, say, France and then ship to Britain using EEC trade regulations to get round the ban, but it didn't work, and effectively from that date you could no longer buy an NTSC laserdisc in Britain unless you ordered it yourself directly from an American dealer (one copy only, mind you, for personal use).

This was just before the launch of DVD and the companies decided to incorporate region coding to the 'new kid on the video block' in order to establish different markets geographically. Of course, it was all nonsense - and buyers are now generally free to purchase what they want from wherever they like. R1 DVDs are quite legally available through Amazon, and so on. With laserdiscs, it was never that easy.
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laserkb

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Location : Derbyshire

PostSubject: Re: Laserdisc History   Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:57 am

Found this guy on You Tube - he goes on a bit, and you might find him irritating, but he has a lot of interesting things to say about laserdisc.

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The bit about AC-3 and TRUE LIES is all correct, and here are a couple of pics to prove it.

[url=http:[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]//www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=14&u=16363876][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][/url]


Last edited by laserkb on Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AvanteProject



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Join date : 2011-03-29
Age : 29
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: Laserdisc History   Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:00 pm

Yeah, that guy seems to know a lot about LaserDiscs. His 'HD rants' are great, though they're pretty dated now.
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