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The RCA Videodisc system: a few short videos ahead of our April 30 talk

The RCA Videodisc system: a few short videos ahead of our April 30 talk

We are happy to bring you a few more Selectavision Videodisc CED (capacitance electronic disc) videos as we gear up for the 1pm Sunday April 30 “dissection and discussion” with Austin Nealon (we’ll be dissecting a player or two, not Austin).

The Selectavision system, introduced in 1981, had huge potential in the commercial marketplace but due to various factors never fulfilled that potential and remains the province of fans and enthusiasts.


Here is a case-off investigation of a late-in-the-series Selectavision player and accompanying chat about the many titles published during the system’s short run in the marketplace. YouTuber Databits talks quickly through the system’s technologies and shares a bit of his knowledge of the many titles produced before RCA pulled the plug.


While the sound of the warped disc is painful to the ear, it is worth taking a quick look at this examination of a revived player: even non-operating players can be brought back to life with patience, knowledge, ingenuity, and some spare parts.


Okay, wannabe influencers, THIS is an unboxing: 36 years; never been opened. These folks — including hard-core expert/superfan and YouTuber Josh Gibson — know this system backwards and forwards, and they try really hard to be all ironic and distant, but as they remove the deck from its packaging and gently prep it to run, the tension builds and the respect they have for the system (and for one another, especially mentor and former RCA manager John Stevens — who unfortunately died in 2021) becomes more and more evident.


Finally, an excerpt from a vintage RCA promotional/informational video — produced for retail dealers — detailing player manufacturing and testing. The content can seem a bit arcane but those paying close attention can gain some understanding of 1) how microprocessors began to infiltrate the market even before fully-digital technologies came to the fore, 2) the significance of production considerations in overall system design, and 3) what real people WORE in the early 1980s.


Thank you for keeping up with Sarnoff activities; “stay tuned” — a phrase the Selectavision system was designed to render out of date — for more.