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CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 21  •  5/24/1997


Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 06:38:22 -0500 (CDT)
From: bnelson
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 20
To: Tom Howe <>

I am going to have to sell my ced collection. have about l00  discs. and about
players . We are moving. We are in Houston TX. I am not anxious to pack and
so I need a Houston buyer. you can reach me at 713-467-3191 or email me  at

brian nelson

From: DWest14582
Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 09:04:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: SGT Player and Discs 4 Sale

I posted an ad in the CED web site and just wanted to follow that up with
this notice. The player I have is an RCA SGT100 that is still functioning and
I have 66 discs for sale. I can either sell the player seperate from the
discs or sell everything as a unit. I'm looking at $20 for the player and
$330 for all the discs ($5 a disc) plus any shipping charges I would incur.
Here's a list of of the discs that I have "2 besides the title means I have
All discs have been well taken care of and are in great condition. If
interested e-mail me at

Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 06:52:22 -0700
From: Ted Dudziak 
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 20

This issue has a couple of topics that bring back some memories.  

Regarding the breaks. My recollection is that there was great emphasis
on getting as much programming on one side as possible, regardless of
the "wierdness" of the break.  We all had players and as you might
imagine we had a plethora of titles.  As a matter of fact, we usually
got a stack of discs a day from DISC Manufacturing.  Anyway, we always
complained about the breaks to no avail as the Mastering Process was
very time consuming and expensive.  To redo the master was not possible
as the emphasis was on getting titles available and not necessarily
making the breaks look good.  Also as I recall the Mastering was done
essentially by engineering and not by a more esthethiclly aware group. 
Again the emphasis was on getting as much on the disc as possible.  

It was a perception at RCA that one of the disadvantages with VideoDisc,
CED and LD, was that the programming on a side was a disadvantage. Also,
it was thought that to put as much material on one side, regardless of
the total time of the programming, was important to maximize the "time
to flip" for the customer.  In my opinion, esthetics should have been
used first.

Also, the limited playback time per side was an issue for RCA.  The Star
Wars CED pushed the limit for programming by having more than one hour
on a side.  By the way I recall finding the hanging dice  in the
Millenium Falcon during one of my system evaluations.  Everyone thought
it was pretty cool.  Video players did not do freeze frame very well
back then.  The parody "Hardware Wars" showed the dice, highly magnified
of course, and low and behold there they were in the real movie only for
one scene. 

It was also interesting about the many comparisons that were made
between CED and LD especially the technical ones.  It was surprising to
us that LD had "skips" just like CED.  It was a preception then that the
LD should not have had the problem since it was not a mechnaical pickup
like CED.  We also thought that there was more robust signal processing
on the front end than we had.  Not the case.  Their skip problems were,
in our opinion greater than ours. Also their recovery mechanism was very
poor.  Many times the LD would not recover.  The CED players have a
"kicker" circuit so that if there is a skip or a locked groove the
uProcessor would kick the stylus to a groove that was clear. The DAXI
code was used to determine the location of the stylus.  Recall that
there are (I hope I get this right) four frames or eight fields per
groove.  Each field has a unique DAXI code that is sequential to the
previous one. If you take a disc out of a jacket and look at the pattern
, you will see areas that are identical.  This is the NTSC vertical
interval. If you have a very bad disc, try making a clock out of it. 
very cool looking. Rather large though. 

Next was the delamination of the LD's.  This was a major problem for
LD's and there were many recalls of titles.  LD's were produces as two
separate discs and then laminated together.  A process that was never
fully perfected until later.  As you might recall the number of LD's was
greatly reduced after the demise of CED.  

Well sorry for all the ramblings, but you seem like a group that might
appreciate the info and it is fun recalling a really exciting,
stimulating and rewarding time in my engineering career. 

Regards to all,

From: (Bill Vermillion)
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 20
To: (Tom Howe)
Date: Sun, 18 May 97 10:08:43 EDT

>CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 20 5/17/1997

>From: Geoff Oltmans 
(re: DVD)

>This is something that really scared me about DVD...I heard that they were
>using MPEG for compressing the video early on. After working in AV&C
>(a Tandy Brand store), the artifacting really got to me. Seems my fears
>are confirmed. :)

There is nothing wrong with MPEG per se.   It can meet
broadcast specifications IF you want it too.

MPEG-I is pretty attrocious at it's best. 

MPEG-2 can be good if you let it.   It's the problem of varying
levels of compression that are chosen that can make it pretty

However since the DVD is being pushed to the consumer market -
and the LD is held as an 'elitist' format - I wouldn't be
surprised if the 'bean counter' mentality holds and higher
compression is used to get more time per disk.

There have been 6 video disk formats so far in this century.
None has made an impact as much as the current laser disk.  We
will just have to wait and see if it will stick around.

There are far more technologies looking for a market, than
markets looking for a technology.   That is shown by the raging
success of DCC and MD :-) :-) ;-)

I bought a CED player the first week they were out.   I had
waited a year for an LD previously and finally cancelled that.
When the RCA was released it had more titles in the catalog
than the LDs did. 

After two weeks it went back.    Four out of the first six
disks had to be returned because of skipping.   Exchange after
exchange - until the dealer and I decided it was time to forget
all this foolishness.

The 100 probably never should have left the labs.    

The 400 series was a quite a different animal.  IF that had
been the first machine RCA had released the format may have had
a chance.   Gone was the weave and faint diagonals lines (if
you knew what to look for) that identified the picture as CED.
The direct drive instead of belts helped that.

Until I see something better I'll stick with my LDs (and my
CED's for nostalgia purposed) and my ED-Beta.   Too bad the
LD's can't match the EDs performance.   I think we'll have to
wait for HDTV for that.

Bill Vermillion - |

Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 02:38:01 -0400
From: Ed Ellers 
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Side breaks

Jesse Skeen wrote:

"Regarding the comment about side breaks, I've noticed on a lot of the
older movies, both CED and laserdisc, that they ended sides at the end
of reels in the theatrical prints. Old transfers show the changeover
marks; most new ones don't anymore."

That's because the older transfers were often made from prints, usually
made on low-contrast film, that in those days were handled by the lab in
the same way as theatrical prints.  This included adding change marks,
unless the studio advised otherwise, because the networks and local
stations often used the change marks in the same way that a theater
projectionist would.  It also meant that the print was a third- or
fourth-generation element, just as a theatrical print.

Nowadays most theatrical films are transferred from a second-generation
element, meaning an interpositive, a "lo-con" print or a reversal
internegative, that was made directly from "The Negative" specifically
for video transfer use.  (I call it "The Negative" because the best
existing film is referred to that way, even though it may not
necessarily be the same piece of film that went through the camera.  For
"Snow White," for example, this term refers to the color negative that
was generated on the Cineon system a few years ago, not the RGB negative
that was originally shot.)  Not only does this greatly reduce generation
losses, but there is no need for change marks.  (Programs and
commercials shot on film for TV are normally transferred directly from
the camera negative and then edited on tape.  Feature films can
transferred directly as well, but they usually aren't due to the risks
involved in taking "The Negative" out of the storage facility for a few
days for the transfer.)

Getting back to CED, a guy I know in Hollywood transferred the "rings"
animation (for RCA's stereo discs) and some other stuff for RCA
SelectaVision back then, and he told me that they were *very* fussy
about picture and sound quality.  RCA was having its transfers done on
the Rank Cintel Mark III flying-spot scanner at a time (only a few years
after the Mark III was first adapted for NTSC) when some studios were
still doing transfers for home video on older Plumbicon-based film
camera chain systems.

Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 17:08:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jesse Skeen 
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 20

(I know this is starting to get off topic again, but...)
I participated in Video Magazine's last "Mad as Hell" survey and had a 
few of my answers printed eventually. They quoted me saying "People who 
make fun of my CED videodisc player", my actual comment had to do with 
friends I had saying I was nuts for having one, which is true, but all 
THEY had were MONO VHS machines for watching movies! I'd rather watch my 
stereo CED player than any mono piece of junk; even some movie theaters 
still only have mono sound which is inexcusable!
They also quoted me, with my name, saying that everyone should "Just say 
'no' to cable", which I thought was pretty cool.
I will try to flood them with a 'complaint' about "lack of new releases 
on CED", just to see if they mention it if they get enough!

Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 09:43:22 -0400
From: Michael McGann 
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 20


I have to vent a little about this DVD bashing here. Suffice it to say,
I'm one of the few people in the world with a CED, Laserdisc and DVD
players in my home theater setup.

Let's address the major factual errors: 

A. Pixellation. Yes, some of the demo discs suffered from a touch of it
because they hadn't figured how to encode the discs properly. And yes,
some of the titles in current release, particularly the Warner Home
Video titles, have it in spots because of compression needs. WHV still
isn't making dual-layer discs, which gets them in trouble if they need
to go over 133 minutes. Check out any of the dual-layer MGM or New Line
releases and I doubt you'll see much pixellation if any. Just like
laserdisc, and CED for that matter, it depends on who makes the disc.

B: Lines of resolution. Peak 500, real world about 425. Twice that of
VHS, and more than CED or laserdisc. You can tell the difference on a
700-line TV.

C: Companies paying off the press: Yeah, right. We as a group have been
trashing DVD for 18 months, and generally are as surprised as anyone
that it actually works, and that people are buying it in surprising
numbers. If a format sucks, we say it does. That's why MD and DCC
haven't ever sold.

Sorry if this seems a little grouchy. I'm fond of my CED, wrote a cute
story comparing it and DVD last year, and I've begun collecting titles.
But I'm also not anchored in the past and I can embrace new technology.

Mike McGann
Managing Editor
Dealerscope Consumer Electronics Marketplace  (A monthly trade magazine
for the consumer electronics industry)

Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 14:15:25 -0600
From: David Potochick 
Subject:  Gobbledegook, DVD, etc........

So, why doesn't RCA just come out with the Digital CED in competition
with the DVD???? They could even bring back the idea for the unhoused
disk like the early players.... Discs could play at 33 1/3 rpm and contain
MPEG2 digital information..... Hey, why not digital vinyl records for that
matter??? The digital information could be recorded on the vinyl record
and then played back through a decoder of some sort..... 

Someone could even create the digital 8 track tape.... DAT and DCC
formats never sold... Why not try the Digital 8 track tape??? You could
market it in competition with the Minidisk.....

Just some corny digital ideas.....  Isn't digital technology wonderful???? 


Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 17:05:23 -0600
From: David Potochick 
Subject:  A sad story......

I used to visit an electronic repair store in Crown Point Indiana known as
Quickle Electronics... Mr. Quickle was a nice old man that ran the store
and would repair VCR's, TV's, Stereos and whatever else you brought
him... He had 8 track stereo systems still in the boxes in mint condition.
Nobody ever bought them and he just kept them after so many years.....
He had everything in that store.... Well, anyway, one day I remember that
he showed me a CED price catalog.... The prices for the movies ranged
around being $39.95 as compared with VHS movies at the time which
were $150.00... The CED catalog had the titles of all the movies and the
ordering price for the movies..... He might have had a couple of players in
his piles of stuff around the store...... 

Well, I had to go off to college in September of 1992 and ,while I was
away at college, Mr. Quickle's family decided that Mr. Quickle was to old
to run his store. His family found it best to put him in a nursing home....
They closed his store, put him in a nursing home and Had a big Garbage
truck come and haul everything in his store away.... (At least that's what
I was told.....)  I haven't seen Mr. Quickle since.... Now, I wish I would
have invested in some of his mint condition 1970's electronics..... 



Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 05:24:18 -0700
From: Tom Howe 
Subject: Stereo Players Introduced 15 Years Ago

May marks the 15th anniversary of RCA's stereo VideoDisc players. Here is an
excerpt from the G&M DiscNews Newsletter making the announcement:

"The big news this month are RCA's two new stereo disc players. Along with the
new stereo videodiscs, and hooked up to both your TV and a stereo system, the
experience is almost beyond description. RCA's stereo system also incorporates
the CBS CX noise reduction system, which increases dynamic range while
decreasing noise levels. There are 8 stereo discs available now, with perhaps
20-30 available by year's end. Both of the new players feature video and stereo
audio output jacks, so connection direct to a video monitor is possible. Also,
all the function control buttons are now solenoid operated. And a special
switch lets one play binaural discs, switching between L and R side
information. The SGT200 is almost identical to the current SFT100, at $349. The
new SGT250, however, is the pride and joy of the line. It has automatic
loading, and wireless remote control. It costs just $399."

G&M was a family-run mail order supplier of CED's for the entire CED production
era. This is the earliest DiscNews newsletter I've been able to obtain, so if
anybody else has these, I need all the 1981 and early 1982 editions, as well as
the March/April 1986 edition. G&M closed a few years after the last CED's were
released when the founder went into retirement. His son, who was editor of
DiscNews, is now a well-known author of computer "how to" books. I tried to get
DiscNews copies from them, but everything was disposed of when the business

--Tom Howe


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