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CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 42  •  10/18/1997


Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 09:11:49 -0500
From: Geoff Oltmans
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 41

Daniel Cayea wrote:

I felt your letter required a reality check...especially for those who
think this idea a valid one.

> The CED Future
>         The capacitance electronic disc or ced as it is known has been a long
> forgotten technology to many who were once aware of it.  It has long been
> obsolete since it was stopped being manufactured in 1984 by RCA Corporation.
> Although RCA Corporation is long gone, as well with the CED dream that the
> company carried, there are however many persons who still have CED machines
> and the discs that go with them.  They are abandoned, with no one to turn to
> ever.
> Since RCA stopped manufacture and they were bought out by General Electric,
> users of CED discs and machines had no place to turn since GE or Thompson
> Consumer Electronics (The GE subsiduary that controls RCA today.)  do not
> support CED.  However this can change and will change if CED users join
> together.

How? I have read in the FAQ that RCA expected to sell 500,000 units in
their first year, and sold that many by the time they cancelled the
format. The problems you have to contend with, namely, are the multiple
style styluses used in the various manufacturer's players (I own both a
Toshiba VP100, and a Hitachi player, both use different style
cartridges). Why would RCA want to even consider resupporting a format
that is over 15 years old, and hasn't been sold for more than 10? What's
the point? How many people have junked their players since then? How
many people that respond to the petition will actually buy supplies? The
sole purpose of a company is NOT to supply parts for a hobbiest. Read
that last sentence again. The sole purpose of a company *IS* to make
money. There is little possibility for RCA to make money on the CED, in
fact, they never did. Why should they extend their disaster?

>         VHS, Laserdisc, and Satellite Television have taken today's market by
> storm leaving little or no room for obsolete medias such as Beta, CED, and
> even
> reel-to-reel players an recorders.  With these new thecnologies out there
> today
> who wants and old and potentially outdated system like CED.  Even with this

I think you just answered your question about whether RCA will decide to
support CED again. It's about as futile as an owner of a TI99/4A
expecting Texas Instruments to manufacture software for their computer

>         The only way that this diminishing supply of CED parts and supplies
> be restocked is to find someone to manufacture the parts and supplies.  No
> one
> carries or supplies them anymore.  This maybe a truth for now but can soon
> change.  The estimated 200,000 CED users left could join together to create a
> financial fund a purchase  the rights to the capacitance electronic disc
> system,
> including disc manufacturing stampers.  Most people would think that this is
> an
> insane act, if one person would attempt to purchase the rights, they would be
> correct  However 200,000 people could accomplish such a feat with no trouble
> whatsoever.  So it is only a matter of time when CED user's join together to
> re-establish the use of CED into the entertainment world.

Two problems I see are immediately evident with acquiring the disc
stamping machine...and this will become evident to you as well if you
read the information on the CED magic page regarding the manufacturing
of CEDs.

First, there's a LOT more that goes into "stamping" a CED. First, you
must have a metal master, this master is plated with another metal
(zinc, I believe?). Where do I buy these? The first step in the
production of a CED is to have a master cut on an enormous cutting
recorder, using a one-inch master videotape (or some other high quality
format). The master is tested, then a mold is made from the master. THEN
the actual pressing takes place. After the pressing is done, the discs,
which ARE STILL NOT PLAYABLE, must be doped with carbon (this is where
the capacitance, in capacitance electronic disc comes from) in a special
type of tank. Now, the final steps theoretically could be dropped (i.e.
applying silicone lube and putting them in a protective caddy).

The second problem with your argument is that all of the above I have
mentioned is beyond the scope of any CED enthusiast. The process
requires a clean room. Metal discs used to form the master can't be
purchased (at least not feasably), and on top of that, if ANY copies of
say, Mars Attacks, have to be approved by the intellectual owners of
that property.

While I agree that your idea sounds fantastic, and I would love to see
something like this happen...there's just no way that something like
this could be feasable to a group of hobbyists. It would be a nice piece
to a museum collection, but beyond that it's not very practical. Think
about it: there were only two companies producing CEDs when they were
available, RCA and CBS, obviously other companies considered it a flop.


From: DPC16
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 12:28:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The CED Future, Part IV

The CED Future
Part IV, Finance, Prospective, & Use

	One could wonder why exactly spend money on an obsolete system when
there are other better systems out there.  It is not a matter of better, it
is a matter
of nostalgia and want.  Of course in no comparison is CED greater than
or the newly developed (D)digital (V)idea (D)isc.  However it has to be asked
what would the CED system be like today.  For example, since IBM made their
first personal computer in 1981 the capacity and reliability of diskettes has
increased.  This of course has to be taken into effect with any disc, pretty
including the CED.  Since the development of the disk by IBM in 1981, the
capacity and reliability has more than tripled and is continuously
How exactly does this apply to CED?  Even in the slightest you might ask.
	When RCA finally released the system in 1981 for public use, the capacity
of the disc was 60 minutes (30 minutes per side).  I have postulated a system
called E-CED (Enhanced Capacitance Electronic Disc), that coheres to the same
theories and works just as the floppy disk does.  In realistic comparison if
Corporation would not have been bought out by General Electric, that the
capacity of the CED would be 6 hours per disc (3 hours per side).  This due
to the
inevitable increase of the density of grooves on the disc.  As well as with
enhancement of the stylus that would of eventually taken place.  Since RCA
bought out and no future development occurred while other development in
almost in the same field did, it would be easy to enhance the CED now.  This
strikes another question.  How could we enhance and how could it be paid?
	Compared to other systems in 1984, CED was ahead of VHS and just
behind Laserdisc.  Now in 1997 it is slightly behind VHS, way behind
and astronomically behind, DVD.  Of course think of this, the CED Player in
comparison with a Laserdisc player has fewer complex components.  Replace
each simple component with a more complex component and a better system
made.  Anyone with the proper technological and electronics skill and
could improve this system to a point in which it is better than VHS and
Laserdisc again.  In all admission it would be difficult perhaps even
to enhance the CED system to a point in which it would be better than DVD. 
Even with this there are still some of you who are still skeptical about this
have certain beliefs.
	There are indeed some  who state that the reason why the CED failed was
that there was no practical use.  True?  No.  This is false.  The CED failed,
physically, but economically because of weak marketing strategies.  One could
sell small white plastic blocks that have no apparent use if they are
marketed.  It is a known fact that RCA Corporation spent more time working on
quality equipment than marketing it.  (If only all companies were like this.)
 It is
a personal opinion that RCA did a great job on the development of the system,
yet they didn't have the best resources for marketing in which that is why
failed.  Getting back to the original notion of practicality, the CED was
practical and it did have a use, it was just not the most properly marketed
system at the time.  RCA Corporation spent most of their time developing
than making the system look good for purchase.
	Those who have technological and electronics training, I ask you to
contact me with your thoughts and suggestions on how to further develop the
CED system or enhance the performance of the current systems by emailing me
at: or writing me at:
	Telecom Technologies Incorporated
	P & O Systems
	2841 First Street
	Lyon Mountain, New York USA 12952-0090

During the next of issue of CED Digest, I will discuss the suggestions that
been sent to me by those of you, as well as some information on the purchase
the Disc Stamping Press by Thomson Consumer Electronics.

Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 15:43:29 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Jason P. Ramsey"
Subject: News Letter Ad

I am looking to buy a good (working) player.  One with remote, one of the
later models.  Also looking for Return of the Jedi, Disney titles, James
Bond movies, and any other good movie.


From: TerryTC1
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 00:30:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CED Revival

I read with some interest the effort of some to revive or procure CED
technology for those who currently own the machines.  The same problem faced
LaserDisc owners in 1981 when DiscoVision Associates withdrew from active
participation in production and distribution of LaserDiscs.  (Actually
DiscoVision Associates still exist and they even have a web pages!  Their
only business is the collection of royalties due.)  It was Pioneer who jumped
into the scene and kept LaserDisc going for the last 16 years although that
now appears to be coming to an end.  I was thus surprised when in 1984 RCA
following traditional American business practice opted out of CED, not
because they were losing money but because they were not earning money fast
enough.  They sold 100,000 players in the first year instead of the 200,000
planned and had sold 500,000 by April of 1984 when they pulled the plug.  At
that time there were only 100,000 LaserDisc players.  I expected a Japanese
company to step in since CED disc manufacturing was extremely profitable for
RCA, which is why they promised to continue production into 1987, though they
stopped in 1986.  But no Japanese company did step in and had a group of
interested American investor wanted to they could have stepped in and
purchased RCA's player and disc manufacturing facilities for a great price.
 It was not to be.  I am sure if they had  CED would have continued to
increase in market penetration.  But the time to do that was in the late
1980's not now.  I am sure with storage space at a premium the CED pressing
and mastering equipment has been destroyed.  Also since CED used technology
very similar to LP technology that was very prevalent in the past but not
now, getting simple raw materials would be difficult.
I have recently finished reading "RCA and the VideoDisc" by Margaret Graham.
 It is a fascinating view of the release and demise of CED from the corporate
view.  Suffice to say RCA was counting on CED starting off very big and
continuing to build,  when it didn't the naysayers were in charge from as
early as 1982 and pressed for its withdrawal and finally won.  They wanted
and got the tax write offs that were so big at the time. Remember that when
RCA was bought out by GE there was not a consolidation of two giants but a
dismemberment and sell off of RCA parts to gain corporate profits for GE.
 Such were the 80's . Don't make money by making and selling things, but by
buying and selling companies.  I will follow with interest the CED musings in
this publication.

Terry Collins  

Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 04:02:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jesse Skeen
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 41

Re: Pioneer Laseractive:

I never compared this to CED, but I have 2 of Pioneer's "Zoom" 
laserdiscs, which are sent out periodically to retailers (got them from a 
VideoConcepts store when they were closing them all) One is almost 
entirely a demonstration of Laseractive and one can't help feeling sorry 
for the guy talking about all the research and commitment Pioneer was 
putting into it. I never saw it promoted to the public very well, but 
they talk about it here like it might be "the next big thing." The only 
Laseractive disc I have is "3-D Museum" which I also have LCD shutter 
glasses that work with it. I'd like to get some game discs if they ever 
show up cheap enough; that's what I think doomed this system as well as 
the laserdisc-based arcade video games in 1983-84- since the main parts 
are prerecorded, there's really only one way a game can go since you're 
playing with the same footage every time, and that gets old really fast. 
The system was a rip-off too, the player itself cost about as much as a 
really good LD player only it didn't have auto-reverse, and you couldn't 
play any games with it unless you paid another few hundred bucks for the 
"packs" (which both could've been built into the machine making for a 
really good unit- Turbographix and Genesis games!) To top it all off, the 
game discs were around $200 each when they first came out!!
Where in history is CD-I (Interactive) going to fall? I recently got a 
player at Fry's (formerly Incredible Universe) for $15 (no that's not a 
typo!) I'd never expect to find one that cheap even at a thrift store! 
The manual it comes with starts out with "You've just purchased one of 
the best-supported, best-backed products available today, which will 
provide you with many years of enjoyment." This was a great example of a 
product in search of an identity- was it a game system, cheap home 
computer, educational device, or what??? Looking forward to finding some 
bootleg MPEG movie CD's though, I've heard they have some movies that are 
still in theaters available on these things. The only legitimate stuff 
I've been able to find is porno, the motion on the 3 discs I have is 
strange looking and I can't tell if it's the source material, bad 
mastering, or if that's how everything looks on MPEG-1 discs. And yes, I 
was watching them for the plot and the acting ;)   I also have the Space 
Ace game that uses the MPEG card, and it looks pretty good but animated 
stuff often holds up better under "digital" situations- noticed a bit of 
"weave" and "jump" in the film though, which I thought would get lost in 
a sea of blocks so that impressed me. I saw "Star Trek" playing in a 
store a long time ago and it looked pretty bad, I don't have any of the 
more 'major' films Philips put out that would probably better show how 
good or bad the overall quality is.
With laserdisc having already been 
out, and now DVD, this format has pretty much always been pointless, its 
only advantage apparently being that they're incredibly cheap to make, 
which accounts for the majority of discs to be either bootlegs and/or porn.

Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 09:55:41 -0600
From: David Potochick
Subject:  Another CED player for sale.... 

I recently picked up a SFT-100 (I think that's the model number) from a
local flea market. It's the player with the lever that you pull down to insert
the disk. It works fine and I would like to sell it for $50.00... This price
inludes the shipping and handling. If you are interested, please contact



Also, CED's For Trade......
-Ordinary People-   2 disks
-GANDHI- Disk 2 

Let me know if you would like to trade for either of these. 

From: "Ken King"
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 41
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 17:23:22 PDT

You may not know this, but a great many of the CED disk assemblies were 
injection molded right here in western PA by Precise Plastics.  They did 
a lot of the original development work on the molds.  As was mentioned 
in the last CED e-mail, surely the format would have continued to evolve 
and many of the shortcomings would have gone away.  The last CED players 
were evidence that the art was improving.  My SJT-400 has much less 
problem with skipping than the older players, as well as some really fun 
features like freeze frame.  

The thought of a clear caddy was not likely, though.  The plant manager 
where I work was with Precise when they were making those caddies and he 
tells me that they were made of crystal styrene.  Crystal styrene is 
clear but somewhat brittle so an additive was used to make it impact 
resistant.  That additive also makes the resin opaque.  Try dropping a 
hammer on one of those clear audio cassette shells then the same on a 
CED caddy and you'll see why they did it.

If you have a white caddy (Precise didn't make the colored ones) that no 
longer is usable, cut the two halves apart.  (They are sonic welded, so 
taking them apart will ruin them.) Look for the little round circles 
that are the mark from ejector pins used to push the part out of the 
mold.  If there is a "P" on one of them, it came from Precise.  

Because most if not all of this kind of equipment came from vendors 
rather than directly from RCA, it may be a stumbling block to putting 
CED back in production.  Molds like this can easily cost $100,000 or 
more if they have been scrapped.  With that said, I would like to 
support any effort to see if we can find a way to preserve and even 
possibly resurrect CED production equipment.

--Ken King

Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 18:48:47 -0700
To: Tom Howe <>\
From: "Marlin Bates, IV"\
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 40


Anybody ever heard of this?

Telecom Technologies Incorporated
National Capacitance Disc Library
2841 First Street
Lyon Mountain, New York USA 12952-0090

I just got a message from them requesting CEDs from me.  Any information
would be appreciated.


---***     Videos, VWs, & Video games...sad and pathetic but social
---***     Marlin Bates, owner: '69 VW Westfalia Bus aka Lazarus
---***     XL/XE: 236/ Lynx: 80/ Jag: 58/ Sega: 89/ CED: 1197/ TG:70/ 3DO: 43
--*-*-*    Always looking for RCA VideoDisks (aka CED)
-*--*--*   Web Page:

Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 14:51:01 -0600
From: David Potochick
Subject:  Rights to cutting CED's 

Well, as for the person wanting the rights to cutting CED's I don't know.
You'd have to go through a record pressing company and a lot of other
red tape..... I would like some new movies on CED though. 

Jurassic Park
Ace Ventura
The Mask
Disney's "Hercules"
and many others...

Okay, is the CED principal used for the disc on the Voyager space
craft??? I'm just curious of this. It says that the disc contains video
information and audio information. Is this disc printed in CED format or
some other format??? Does anyone know??? I'm just curious....
I think it would be pretty neat if the voyager space craft actually had a
CED on it. 

So why does the CED have to spin so fast??? Why couldn't they have
just pressed them at 33 and 1/3 rpm or something slower??? I'm just




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