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CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 43  •  10/25/1997


From: MODT
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 10:08:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: subscribe

we have about 400 discs in our collection and we really are glad to find out
that there are other ced lovers out there

From: "Ed Ellers"
To: "Tom Howe" <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 42
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 13:33:43 -0400

Terry Collins wrote:

"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."

My understanding is that RCA *was* manufacturing discs in 1987; the last
major new title apparently was "Back To The Future."  Also, the reporters
who cover the consumer electronics industry -- several of whom I know fairly
well -- were pretty much in agreement that RCA was *losing* money overall on
CED, not merely missing their return-on-investment targets; they were
selling the players below cost in order to build a customer base for discs,
but didn't do enough of that to recoup their losses.

Ed Ellers

Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 15:00:29 -0500
From: Geoff Oltmans
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 42

Dave wrote:
> 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
> curious.....

The CED really doesn't spin THAT fast. Comparitively speaking, the
floppy disk drive spins at 300 RPM, and the Laserdisc spins at a max of
around 1800 RPM.

There are a few reasons that the discs spin at 450 RPM. Firstly, if the
disc were to spin too slowly, for example, the 33 1/3 RPM like you
mentioned, the information would be packed too densely and the
information couldn't be extracted back off of the disc.

Here's a little math :)

The CED media has the following characteristics:

Each revolution contains 4 complete frames of video (as well as sound)
If you look at the disk you can see this fact because the disk is
subdivided into 8 sectors (NTSC is an interlaced format, so two sectors
are required to make a single frame).
CED's are approximately 12 inches in diameter
approx " of this is actual recording media.

CED's have 9500 grooves per inch

Okay, now if we keep this in mind ~3.25" x 9500 (note: we use 3.25"
instead of 6.5 because we don't want to count the grooves twice) gives
us ~30875 grooves per side. On top of this 30875 grooves x 4 (4 frames
per revolution remember) gives us the total number of frames per side...
123500. We know that the NTSC format is 30 frames per second, so we
divide 12350 / 30 ... 4116.7 seconds per side, divide by 60 and we get
approx 68 minutes of video per side (please keep in mind that the
measurements are approximate which accounts for the discrepancy).

Now, we can learn something really interesting from this by comparing it
to the laserdisc. On the laserdisc, there are only TWO sectors per side
as opposed to eight (so there is only one frame per revolution). Ever
wonder why the CED doesn't have a still feature? It's because the disc
doesn't spin fast enough for it. On the laserdisc, it is possible
because after it has finished drawing a complete frame, it is already
back at the beginning of that frame...the disc has made one complete
revolution. However, on a CED, a single frame takes 1/4th a complete
revolution, and therefore it hasn't reached the beginning of the frame
(it has to skip three frames to get to the still frame again).

So why didn't the designers of the CED make it spin around 1800 RPM like
the Laserdisc? There are probably two or three major reasons for this:
First, since CED is a contact medium, it is likely a higher RPM would
have caused the needle to resonate and skip around and would therefore
make it unreliable. Second, it would reduce the amount of playback time
significantly without increasing the groove density (since without
changing the groove density you would have only 15 minutes per side).
Third, by increasing the groove density to compensate, it would have
required a finer needle and would make the media more subject to damage
by scratching and make either the needle or the disc wear out
significantly faster.

Food for thought anyways. :)


From: DPC16
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 19:55:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The CED Future, Part V

The CED Future
Part V, Capacitance Fund & User's Corporation
By Daniel P. Cayea

	To be completely honest with you I haven't received any suggestions for
enhancements of this nostalgic and antiquated system. In this I had to change
title of this part from System Enhancement & Reproduction to what it is
now. A
response to the last post of the CED Future in CED Digest has raised a good
question.  The feasibility and realistic nature of restarting this media?  To
some it
isn't there, and to some it is.  I was however somewhat unclear about what I
meant about the restarting of this media.  As I have learned, in which I have
known about it for sometime that it would not be financially and
sound for a large corporation to restart a potentially disastrous
media.  Starting the media again now, on a large scale wouldn't be feasible,
just go along with the ideas stated below as well as some theories.
	Tom Howe has stated in his frequently asked questions about CED, that
there were approximately 750,000 players manufactured.  Also estimate that
the years that  half (50%) of them have become broken or destroyed leaving
about 375,000 players and owners of the players, that is if for each person
is only one player.  For this if each of the 375,000 people were to donate $5
to a
trust that could be managed by Tom Howe, (just a suggestion, since he is a
trustworthy individual) that would leave 1.875 million dollars in the fund.
amount could definitely by any hardware and equipment that is still available
for use by us, the CED enthusiasts.  The money could also serve for a fund
research into enhancement of our system.  I say our system, since there
only a select few of us who refuse to let it die.  We have adopted it, the
system is our so called electronic child.  Perhaps we cannot make CED the
flashiest, best system on the block, at least we can help sustain it further.

	Speaking on another question...  If there is equipment that can be
purchased and we (as in the possible 375,000 of us) purchase it, where would
put it?  Now, before any conclusions are drawn, I am not saying this because
this idea being somewhat based in my companies hometown.  My small
company Telecom Technologies is based in Lyon Mountain, New York.  This
town had a once large mining operation that was closed down in 1967.  There
still however several large buildings that remained.  One in particular,
which has
been run down over the years, would be a prime candidate for storage and
perhaps research of the equipment.  The building is five stories high, and
has an
available elevator shaft.  It is though in need of work, plumbing, heating,
electrical.  There also have been those who have voiced that what of the
of mines.  Approximately all of the mines have been permanently sealed, and
those who haven't been sealed are nowhere near this building.  One benefit of
this though, is that the building has a solid concrete infrastructure and
relatively cheap from the town.  I leave this issue relatively short and
ask for
your criticism.  As in the next issue I will discuss the role of Thomson
Electronics (RCA) in all of this.  Thanks for the interest.  

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

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 20:18:53 -0400 (EDT)
From: return
To: Tom Howe <>
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 42

   could not but help notice the comments From Geoff on digest vol.2 No.
42.   It's the classic arugument between Skeptics and optomist.  You can
do anything if you put your mind to it.  Why try to discourage others from
doing it??  If they want to try, then they have a right to try.  Actually,
it can be done.  We have made great advances in Electronics technology
since that time.  Smaller, cheaper, more powerful, more efficient, better
quaility stuff that could be used to redesign the machines to play even
better, more features, higher quaility stylus's, better playback quality,
and modifications that I'm sure probably are even already on blueprints
sitting still in a filing cabinet up there.

     Why discourage others from trying to help themselves??? You did point
out the fact that RCA "ran out" on all of these people, so why on one hand
are you down casting and stating that they are being foolish by pursuing
what you refer to as "Futile hopeless" attempts to help give some progress
and improvement of the situation of the owners of this format???
Everything is not as always cut and dry when viewed by many
perspectives...Yours is one prespective, and their perspective is another.
  SO WHAT!!!  They have a right try.  I don't think they are naive or
unaware of the problems that they would encounter in this project.  I
think they are aware of problems that would have to be overcome.  I think
somebody should try.   They told the wright brothers, "If God had meant
for men to fly they would have given him wings."   Well, thank goodness
the Wright Bros. ingnored those types of perspectives, and forged forward
and took the challenges of the problems facing them.
   It applys to this to.  Maybe it does not seem practical or pragmatic to
you?  But to others, they might have some vision on how to see things in a
larger perspective.  

    Let them try!!! Don't have a defeatest attitude.  Let them try!!  I
mean after all, your not afraid that your (or others out there) rarity
list will be threatened by new pressings of say for example "XXXXXXX"
titles that people on this page say or create the illusion that a
particular title is rare????....  I think every titles that was put out on
the title data base that Tom has should be repressed out new by order or
request So, that we don't have all of this contention, and pretentious
competition over titles.  I could even extend that argument even to the
level of certain models of players too (need I say more).

   I mean come on guys!!! this stuff is getting pretty ridiculous.  We are
all Big Boys (and Girls) out there.  Its time to stop being petty, and
start having a little spirit and adventure on this matter!  The point has
been well made: "We as C.E.D. people will accomplish things in our best
interest if we STICK TOGETHER! Divided we will certainly fall!!! (one by
one). If we don't organize! then we will be victums of the calendar!!
as time goes by, parts run out, Stylus's need replacing!!, Rubbler Belts
need replacing! I.C. chips are sensitive to static elec.,  

   I personally think it would be nice to be able to get a new pressed
copy of a movie title on the old CED list.
New movies from the 90's
Tombstone              Batman            
Terminator II          Beavis n' Butt-Head
Independence Day       New concert footage of Alternative Bands from the
Contact                90's  MTV "live unplugged"  Video's
Star Trek Next Gen.    The Beatles Anthology (whole set)
.......  Just use your imagination...  make up your own lists!!!

There are no problems, only solutions!!!  and if we keep moaning like we
are, then its not going to happen!!!

    If somebody wants to try to get this format going again, so let them!!
I don't see any harm in it!!!  If someone can then let them!!!  Usually
the people who say it can't be done are the ones who are first in line
ahead of everybody else when somebody else does do it....

   Lets here from some people out there with some real vision!!!!! on this
thing!!!  Lets think positive about this!!!.......Lets here from some of
you out there!!!!!!!

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 09:51:30 -0600
From: David Potochick
Subject:  Let's bring it all back!!!

Yah, I'm behind bring the CED back!!!..... Yah, what a neat idea!!! 

While were at it, lets also bring back the 8 track!!! Just think of how many
people have 8 track players out there. They're tucked away in garages
and basements, even at flea markets... We could buy the 8 track
recording devices and mass produce 8 tracks....

While were at it, we could also make great games like Street Fighter and
Tokyo Wars for the Atari 2600. Just think of all of the neat graphics!!! 

Hey, think of all of the people that have old IBM 8088 computers.... We
could market a a version of MYST or Sim City 2000 for them..... Then we
could mass produce the Commodore 64 and TI-994A again. 

Okay, I think I made my point clear..... Back to CED digest......

Although we'd love to have new CED's I just don't see it as possible with
CD and other laser/disc technologies.... RCA has it's own DVD player
now and I think formats are getting smaller instead of larger. 



From: LLP33
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 13:16:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 2 No. 42

Dave asked why the Ced disks spin so fast, i belive it is because of the 6Mhz(
6,000,000 hz) or so frequency of the video + audio signal. At 33 1/3 rpm
these high frequencies would not register in the grooves, because the waves
of the signal are so minute that a higher surface to stylus speed is required
for the cutter to engrave these high frequencies. The 33 1/3 is acceptable
for audio because the highest frequency audible is around 20khz (20,000 hz).
I suppose it would be theoretically possible to record video signals at 33
1/3 rpm, if the laquer was of ultra-high quality, ultra-fine, to the point of
being smooth on a microscopic level, used in conjunction with a precision
cutting head that was exremely powerful at the high frequencies. But its a
hell of a lot easier to spin the disk at 400rpms though. I belive that the
disk on the voyager is nothing more than a copper Lp, if even that much, how
would some alien be able to play it? was there a player on board? and ive
also wondered if it would be playable after all those years of collecting
cosmic dust. maybe its just a kind of hood ornament! (or belt buckle!)

Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 13:25:34 -0700
From: Tom Howe 
Subject: Zenith Player and Discs for Sale

I received a letter from a gentleman wanting to sell a Zenith VP2000 player and
45 discs. He can only be contacted by mail or phone. Here's his address and
phone number:

Richard White
42 Elmont Road
Hamilton, NJ  08610
(609) 585-8856

Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 14:47:27 -0700
From: Tom Howe 
Subject: RE: Voyager Interstellar Record

The records on the Voyager probes did include both audio and still images, but
rather than being a CED, the disc is actually two copper audio LP masters bonded
back-to-back and plated with gold. These were mastered at 16 2/3 RPM, providing
a one hour playback time on each side. Side 1 contains 116 images, greetings in
60 languages, a whale song, and music; while Side 2 has 60 minutes of additional
music. Side 1 faces inward, being well protected from micrometeorite impact,
and is estimated to still be playable after 1 billion years.  A stylus and cartridge
are stored on each spacecraft, and the gold anodized aluminum cover the disc is
sealed behind has pictorial instructions for playback etched into it's surface,
using the transition time of the hydrogen atom as the basal time unit. B & W images
require 8 seconds to play back, while color images require 24 seconds, and the
recovered image is somewhat similar to an NTSC television frame, consisting of 512
scan lines arranged vertically rather than horizontally.

There are a few of CED tie-ins related to the Voyager project. The CED title
"Star Trek: the Motion Picture" contains a mock-up of a Voyager probe, but no
gold cover is visible on the unit, and the Voyager 6 designation is now an
historical inaccuracy, as NASA launched only two Voyagers.  The two companies
that later mastered CED's,  RCA and CBS,  both provided technical consulting on
the mastering of the Voyager record.  Herbert Schlosser, then president of NBC,
was a production consultant on the record who later became RCA's vice president
of VideoDisc programming. He can be seen in the book _RCA and the VideoDisc_ , 
and is also the gentleman seen standing in front of a wall of VideoDiscs in a
publicity photo RCA distributed widely in 1980 leading up to the CED System

For more info on the Voyager record, consult the book _Murmurs of Earth_ (1978,
Carl Sagan et. al.), or visit the Golden Record portion of NASA's Voyager web
site at this URL:


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