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CED Digest Vol. 8 No. 31  •  8/2/2003


20 Years Ago In CED History:

August 3, 1983:
* The U.S. Department of Justice sues GM, seeking to have it recall 
all 1.1 million of its 1980 X-cars for repair of brake defects.
* The House of Representatives narrowly approves a Senate-authorized, 
administration-supported increase of $8.4 billion in the U.S. 
contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

August 4, 1983:
* Bettino Craxi, 49, is sworn in as the first Socialist prime 
minister of Italy. He heads a five-party coalition government.

August 5, 1983:
* In a coup led by former Premier Thomas Sankara, the government of 
Upper Volta's President Jean-Baptist Ouedraogo is overthrown; a 
national revolutionary council takes over.
The plan by which American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T) would 
divest 22 of its local telephone companies is given final approval by 
U.S. Judge Harold Greene. The company is ordered to stop using the 
name and logo of Bell Telephone.
* The U.S. Labor Department reports that the nation's seasonally 
adjusted unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent in June to 9.3 
percent in July, the largest one-month decline since 1959.
* Future CED title in widespread theatrical release: Mr. Mom.

August 6, 1983:
* Nigeria's President Shehu Shagari wins reelection to a second four-year
* The United States sends AWACS radar planes, F-15 fighters, and 
other aircraft to support Chad against Libyan-backed rebels.
* A Spanish supertanker catches fire and explodes offf the coast of 
South Africa, creating a huge oil spill.

August 7, 1983:
* Telephone operators, repair workers, and other American Telephone 
and Telegraph (AT&T) employees go on strike.
* In only his second year on the Professional Golfers' Association of 
America tour, Hal Sutton wins the PGA championship at the Riviera CC 
in Pacific Palisades, CA for a $100,000 purse.

August 8, 1983:
* President Efrain Rios Montt of Guatemala is ousted by the military. 
His defense minister, Brig. Gen. Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, is 
installed as head of state.
* Television news anchorwoman Christine Craft is awarded $500,000 in 
a sex discrimination suit against KMBC-TV of Kansas City, MO. Craft 
contended that she had been demoted because she was "too old, 
unattractive and deferential enough to men."

August 9, 1983:
* France sends military advisers to Chad to assist against 
Libyan-backed rebels.

From: "Don Borowski" <donb>
To: <>
Subject: Re: S-video
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 07:51:25 -0700

Andy Cuffe <baltimora> wrote:

>Does anyone have any detailed information on how the video signal on the
>disc is modulated?  I was wondering if it would be possible to add an
>S-video output to my SJT-400.  Does CED use composite video like laser
>disc, or does it use a down converted chroma signal like VHS?  If it
>uses a down converted chroma signal, it might be worth adding a
>connector that has access to the chroma signal before it's combined with
>the luma signal.

CED is a "color under" system like both VHS and Beta. Of course, it
has its
own subcarrier frequency. I don't know the frequency off the top of my head,
but it is lower than the two tape standards. I do have some service so I
could look the number up.

You would need to pull the signal out at the point where it is up-converted
back to 3.58 MHz subcarrier frequency.

>I also have a question about a problem I've noticed with my player.
>About every 10 seconds, like clockwork the picture becomes very noisy
>for about half a second, then suddenly clears up.  It does this whether
>it's playing, or in page mode.  It has an almost new stylus (also did it
>with the old stylus).  I'm thinking that there might be a problem with
>the grounding of the disc, or pickup arm which is allowing static to
>build up and suddenly discharge.  Has anyone seen anything like this?

No clue about this one.

Don Borowski
Spokane, WQA

From: "Allen wolf" <wolfallen>
Subject: A Very nice...Fellow CED Nut!!!
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 12:30:11 -0500

Hi All,
I just had to send this into the Digest!!! hope this letter makes it 
in. in the past week,i'v bin talking to one of the nicest guy's and 
fellow CED hound "KEN". this guy has a love for the CED format that 
only i thought i had!! he just got Five CED Player's from me and he's 
just so happy about it! just like i would act if i got them. i hope 
to keep up an Internet Friendship with Ken and maybe some day meet 
the man. Ken,if your reading this...i hope you don't mind. I'm from 
Wisconsin and Ken is from Vancouver B.C. wich is also very cool.

From: SonyFan13
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 14:23:45 EDT
Subject: Re: CED Digest Vol. 8 No. 30

"Ray & SusanThomas" <raysir> writes:

>"It is my understanding that the RCA CED players and discs had
>approximately 380 lines of resolution Vs the 425 of laser discs.  I
>remember reading this somewhere but haven't found it yet.  I will
>keep looking."

According to Tom Howe's FAQ, CED's 3 MHz bandwidth allows a maximum 
horizontal resolution of 240 lines.

>"I have approximately 250 CED discs and 450 laser discs
>and can say from my experience with a 72 front projection TV, that
>the CEDs always had a better picture than the laser discs, especially
>in the early '80s.  Laser discs did not get better than CEDs until
>the early '90s.  I think they actually made the players better
>because some of my early laser discs look fairly good on my newest

That depends.  What players and discs were you using?  If you were 
basing your comparisons with non-Pioneer or low performance Pioneer 
LaserDisc players, then yes, I can see how your argument would have 

For quality coming from software, so far from what I've actually 
seen, CED at it's worst has to be "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." 
The transfer was just plain horrible and no stereo soundtrack! 
However, the discs were made to about the same standards as other CED 

For LaserDiscs, pretty much the majority of titles from MCA 
DiscoVision were terrible.  Not only were some bad telecine transfers 
made (including a few without proper 3:2 pulldown) or bad masterting 
(the CAV set of "Frenzy" being an infamous example with side five 
having a player pause code on EACH frame), but disc manufacturing was 
very poor in quality as the discs were pressed in non-climate 
controlled environments with nothing to keep it clean and the workers 
wearing only rubber gloves for protection and pressing discs using 
modified LP pressers.  Only a few exceptions for DiscoVision exist as 
being stellar in terms of overall quality.

Technically, LaserVision has higher video bandwidth, uses true 
composite for the chroma instead of using a chroma-under method to 
store color, had a wider frequency range and dynamic range for FM 
analogue audio and would see further improvement with LaserDisc audio 
with the introduction of PCM digital audio tracks, and the laser 
scanning system was impervious to read errors with minor to moderate 
obstacles on the disc surface assuming that the disc itself was not 
defective from the pressing plant.

CED has lower video bandwidth, uses chroma under, had a maximum 
frequency response at about 15 KHz, and was sensitive to dust 
accumulation and other surface imperfections on the disc (hence the 
necessity of the disc caddy and automatic extraction mechanism.)

However, RCA was much more careful in how they made software for the 
CED system, instantly recognizing the need for clean-room conditions 
for one.  LaserVision wasn't as fortunate in the beginning as 
DiscoVision made discs in deplorable conditions, which would continue 
until Pioneer would take over pressing operations by beginning with 
an extensive retooling of the Carson plant.

>"Also, if a CED had a bad spot it was over in a flash where as a
>laser disc with laser rot is not watchable.  I have experienced
>approximately 10% of CEDs with "skips" that can not be corrected
>about 10% laser discs with rot.  I can still watch and enjoy the CEDs
>but the laser discs are not watchable and they just get worse as time
>goes by."

On the other hand, laser rot was the result of a manufacturing defect 
in either disc assembly and/or raw materials and actually did not 
have a common occurance since the early 1980s.  Discs pressed from 
the late 1990s by Sony DADC USA, which comprised the majority of 
Columbia/Tri-Star product with very few exceptions at that time 
("Starship Troopers" was made by Sony DADC USA in Terre Haute, IN., 
but many copies of "Men In Black" were made by Pioneer Video in 
Carson, CA.), was the latest major outbreak of laser rot up until 
their LD pressing operations were halted. 

Uncorrectable skips on CEDs were usually caused by physical damage to 
the disc's grooves, usually when CEDs are stacked vertically.  The 
weight that the discs on the top and middle section of the stack 
would be placing on the bottom row of discs would cause such kinds of 

It should be noted that LaserVision was not really a foreign 
invention.  It was devised by a small company called Gauss 
Electrophysics in the USA, which would later be purchased by MCA. 
MCA Labs division would create MCA Disco-Vision to make the 
prototype.  Royal Philips was also working on the same thing, but MCA 
was much further ahead.  While Philips was working with glass masters 
for testing their prototype, MCA was demonstrating with prototype 
plastic pressings.  Philips and MCA would merge their two formats 
into one, combining the best attributes of both into one system. 
Pioneer would later enter the foray as an attempt by MCA to introduce 
DiscoVision to Japan.

Simply put, however, when the product came to fruition, MCA couldn't 
make good discs and Philips couldn't make good players.  Pioneer, on 
the other hand, made superior players and their Kofu plant was 
churning out superior discs.  IBM would later come into the picture, 
but they did little to improve DiscoVision's woes.  Pioneer, already 
having invested heavily into LaserVision, elected to take over 
support and manufacturing of the format when DiscoVision closed its 
doors in 1980-1981.  - Reinhart

Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 02:45:36 -0800
From: Tom Howe <>
Subject: RE: S-video

>Does anyone have any detailed information on how the video signal on the
>disc is modulated?  I was wondering if it would be possible to add an
>S-video output to my SJT-400.

A number of years ago I found my first Commodore 64 No. 1702 S-video 
monitor in a thrift store and had the idea of interfacing it to a CED 
player. I never got an S-video image to display and have not 
revisited the concept since that time. In hindsight, one thing I 
didn't try was to sever the chrominance and luminance pins on the 
video converter IC from the CED circuit board and have them go 
directly to the S-video monitor, as it's possible the signals were 
too attenuated to drive both the monitor and the remaining video 
circuitry on the CED signal processing board. Severing these pins 
will prevent the composite video and RF outputs on the player from 

If you want to experiment with this, all RCA player use the same 
24-pin CA3216E Chroma Processor integrated circuit labeled as U3402 
on the circuit board, and here are the relevant pins:

Pin 8  - Substrate Ground
Pin 10 - 3.58MHz Chroma Output
Pin 21 - Luminance Output

>I also have a question about a problem I've noticed with my player.
>About every 10 seconds, like clockwork the picture becomes very noisy
>for about half a second, then suddenly clears up.

If this happens with precision so accurate you can time each 
occurrence with a stop watch, it would indicate a problem relating to 
a crystal timed circuit, which could be a problem with the circuit 
itself or the reference frequency supplied to it. The first thing to 
do is to use a frequency counter to set the 3.58 MHz reference and 
the VCXO reference following the procedures in the player service 
manual. A 100 MHz frequency counter is fine for CED player servicing, 
and used units can be obtained on eBay.

If resetting the reference frequencies doesn't correct the problem, 
try inspecting the pins on the NLAC chip (U3101) either with an 
oscilloscope display  or by measuring the voltage on each pin with an 
analog voltmeter, while the player is in page mode. If you encounter 
a problem pin, there may be a disturbance in the scope waveform or a 
blip on the needle of the analog meter that corresponds to each 
disturbance of the displayed video image. If such a pin is located, 
all the discreet components associated with that circuit node should 
be checked. If no problem is found with the NLAC circuitry, expand 
testing to include the Armstretcher IC (U3401), the Comb Filter IC 
(U3301), and finally the Video Converter IC (U3402).


Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 16:07:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ken McCreath <noodlecoodle>

Hi there CED FREAKS !!

    I just wanted to say that ever since I've started
collecting Videodisc players and CEDs it's been
nothing but fun. A challenge mind you, but great fun.
Just going to the Virgin megastore and buying the
latest dvd is no challenge (well...maybe finding
parking). Anyways there was one other thing. Also, I
have met the coolest, nicest and most interesting
folks ( in person and online ) in the CED community.
I'm assuming that most of us are spread out all over
North America and the U.K. It's too bad that we didn't
live a little closer together...geographically
speaking. We could have one HELLUVA party! Not to
mention a wicked SWAP MEET. One person I've been
corresponding ( and doing business ) with is Allen
Wolf. What a great guy!
Anyways, I'll ramble some more again soon. My best to
you and yours!


           KENS TOP 5 CEDs OF THE WEEK !!
1. The Shining
2. Cat People
3. Prince of the City
4. Murder by Death
5. Rear Window

  That's my TOP 5 for this week. Stay tuned for next
weeks ExCiTiNg installment!!

Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 09:13:54 -0400
Subject: broken VHD
From: Jason Goodman <jason>


I have a 3D VHD player that is playing audio but not video.  All I 
get on the screen is black.  Do you have any suggestions as to how I 
can fix it or replace it?  I have seen some newer VHD players that 
are intended for Karaoke, will these playback the 3D disks?  I have a 
separate 3D box that could drive the glasses...


Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 11:26:14 -0800
From: Tom Howe <>
Subject: RE: rca sft100 player won`t engage the disc??

>I just bought a slightly used rca sft100 ced player that worked
>fine before shipment, once received it does not allow the caddy
>to insert, only goes in about 1/4 way instead of 3/4 or full
>engagement. Any ideas or suggestions on what might be the problem
>and correction.

This sounds like the somewhat fragile pivot joint on the left 
receiver pad assembly was broken by rough handling during transit of 
the player. For repair suggestions, go to the Repair Solutions page 
and click on the "Broken Pivot On Left Receiver Pad Assembly (F/G)" 

For all owners of F/G players, remember to always insert the caddy 
gently into the player to minimize stress on this pivot joint when 
the caddy comes in contact with the left receiver pad assembly.



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