At Urban Ore, an advanced junk shop in Berkeley, I found some video-replaying technology I'd never even heard of - Capacitance Electronic Disc System. Basically, it's a record player that plays video records. Dig that - weird huh?
RCA pioneered the technology from 1978 to 1984, it went nowhere. Why would you want something as tempermental as a stylus/needle driven video player when you could have the precision and durability of lasers? Laser disc players won that short battle I think. Now of course DVD players are crushing them all. And I have one of those too.
But I decided to buy the $20 Montgomery Ward GEN 10301 from 1981 and I spent another $100 on movies - mostly 70s and 80s classics like Raiders of the Lost Ark, CaddyShack, Survivors, 2001, Tron, Road Warrior, a few James Bond movies. The movies come as these foot and a half square sheathed platters - you insert the entire disc and cover into the machine and extract the cover, leaving the disk inside. As soon as I completed the insertion, in the test station in the back of the junk mart, with the player plugged into a krusty old temporary monitor piled high on top of old VCRs and betamax players patched with duct tape, my eyes lit up - I was astounded at this crazy old technology - in large part because I'd never heard of it, and because it seemed like such an abberation - so cumbersome, so analog, so eclipsed.
So much to Amy's chagrin, I bought in on the spot - 20 of the heavy large disks and a player - she lamented the advent of "more crap" into our house.
We brought it all home, hooked up the CED player to the 20 year old Zenith TV and we now have a downstairs American late 70s viewing station next to the fireplace with a pillow covered futon. We spent the weekend watching Harrison Ford and Sean Connery position themselves as men of the world.
EBay is a great source for old CED movies. I bought Richard Pryor live for $1 (plus $3.20 S&H).
CED Magic is the source for background info and anything else.
MCA's DiscoVision seems equally dead but different somehow.