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The Sandwich Shop

These are my thoughts. They are based on what I see going on around me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

I know very little about myself. If I did know myself better, I probably wouldn't be doing this.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The " Where Things Come From " File:
You can sometimes find the players unceremoniously thrown on the shelves of thrift stores ( usually upside down ), and you can sometimes find small piles of the discs the players used to play, but you hardly ever find the two together.
Considering the fact that the players cost around $700 when they first came out and the discs around $15 each ( in 1979/1980 dollars ), it's interesting to see the whole setup sell for under $20 if you happen to come across one these days.
Most of the people who will settle down tonight to watch their favorite form of entertainment on a DVD will have no idea that the grandaddy of the DVD player and the DVD disc was available for sale back in 1979 ( that's twenty-six years ago ).
The disc was called a "videodisc" and the player was called a "videodisc player". In 1979 both Magnavox and RCA had competing versions on the market. Magnavox discs wouldn't play on RCA players and vise versa.
Between them Magnavox and RCA had invested $130 million on betting that the nation was ready for the next level of home video. The Japanese chose to sit on the sidelines of the battle because they felt the public wasn't ready for videodisc technology; they were right.
While the picture quality was far superior than the average VCR at the time, the discs were limited to a 60 minute playing time. This meant movies had to be drastically edited, or shown on more than one disc.
As eager as people are for new forms of entertainment, they are more adverse to entertainment that gets interrupted. Sounds simple, but the folks at Magnavox and RCA went deep into their pockets to prove this law of human nature wrong, and they lost.
The videodisc player never did reach a high level of popularity with the public, but it did break ground in the area of disc-based video. While Magnavox and RCA launched and eventually bailed out on the technology, the rest of the industry learned from it . So when you think of old hand-cranked record players, crystal radio sets, old computers that had no graphics, be sure to add videodisc players to the list.
If you own one of these setups, hang onto it and keep telling your kids and grandkids about how one day they will be able to take it on the
"Antigue Road Show" and make a fortune.

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