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Do you still use old disc film players?


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Old 01-02-2013, 01:23
Simon Rodgers
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Does any one here still use VCDs or the older Laserdiscs, CD Video, Phillips CDi, etc?

I was justy wondering if they were still being used at all. I quite like VCDs as they are quite cheap and they feature just the films with no extras bumping up the cost.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:13
Chris Frost
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Having installed and calibrated more high-end projector and AV systems in the UK and Eire than I can recall, I can honestly say that zero of those enthusiasts owned and used anything other than LD, DVD and Blu-ray on a regular basis.

LD is really the baseline quality video system for any serious home cinema enthusiast. Quite a few of my customer have extensive LD libraries. Price isn't the main concern though; it's sound quality. American discs with AC3 or DTS audio knocks spots off DVD.

VCD... urgh. VHS picture quality with added macro blocking.... No thanks. All the cheapskates moved to pirate downloads surely. After all, if you don't give a toss about picture quality then you can't beat free.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:29
Soundbox
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I have a large library of CED discs and stereo player but the picture is not that great (a bit like worn VHS) and the needle sticks on the tiniest thing.
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Old 01-02-2013, 23:48
Simon Rodgers
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I have a large library of CED discs and stereo player but the picture is not that great (a bit like worn VHS) and the needle sticks on the tiniest thing.
Have you ever played a CED on an audio record player? What happens?
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Old 02-02-2013, 00:27
Simon Rodgers
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Having installed and calibrated more high-end projector and AV systems in the UK and Eire than I can recall, I can honestly say that zero of those enthusiasts owned and used anything other than LD, DVD and Blu-ray on a regular basis.

LD is really the baseline quality video system for any serious home cinema enthusiast. Quite a few of my customer have extensive LD libraries. Price isn't the main concern though; it's sound quality. American discs with AC3 or DTS audio knocks spots off DVD.

VCD... urgh. VHS picture quality with added macro blocking.... No thanks. All the cheapskates moved to pirate downloads surely. After all, if you don't give a toss about picture quality then you can't beat free.
Some DVDs give DTS, don't they?

And funnily enough I have some VCDs which play quite well on a widescreen TV.

I don't think we should bin VCDs just yet in my honest opinion.
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Old 02-02-2013, 14:08
Soundbox
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Have you ever played a CED on an audio record player? What happens?
The grooves are too fine for a normal stylus and the arm just skates across.
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Old 02-02-2013, 14:56
Chris Frost
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Some DVDs give DTS, don't they?
The issue isn'tr whether some DVDs have DTS (of course they do, just for the sake of clarity), but rather the issue of bit rate. Those sound tracks are compressed on DVD. Listening to the same film on Laserdisc is a revelation. It's akin to the bandwidth we have now with HD audio on Blu-Ray.

And funnily enough I have some VCDs which play quite well on a widescreen TV.

I don't think we should bin VCDs just yet in my honest opinion.
As do some VHS tapes. There will always be some fondness for past formats. Much depends though on the size of viewing screen and the quality of the audio system. The experience is very different on a 100"+ screen with a high-end sound system than through a 32" TV with sound via the built-in speakers.
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Old 02-02-2013, 15:54
Nigel Goodwin
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Have you ever played a CED on an audio record player? What happens?
As already mentioned, the grooves are too fine - the stylus doesn't 'read' the disc either, it just provides mechanical tracking - the disc is read capacitively, hence the name Capacitive Electronic Disc.

One of my 'claims to fame' was repairing the first CED player in the country, it was been taken round by Hitachi as a demo unit, and it didn't work when they brought it here I took it to pieces for them, and luckily was able to repair it.

Can you still get the stylus assemblies for them?, the originals are surely long since worn out?.
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Old 02-02-2013, 23:10
Theo_Bear
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Bought a Pioneer LD player from my local B&O shop back in '97. I used it quite a lot until DVD came along. Still have the player but not used it in about 12 years. I think it still works. Sound was lovely back in the day put through my old Sony amp and speakers, but Blu-ray would spank it picture quality wise. Cost me far too much to get rid of it.
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Old 02-02-2013, 23:43
Soundbox
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Can you still get the stylus assemblies for them?, the originals are surely long since worn out?.
No, not for the Hitachi ones but they can be re-tipped. I sent mine over to CED Datum who did a great job.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:21
Simon Rodgers
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The grooves are too fine for a normal stylus and the arm just skates across.
I'm sure I saw a programme many years back which showed, what could be a forerunner to this system. It showed a record being played and it just made a series of same tone buzzing sounds and there was a very poor black and white picture produced.

Does that sound like anything you may have heard of?
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:23
Simon Rodgers
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As do some VHS tapes. There will always be some fondness for past formats. Much depends though on the size of viewing screen and the quality of the audio system. The experience is very different on a 100"+ screen with a high-end sound system than through a 32" TV with sound via the built-in speakers.
Yes my thoughts exactly. I wanted to get a portable DVD player for VCDs as such as this would be a sure way of making sure the picture quality would be at its best.

I thought VCDs would be more susceptible to problems on the wider screen than VHS tapes because they are digital and therefore more "blocky"
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:29
Chris Frost
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I thought VCDs would be more susceptible to problems on the wider screen than VHS tapes because they are digital and therefore more "blocky"
Each have problems in their own way. Both have limited resolution. Good examples can look okay on a 32" screen when viewed from a reasonable distance.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:51
Soundbox
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Each have problems in their own way. Both have limited resolution. Good examples can look okay on a 32" screen when viewed from a reasonable distance.
On my 25" CRT VHS tapes are better to view than Video CD - motion gets really messy on the CD's.
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Old 03-02-2013, 13:33
Chris Frost
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On my 25" CRT VHS tapes are better to view than Video CD - motion gets really messy on the CD's.
Which goes to prove my point that it's not a serious medium for quality replay.

I hear the price argument that Simon Rodgers makes in favour of the format compared to new DVD. The basis of that argument being that VCDs are cheap because they carry no extras or menu structure. I don't agree. IMO they are simply inferior. Your post substantiates that to some degree. They are designed for a market that never adopted VHS en mass and that just isn't fussed about quality.

Any DVD will be expensive if bought on release and via retail stores. If I were looking to save money I would wait for the film to drop in price which most do a few months after release. Alternatively, there are tonnes of second-hand discs in circulation for next to no money. Either route would gives the quality without paying through the nose. I just don't see VCD as a viable source for UK based enthusiasts.
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Old 03-02-2013, 14:29
Nigel Goodwin
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Which goes to prove my point that it's not a serious medium for quality replay.
As far as I'm aware VCD was developed for the VERY cheap and low quality Chinese market, mainly for distributing films pirated off VHS.
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Old 03-02-2013, 20:51
nvingo
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VCD evolved into DVD.
It was the Philips CDi "games" console with software distributed in CD format, therefore the machine was based around a CD-ROM reader.
Decoding full-motion digital video was not possible in software with the processors available then, so the dedicated hardware FMV adapter (which wasn't available at launch) slotted into the back of the console (the second-generation console had FMV capability built-in).
VCD had the minimum resolution required to match VHS quality with a playing time per disc of a little over an hour.
SVCD with better compression improved on the resolution and had variable bit-rate so recording time was flexible.
The reason for the format's continued existence after DVD players became commonplace was that DVD recorders were not, so to create video discs at home on a PC it was necessary to write them to CDR. Much like writing AVCHD discs on DVDR now to play HD clips on BluRay players.
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Old 03-02-2013, 21:41
Nigel Goodwin
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VCD evolved into DVD.
I didn't think so - VCD was a dirt cheap format for the internal Chinese market, and came after DVD was released in the West.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:24
nvingo
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I didn't think so - VCD was a dirt cheap format for the internal Chinese market, and came after DVD was released in the West.
From Wiki:
DVD is an optical disc storage format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995.
Before the advent of DVD in 1995, Video CD (VCD) became the first format for distributing digitally encoded films on standard 120 mm optical discs.
The Philips CD-i (Compact Disc Interactive) is an interactive multimedia CD player....Work on the CD-i began in 1984 and it was first publicly announced in 1986.[2] The first Philips CD-i player, released in 1991 and initially priced around USD $700,[3] is capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, and Video CDs (VCDs), though the last requires an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1 decoding.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:42
Chris Frost
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I can't see any manufacturer developing a format for the purpose of being a vehicle for pirating films. That makes no commercial sense. The fact the VCD left a rather large and gaping hole for piraters to exploit is something altogether different.

Also, on whether VCD pre- or post-dates DVD I am also unclear. I suspect it came before, but it took computer technology a little while to catch up in order to make pirating in volume commercially viable. Certainly the more liberal Chinese provinces of Taiwan and Hong Kong adopted it. Maybe India and the Philippines too? VHS never gained the penetration there that it did in the West and Japan. I think problems with humidity were cited as an issue for domestic helical scan tape based systems. Perhaps there's a grain of truth in that. But it makes me wonder how TV production and news gathering crews got on with Betacam, MII, DigiBeta and DV Cam.

In the end though this is all academic. Simon Rodgers believes VCD is still a viable format. Maybe that's true for developing nations with a poor internet services infrastructure or a strong market in home grown material; Indian Bollywood comes to mind. But I think the rest of the movie consuming world will take free P2P file sharing as their preferred distribution method. After all, why pay for something when a pirate download is available for free and potentially better quality. No, in my mind VCD was never a contender in the West and that's all that really matters to me.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:54
c4rv
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I didn't think so - VCD was a dirt cheap format for the internal Chinese market, and came after DVD was released in the West.
I'm pretty certain VCD was around before DVD and defiantly wasn't invented by the Chinese. I remember watching and original copy of Top Gun on VCD before advent of DVD killed it off.
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Old 04-02-2013, 14:32
Lumstorm
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VCD was before DVD, I still have a few chinese VCD's lying about and they are not pirate but official releases. I hate the idea some people seem to have that anything chinese is a pirate.

My new Pioneer Blu-ray player can play VCD where my old Panasonic didn't so I tried some of my discs, you really wouldn't want it on a hi-def TV, plus the fact that a film has to split across 2 discs.

Also VCD is not dead yet new films on VCD are still available for preorder http://www.yesasia.com/global/naked-...0-en/info.html
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Old 04-02-2013, 14:36
Nigel Goodwin
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VCD was before DVD, I still have a few chinese VCD's lying about and they are not pirate but official releases. I hate the idea some people seem to have that anything chinese is a pirate.
I've never seen an 'official' VCD, all the ones I've seen were Chinese and proper 'stamped' CD's (not CDR's) - but there's no copyright in China, so they just pirated a DVD and made VCD copies from it.

I've never seen an official release one from a studio, or even heard of one?.
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Old 04-02-2013, 16:05
2Bdecided
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VCD certainly came first, and was certainly "official". I remember our local TV shop demonstrating VCD on a Philips player with a Star Trek Movie in the early 1990s (before 1994).

Less than five years ago, both DVDs and VCDs were still available in China - the VCDs being lower priced. A bit like CDs and cassettes coexisted over here during the 1990s.

Cheers,
David.
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Old 04-02-2013, 17:46
Mike_1101
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On my 25" CRT VHS tapes are better to view than Video CD - motion gets really messy on the CD's.
I have a similar CRT and VHS isn't brilliant on that. If I want to watch VHS now I use an old 14" portable.

Was VCD used to record the music videos on the old Windows 95 discs, ie this one?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqL1BLzn3qc

I can play it on my W7 computer but it's not pleasant viewing.
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