Geek Trivia

In The 1960s RCA Invented A Record That Could Play?

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Video Recordings
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What TV Show First Introduced Virtual Reality As A Plot Device?

Answer: Video Recordings

Long before LaserDisc and even longer before DVDs, RCA had a disc-based video system. Invented in the 1960s, RCA’s Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) was truly the middle child of video playback history.

It looked like a record, it shimmered in the light like the surface of an optical disc, and it relied on a needle to playback an analog signal. From a technological standpoint, it was a huge success and marvel. It featured high quality video for the time (lower-end VHS quality for a 1960s-era format was nothing to laugh at), the movies recorded on it had chapters, the ability to easily skip back and forth throughout the film, and a variety of features unavailable at the time (but standard on later LaserDiscs and DVDs).

Just being a technological marvel isn’t enough, however, and the CED system was a failure. Despite a lead on the competition, despite support from major movie studios, and despite support from manufacturing and distribution channels, the system remained largely unknown. Thanks to infighting at RCA, poor marketing, and the arrival of the LaserDisc, the CED system never took hold and ultimately cost RCA an estimated 600 million dollars.

Image by Theo’s Little Bot.