A precursor to the DVD, the LaserDisc emerged in the early ’80s. It offered a high-quality image (for the time); however, its price tag kept it from dominating the American market. Even so, it was popular enough to be in 2 percent of households in the 1990s. A favorite of film aficionados, LaserDiscs continued to be manufactured until January 2009. At that time, Pioneer killed the product. After selling a total of 9.5 million discs worldwide, the company announced it would stop production.
8 technology revolutions that are now relics
It being the size of a platter and sometimes needing to be flipped over or swapped to a new disc was probably the real reason it didn’t dominate the marketplace. As far as pricing went, the $30 to $45 per LaserDisc title was the cheapest price you could pay to see recently released blockbuster movies like The Crow, which were being sold on VHS for around $200 for the rental market before coming out for $25 to $30 for those home viewers who wanted to own a VHS copy a few years later.
DVD mock-ups were often demonstrated with LaserDiscs or Super-VHS as its promise in the early days were quite behind the actual technological capabilities; ticker tape parades weren’t something DVDs could do in the early days. But DVDs could hold at least two hours once they got the bugs worked out, while the LaserDisc CLV format held about an hour per side, and the crisper CAV format held about 30 minutes per side. My CAV edition of Jurassic Park used up five sides and came in a box of three discs, if I recall correctly. I could smoothly have the T-Rex dance back and forth using the remote, which is still something most DVD players cannot do. But I had to get up twice to change the discs, as my player could switch sides and not discs - imagine what the size of a carousel LD player would be like.