The origins of the “Laser Disc” showcased at CES in 1980

laser disc

The internet can be a wonderful treasure trove of long forgotten archival media that reminds us how far we’ve come in many aspects, especially as it relates to technology. I came across this link of what I assume to be an amateur tech enthusiast and his cohorts capturing the highlights of the CES tradeshow in January of 1980:

One of the great aspects of this video, is the introduction of the new audio/visual technology, the Laser Disc. These original discs were the precursor to the development of CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-ray formats that would follow. It’s incredible to hear how the sale people and newscasters talk about the features and benefits of this upcoming revolution in the audio and visual medium. This is especially interesting considering the other methods of enjoying A/V content, such as the 8 Track, cassette tape, VCR, LP record have all become obsolete and with the exception of the resurgence of the LP record player, the other formats are no longer being manufactured in any measurable quantities. However, the “laser disc” is going on 40 years and it is still heavily used to play and record A/V content for both personal use and mass distribution. Maybe not in the volumes we saw at the height of its popularity, but certainly in volumes that show it’s not going to disappear anytime in the near future.

It’s great to take a stroll down memory lane, or in some cases if you were born after 1980, to have the opportunity to visit a past you never knew. To me, it highlights the incredibly fast pace of change and growth in the technology field, but at the same time, shows me how some technology continues to evolve with the times, such as the optical discs’ evolution from CD to Blu-ray.

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