Posted on Thursday, January 15th, 2009 by David Chen
Decades after VHS, years after the rise of DVD in the late 1990s, and not too long after Blu-Ray was declared the victor in the most recent format war, Pioneer has announced that they will no longer make LaserDisc players (although they will still produce another 3,000 before shutting production down for good). If you’re like me, your first reaction to this was probably, “They still make LaserDisc players?”
Indeed, Pioneer sold more than 9.5 million LaserDisc players since it started producing them in the 1980s, accounting for more than half of the 16.8 million players sold by all companies since that time. Although studios stopped putting out LaserDisc titles in 2000, the format has continued to endure as a niche product through the used market, and through other uses such as karaoke.
LaserDisc enthusiasts will know that these were essentially the first mass market video products to support special features (e.g. commentaries, documentaries) for home movies, bonuses which would become popularized with the advent of DVD. Despite this, the discs were expensive, physically cumbersome to handle, and often required you to flip the disc to complete a movie. Nonetheless, I know for many, the LaserDisc format will always have a special place in people’s hearts, as the format through which they owned their first massively expensive Criterion Collection film, or listened to their first director’s commentary.
Have any readers actually owned a LaserDisc in the past? If so, leave memories in the comments.