Capacitance Electronic Discs, or CEDs, were more commonly known as “videodiscs.” Although they looked like laser discs, they have more in common with their analog cousin, the vinyl record. Like albums, RCA’s videodiscs were physically read by a needle and were good for “about 500 plays,” according to RCA. These discs became commonly known as RCA SelectaVision discs, which was mildly confusing to consumers as RCA also used the SelectaVision moniker early VCR models as well.
Each disc was able to hold 60 minutes of video per side for a total of 120 minutes. For movies more than two hours in length, scenes were often trimmed or sped up to get the film to fit. RCA released their SelectaVision player in 1981, but without the ability to record like a VCR and inferior quality when compared to laser discs, SelectaVision never really had a chance. RCA cancelled the production of players in 1984, and disc production stopped two years later.
One of our local thrift stores recently set out on display a large collection on SelectaVision discs, as you can see above. I haven’t been able to track down a player yet, but if those discs are an example of the types of movies you can find on this format, count me in!