RCA SelectaVision Video Discs


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!

Sir Winston Churchill’s Flying Pod

During the Second World War, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill needed to be able to fly to various locations to meet with other Allied leaders in Russia, America and Africa. However, his doctors advised against his being exposed to low air pressures. This being before airplane cabins were pressurized, the medical advice presented a problem when the plane needed to climb above bad weather or enemy forces. The solution was a custom-built pressurized pod that included all the amenities a world leader would need, including an ashtray and air circulation system that would allow Churchill to enjoy an in-flight cigar. The PM flew in style, baby! I just hope he wasn’t claustrophobic…

Via Life’s Tumblr

Retroist Airplane Podcast

Retroist Airplane Podcast

Welcome to the Retroist Airplane Podcast. On today’s show we talk all about the 1980 comedy hit movie, Airplane! This is a movie that is very quotable. So if you hear people making hilarious movie reference, odds are they are from this film or Caddyshack. On the show, I talk about the pre-production, the writers/directors, the cast and cameos, production and much much more.

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