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Laser Discs... Why so expensive? Hidden Gold?

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Was just noodling around on eBay and discovered how expensive old laserdisc players are these days.  Anybody know why?  Is there some hidden potential in these ancient technologies?  Or simply a case of it being an old collectable thing nowadays?  As soon as I saw the prices, I started thinking 'Mmmm, maybe I should be on on the lookout for one of these...' (Damn social psychology).

So hoping someone might have some insight into why these machines are so desirable.  And, more importantly, should I be desiring one also.  Are they the AV equivalent of turntables?

thanks all....

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collectors' tax  😁

definitely not analogous to vinyl, a format that can still produce state-of-the-art results.

even standard definition has better picture and sound.

forget comparisons  with hd discs or streaming.


i tried to sell my collection but could only get rid of some dts discs and some boxsets.

since i'm stuck with them  i picked up a nice pioneer cld-d925 to give them an occasional spin and reminder how far home video has come.





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Hi @DrTobiasFunke  & @michaelw


They were a huge leap up from VHS in the 90s, excellent picture and sound quality, I can remember importing them from the USA for ~ $40 each delivered, cheaper if you purchased 10-12 at a time. I still have about 30 still, my favourites like the Star Wars Trilogy Limited Edition, which cost about $ 150 at the time, and like @michaelw still occasionally play them on warm summer nights through an old 720p projector onto a screen purchased on eBay and sound through an old set of SoundBlaster computer speakers with a small sub.



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25 minutes ago, michaelw said:

collectors' tax  😁

Yep, that makes sense.

I remember (back in the day) the aura surrounding them was that they were a very elite thing.  (I was too young and too poor to experience them first hand).

Appreciate the responses, guys👍

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If you can find a player that works you may find it hard to find a disc that doesn't suffer laser rot. I sold all of these for $200, the Star Wars alone was close to $500. The person that bought them didn't have a player and just wanted them for the covers. 



Edited by powerav

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Laserdiscs were designed for the collector's market.  Laserdisc players can be picked up from Japan in very good condition inexpensively. Pioneer stopped making them in 2008 or 2009.  The most recent laserdisc player for sale here on SNA was earlier this month for $100 in Tasmania.


I'm selling a collection of laserdiscs on gumtree and have had more bites than on SNA, although the best is the Australia Laserdisc Group on Facebook, who do such things as organise DVD/ video/ laserdisc fairs at the Astor here in Melbourne. I have met some very fine people there, along with the not-unexpected sprinkle of fanboys. Recommended.


key words (Facebook):


Laserdisc Group Australia


Bitrot/ laserrot


Not so much of a problem any more, due to the power of the internet.  A statistically large-enough sample of sales has been tracked on the Internet Laserdisc database so that laserdisc buyers can predict the odds of buying a bitrotted disc.  Here is the link and the Laserdisc database commentary.


For example, when selling, I was able to find whether bitrot reports came about from 1 in 20; or 1 in 10;  or 1 in 5 discs sold of a particular title.  These odds are reflected in the pricing. Collectors factor it in to their purchase price. This means that some rare discs at the $50 mark with 5% chance of bitrot will still sell for $50.  It's part of the package.


Worst factory for manufacturing laserdiscs that suffer from bitrot? That well-known friend of the consumer, Sony.


The laserdisc database is quite wonderful.








[end snip]


As for why they are collectible: a mix of reasons.

- They are beautiful artifacts

- Many have analog sound, not digital, coupled with digital visual reproduction

- Han shot first, no matter how much Disney rewrites history.



Groundhog Day.jpg

Edited by ThirdDrawerDown
added bitrot comment and a framed image

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I used to collect LD for many years when they were all the rage.  As previously remarked the PQ and SQ were much better than VHS or Beta at the time and on par with S-VHS.  

Only had a very few titles affected by the dreaded Laser rot.  


My player is a Pioneer CLD-1850 which is a NTSC / PAL machine.  When Dolby Digital titles started to hit the market I modified my player to provide Dolby Digital AC-3 RF output which I fed into my Sony TA-E9000ES processor pre-amp to do the decoding. One of the few high end pre-amps to have this feature.  :)


Oh the nostalgia.  



Alan R.

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I've got boxes full at home
I am thinking of putting them in new outer record sleeves then pinning the sleeve to my theatre walls (no damage to cover) ,visually the covers are striking !!

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third drawer...

i thought 3m was the sworn enemy of LD ?

what do you mean by "... coupled with digital visual reproduction " ?

ld video was analogue.



are you the alan r who had a website dedicated to the ta-e9000es ?

i had a sony ta-e9000es too.

it did an amazing job as a ht preamp.

my players were yamaha cdv-1700, pioneer cld-d770 with rf mod.

last year i picked up a mint pioneer cld-d925 and sony ep9es to handle  ac-3 rf

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