Videodiscs: The Pre-Cursor to Laser Discs

Empire Strikes Back Videodisc from the 80s | 80sretroplace.wordpress.comUnfortunately, there may not be a lot of people who remember videodiscs—but they were definitely available and were an interesting part of 80’s tech.

Videodiscs came out a while after VHS became available. They were actually a unique concept, as far as video technology goes: You would put the entire case into the videodisc player, which would in turn attach to the disc inside. You would then pull out the cartridge, leaving the videodisc in the player, and the disc would play.

The disc inside would play until it reached the end of side one, then you would re-insert the cartridge to get it out, take it out, then go through the process with side two.

The quality of the videos was actually quite good—better than with VCRs.Race for Your Life Charlie Brown Videodisc |

You never took out the disc on its own—in fact, it was pretty much embedded in the cartridge. The only way to take it out or even see it would be to ruin the entire cartridge and mechanism.

This would have protected the videodisc from damage and from the elements. In this way, they probably were less prone to scratches and other environmental issues than any video technology up until streaming started.

So they may not have been as widespread as the later laser discs of the era—and certainly not as widespread as VHS tapes—but there was actually quite an advantage to this 80s technology.

Gallery of Some Videodiscs from the 80’s


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