My stepdad kindly gave me his modest collection of Laser Discs, an old obsolete home video format that began in 1978 and persisted for about 42 years. The format ended up being overshadowed by the much more affordable VHS and later in 1996 the highly innovative Digital Video Disc or DVD as it is more commonly known.
One thing i find interesting about Laser Discs is that as the name of the product suggests the data is read by a laser, much like a DVD however it is an analog signal and not digital. The picture quality is not great but picture quality is not what charms me about the format, if i wanted ultra high definition i would invest in the newest format of UHD and get a 4k TV. What i feel i enjoy about the product is mostly the artwork on some of the releases.
Much like vinyl records the artwork on Laser Discs can be really nice, mainly the gate fold releases that have extra information and art for the film. This is also a reason i began collecting vinyl records. What CDs, DVDs and Digital streaming makes up for in audio/video quality it lacks in artwork, a very important part of any media release in my opinion.
Unlike vinyl however where if you get a good record with really nice packaging, high end production and and really good turntable and hifi setup records can sound almost indistinguishable from a lossless digital file (although personally i think the whole belief that they sound better than digital is just snake oil) however with a Laser Disc the video quality will be nothing to marvel at by today’s standards. On top of this discs can contract disc rot or bronzing which will make things a lot worse for the disc.
In the collection where two unopened Laser Discs: “Independence Day” and “Just Heroes”. Video at the beginning of this article features a section where i open these Laser Discs, both which appear to have been released in 1996 and are roughly around the same age as i.
Looking forward to expanding my collection a bit and may do some more Laser Disc content in the future if people find this to be interesting.