Whats a Laser Disc?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Tejpal, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. Tejpal

    Tejpal
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    Pardon my stupidity, but I havent got a clue what it is.

    Is it some sort of old cd ?
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    It is an old video format. A disc is like an LP sized dvd. They picture quality is far superior to vhs but not as good as dvd. There are plentyu of bargains to be had with LD though. On a normal tv, the quality is very acceptable.

    ad
     
  3. Yummy Fur

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    Tejpal, I don't really have time for an extensive answer. Briefly Laserdiscs (originally known as Laservision) were the first consumer optical disc format. It predated CD by several years. It was primarily a video playback format. The discs were were large ie 300mm diameter and double sided. The video and (stereo) audio was originally encoded in analogue form. The audio side of things evolved over time, later adopting the same digital PCM format as CD and later (on NTSC discs) providing Dolby Digital 5.1 (usually referred to as AC3) and DTS (but not on the same disc....) soundtracks. In the opinion of many, these soundtracks yield better sound quality to those on DVD's due to the lower compression rates used. The pictures were always stored in analogue form, but in the last few years of it's life, Laserdisc's could offer spectacular picture quality. I think it's fair to say that the combination of dual standard players (ie NTSC & PAL compatible) -particularly from Pioneer- and Large Screen TV and Dolby Surround, helped create the whole Home Cinema concept that we enjoy today.

    Yummy Fur
     
  4. Yummy Fur

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    Oh, and as buns will be able to tell you-- lugging a boxful of Laserdiscs around is Bloody Heavy!:D

    Yummy Fur
     
  5. Adam Barratt

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    While the sentiment is accurate, Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD is usually less compressed than it was on LaserDisc. DTS soundtracks on DVD also used to be less compressed than on LD, but this is not the case nowadays. LaserDisc PCM, on the other hand, uses no compression and sounds considerably better than the low bit-rate Dolby Digital 2.0 usually used on DVD in my opinion.

    Adam
     
  6. mikeaitch

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    Was it THAT long ago they were all the rage???

    God I feel old!.......:rolleyes:
     
  7. zcaps57

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    Actually, it's not true.
    We all know that PCM is uncompressed format.
    that said....
    Laserdiscs' DD 5.1 (aka AC-3) soundtracks are are usually encoded at 384 kbps. There're many dvds' DD5.1 soundtrack at 384 as well. But 448 kbps is more common for dvds.

    But still... many films on laserdiscs produce superior sound quality than the films on dvd. Why ? Because most soundtracks on laserdiscs are "untouched". Todays' many dvd titles' soundtracked are "cooked down" by studios for home environment rather than movie theaters. And this brings more negatives than positives in terms of sonic quality on decent setups.
     
  8. Steve Stifler

    Steve Stifler
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    LDs were great in their day, and still more satisfying to have an LP sized cover to look at. The players were generally quite loud, given the inertia of that disk spinning at who know what speed.

    BUT - Watch out for some American pressed LDs. There was some sort of manufacturing glitch at one stage, resulting in the phenomenon of "laser rot". I think it was a kinda breakdown on the bonding. The disk deteriorates over time until it becomes totally unwatchable, and probably the sound goes too.

    When these were imported, the people I bought from washed their hands of it as the faults were not immediately apparaent. Those that are still around, I dont buy DVDs from!

    I still have some - Eraser, Under Seige, Two if by sea, The Fugitive, amybe more. Probably still have some others, so be careful what you buy.

    The Stifmeister
     
  9. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Yup I think all NTSC Eraser LDs were faulty....mine certainly is.

    Also the first side of NTSC Heat (disc 2) has started to deteriorate. And Fargo:(
     
  10. ReTrO

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    The video on LD's was stored using composite video (DVD uses component).
     
  11. They

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    In addition to the above quoted info and from memory:

    LaserDisc audio is:

    DD5.1 (AC3) = 384Kb/s
    PCM = 1411.2Kb/s
    DTS = 1200Kb/s (replacing the PCM track)

    DVD is:

    DD5.1 = 292Kb/s to 640Kb/s (typically 384 and 448)
    DTS = 750Kb/s to 1536Kb/s (most recently usually 750Kb/s)
    DD2.0 and PCM = all sorts but typically 192Kb/s to 320Kb/s for DD2.0 (usually at the lower scale) and 1411.2Kb/s to 1536Kb/s for PCM

    and then there's DVD Audio and SACD and DTS 96/24 etc.....
     
  12. Adam Barratt

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    DTS on LaserDisc was 1235kbps. On DVD, Dolby Digital 5.1 operates only up to 448kbps, although Dolby Digital itself is capable of operating at 640kbps. The lowest I've seen is 224kbps for 5.1.

    DTS operates at 754kbps or 1509kbps. PCM on DVD is typically 1536kbps; 1411kbps is limited to CD and LaserDisc (44.1kHz).

    Adam
     
  13. Yummy Fur

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    Ooops! my apologies for causing some confusion through a hastily posted reply! (I did say I didn't have much time!) -- My thanks to Adam,zcaps57 & They for clarifying the matter. I should of course have said 'in the opinion of many,some of these soundtracks yield better sound quality to some of those on DVD's' . I should have not used the phrase 'due to the lower compression used' . I mistakenly implied that the higher data rates on Laserdisc for DD & DTS than on DVD as being the norm. Thanks for remembering the data rates folks-- your memory is obviously better than mine!

    I must admit I have never yet heard a DVD soundtrack that I have preferred to the Laserdisc version where the sound format is the same. I've just disposed of quite few Laserdiscs (oh- my aching back!) and had a few comparative listening sessions between the Laserdiscs and DVD's. In every instance the Laserdisc soundtrack (IMHO) was better. Sometimes the difference was subtle, but usually the Laserdisc was clearly superior- reproducing details simply not apparently present on the DVD soundtrack. zcaps57 has suggested one possible reason for this.

    Steve & Smurfin, 'Laser-rot' has affected CD,DVD and Laserdisc. The causes vary (I've mentioned them on a seperate thread)- but LD was more prone to it due to the sometimes poor glueing of the two disc sides and because it was it was a larger disc, was more prone to flexing.

    Yummy Fur
     
  14. Chimp

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    I know what people say about the bitrate of laserdisc AC-3 only being 384Kbps
    But I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say it sounds better than DVD
    I don't know why, but play Saving Private Ryan side by side and the laserdisc will blow you away

    In actual fact I am going fire up the old laserdisc player right now

    GOSH it's been a long time, Ahhh I have great fondness for laserdisc
    IMHO DVD wasn't a true replacement, but hopefully Blu-Ray Disc will be :)
    I still love those 12" discs and box sets (I wouldn't sell them even if my player broke)
     
  15. Steve Stifler

    Steve Stifler
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    I only tried this with Face Off. Near the beginning of the boat chase, the white speed boat lands, I think after the wash of the one going the other way that sound it horn. IMHO the thud of the boat landing back on the water after passing the other's wash was a meatier thud. Possibly also when the anchor is impacted into the top of the boat by Travolta.

    The Stifmeister
     
  16. graxxor

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    I think it's really just a case of the mix... Remember that in their day, a typicaly LD went for about 10000 yen or about 50 quid or so. So if you compare the sound on those premium discs to some cheapo tenner a disc mix by some two bit studio, it's probably not surprising...

    It's like the old "DTS is superior to DD because it uses less compression" debate. A well mixed DD track can beat a poor DTS track hands down. Even a DTS 15xxkbsp track can blow goats if it was mixed by a nonce. :devil:

    Yes, I have the Japanese release.. Fan flippin' tastic.

    Yes, there is something really quite cool about LD... akin to vinyl, I suppose. I find the whole process from the oversized loading draw to the huge and HEAVY packaging somehow reassuring, like looking at precious musem pieces. When you watch a good LD mastering, you can really appreciate the effort to get an analogue source to look so good! *sigh* I just hope pioneer will continue to make their 919 dual DVD/LD player... Or I'm going to have a 100kg of silver room-ornaments on my hands...

    If you want a recommendation, X-files series (NTSC,Japan)... After season two, the whole lot is recorded with an awesome Surround mix... BY FAR better than the poxy R2 release. The picture is better too (IMHO)...

    I bought the first 6 years of X-Files on LD for about 125 quid. I'm waiting for the price of year 7 to drop a bit...
     
  17. mjn

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    Laserdiscs were out in 1981??

    I ask, as it was the CD 20th anniversary yesterday!
     
  18. Yummy Fur

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    Yes! Laserdiscs were out in 1981 ! As I said they predated CD by several years. David Paul Gregg considered (rather belatedly) the 'father' of Laserdiscs was developing the idea of a 'video disc' whilst working at Westrex Corp in the late 50's . The history of Laserdisc is convoluted to say the least, I believe the first public demonstrations of the MCA Discovision as it was initially known, was held on December 12 1972. Can't remember when it finally launched as a consumer format though...


    I remember the launch of CD (or Digital Audio Disc as it was nearly called) well. Nearly every machine at the formats inception seemed to have a vertical drawer which lowered to accept the disc....

    Yummy Fur
     
  19. Ian J

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    It was worth reading this thread for that quote alone :D
     
  20. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    You'll find that most home cinema enthusiasts of 5 or 6+ years will have owned or still own laserdisc players since they gave the best picture quality.
    AND the Star Wars SE trilogy was released on it and remains the best quality versions of episodes 4-6 domestically ownable.
     
  21. GPMCDERM

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    I have a Pioneer 2950 player,must of bought it about 6/7 years
    ago it seems.....converted it to output Dolby Digital for the
    few DD discs I have, Star Wars Trilogy, and Jap Episode I.
    I used it with a 46" RPTV for years and the picture was great.
    Even though widescreen releases were coming out more
    on VHS you could always rely on getting it on laserdisc......always
    remember getting hold of Army Of Darkness....tried the player
    out on the projector and needless to say its not too kind to it.
    Have about 40+ discs. My brother has the original 9 disc version
    of the Star Wars Trilogy......you wouldn't want it to fall on you
    thing weighs a tonne!
     
  22. Mattk

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    Laserdiscs IMO are superb. I have a vast collection and would never replace them with DVD. Most of the music discs I have have not been released onto DVD and sound fantastic. The Phantom Menace blew people away when it was released in Japan. I brought mine from Japan (£125!!) but everyone else had just the stereo video, I had it in 5.1 EX and it amazed friends and I lost count on the number of people I had round to watch it! Laserdisc audio to me does sound better and given the choice I still buy laserdiscs as apposed to DVD. If you think about the quality of some music and films that are old, when they are transfered onto DVD the quality isn't that much better than laserdisc some laserdiscs I would argue the quality is as good as some DVD's I have seen. I got rid of Top Gun on DVD and got the AC-3 version on Laserdisc the plane engine roars sound awesome on LD, DVD was so lame and flat. Anyway I'd ramble on for ages so I'll shut up now!:D BTW Graxxor you live in Japan, I need a contact in Japan to get some music titles for me if you are interested?
     
  23. GPMCDERM

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    I don't have a lot of the same flicks on LD and DVD....but I
    have to agree that some LDs sound a lot better than DVD...
    STNG:First Contact in DD sound way better than DVD theres a lot
    more weight in the battle at the start.....
    Smurfin.....I have Eraser NTSC and it gone to the dogs aswell,
    picture really bad now...
    Disc packs were great....same could be said for LPs and CDs
    have the special T2 ExEdition.
    Still love the player but doesn't get the use now....but its earned
    its retirement.
     
  24. fraggle

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    Hmmm, episodes 4 to 6 in a triology? Interesting.... :D
     
  25. domfjbrown

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    LD is to DVD what vinyl is to CD...

    That's why I scored myself an LD player last week... (I'm a vinyl junkie!)... The picture on LD isn't quite as detailed as DVD, but then again there's no blocking artefacts or lipsync issues either...

    And yes, the Star Wars 4-6 films are indeed the only sanctioned releases on LD better than VHS - any Star Wars 4-6 DVDs offered are pirate and thus probably totally pants in the picture department...

    As for NTSC releases with DTS/DD sounding better than the DVD versions - I have no idea. My LD player is PAL only, but I'm not that bothered as I don't like NTSC format films anyway - the 3:2 pulldown effects do my nut... I only have the NTSC DVDs I can't get uncut on PAL...
     
  26. fozzybear

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    I remember going into HMV on Tottenham Ct Road some years ago and they were clearing out their laserdiscs and had the Star Wars Trilogy box set (with the original versions) going for about £40. For some reason I persuaded myself not to get it (mainly, I think, because I had ROTJ on LD already and at the time I wasn't really buying LDs anymore). You can guess how gutted I am now! :(

    I don't think I'd be upset about it if I hadn't gotten hold of a decent player (Pioneer 925) a year or so ago, and now my LDs look a lot better. The picture quality still isn't as good as DVD in my opinion (I'm less sensitive to digital noise compared to analogue noise), but they look sooo much better than on my brother's old player. ROTJ looks pretty sweet!
     

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