From the Dead Media Archives: Laserdisc

Early optical Laserdisc technology was invented by David Paul Gregg in 1958. By the time Gregg had patented his transparent videodisc system in 1961 and again in 1969 he decided to sell the patents to electronics manufacturer Philips. Philips had already been working on a reflective videodisc system at the time and gaining ownership of Gregg’s invention helped them push technology forward. Philips’ main goal with the Laserdisc was to sell feature films on them to consumers, so they teamed up with MCA, an entertainment company that owned the rights to the largest catalog of films at the time, to bring the Laserdisc technology to market. Collaboratively, Philips and MCA demonstrated the technology in 1972 and made it available for consumers on December 15, 1978. Philips manufactured the hardware players and MCA made the discs. The format went by many names including DiscoVision, but most referred to it as Laserdisc.

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