Video - Laserdisc.

Currently Manufactured LD players

It may come as a surprise that you can still buy new laserdisc units in 2009 but there is some continuing demand from Japan, primarily due to the huge amount of discs sold there in the late 80's and throughout the 90's and due to the large available back catalogue of LD Karaoke disks. But there is another reason and that is the Japanese High Definition television system that was introduced in the late 1980's, it is analogue and when highly compressed digital video signals such as DVD and VCD's are played on the HD system the compression artefacts are much more noticeable (and irritating) than they are on the low resolution NTSC, although the quality of those digital formats has improved greatly throughout the years with the use of better codec's and more modern televisions have processing modes that help smooth out the artefacts the simple problem is that you cannot add to something that is not there. The Japanese MUSE LD format is a variant of the LD system that has disk encoded with the same Muse technology as the Japanese HD standard and can be played back only on players that have the correct MUSE filters. Pioneer announced in January 2009 that it would make 3000 more units and then stop production altogether.

The Pioneer company is the owner of most of the IP behind the Laserdisc system, and as such it is natural that it is the last bastion of support for the format, the high end model is the DVL-919 but that is a combination Laserdisc and DVD transport and as such is unique in today's market. The unit sports amongst other features Dolby Digital and Dolby Virtual in addition to a 10 bit video DAC and a 24 bit audio DAC for the DVD section in addition to support for VCD, the LD section does support CDV and LD-G disks in addition to the usual. The 919 was when it was introduced specified as a high end DVD player but it is getting a bit stale in that department, although it is still better than budget players, the LD part of it is superb however and easily the best such devise that has been available in the last few years, note that even though the unit has a built in DD decoder there is a digital output as well if you want to utilise DTS., more info here. Pioneer has also a couple of Karaoke LD players, the DVK-900 is based on the Pioneer DVL-919 discussed above but in addition to the features the 919 sports the 900 adds all the usual Karaoke related features and support for formats popular in that market ssegment such as CD+G and CD Extra, more info on the DVK-900 here.

Discontinued LD players

The DVL-919E is simply a European version of the Pioneer DVL-919 LD/DVD combo that is still available in a NTSC version but the E version supported the playback of PAL/SECAM disks, note that this model cannot be software modified for multi regional DVD capabilities and needs to be chipped, it is believed that the last E models where made in late 2001 or early 2002.

Introduced the LJR I in 1993, this was one of the first USA high end devices and was basically a Pioneer LX-900u with an added comb filter for the Super-VHS output and better components in some of the output circuits, it was replaced in 1994 with the LJR II which added Dolby AC3 and was the worlds first LD player to have Lucasfilm THX certification, it was discontinued in January 1997. The LRJ III was announced by the company, technical specifications where released and at the least few models were shipped to people for testing purposes, but it appears that it was never shipped commercially.

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The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am