Ever heard of VideoDiscs? There’s a good chance you haven’t. An ambitious physical media format that began development in the 1960s, cost a reported $600 million to get off the ground and was predicted to be found inside half of American homes when it came to the market in 1981 by RCA, the corporation backing it, the VideoDisc is a vinyl-sized black plastic disc that contained an entire film. The format failed in the home-viewing marketplace, obviously.
But there’s a few hardy nostalgists who haven’t forgotten about this archaic home-viewing device: for instance, there’s Techmoan, a YouTube channel that highlights forgotten technology, breaking down the respective merits and weaknesses and bringing them back into the spotlight. And in their newest 30-minute video (via The AV Club), the glitchy, greasy, abandoned VideoDisc gets its due, deservedly or not.
Videodiscs are roughly the same size as a Laserdisc and are capable of playing 500 views of your favorite hits like “Rocky,” “Time Bandits,” “History of the World Part 1” and “ABBA: The Movie. But Techmoan has some problems getting the format to play in its full, clunky glory today. From having to buy three separate machines to play the format to realizing the movies themselves often skip —even in new condition, like one copy of “The Muppet Movie” seems to be— this is a thorough but less-than-flattering look at dated technology.
Check out the video below.