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VHD/CED Videodisc [Sticky] Thorn / JVC VHD videodisc player 3D01 - resources?

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Lucien Nunes
(@lucien-nunes)
Posts: 43
Member Rest in Peace
Topic starter
 

For 15+ years I have had a couple of Thorn VHD players, model 3D01, from the early 1980s. VHD was a short-lived interactive videodisc format developed by JVC that caught-on for niche applications in Japan e.g. karaoke, but hardly at all in its Thorn guise in the UK. It had a similar-but-different feature set to LaserDisc, against which it was designed compete, although it used an electrostatic pickup to read the disc instead of an optical one. Despite its versatility it had a couple of significant limitations, although more than anything else it fell victim to the intense format wars occurring at the time. The Thorn 3D01 players have random access navigation down to 2-frame GOP level, controllability over serial I/F, noise-free slo-mo, dual or stereo audio and other features that were cutting edge in 1983. Earlier today, when unpacking them from storage, I gave them a quick spin. At the moment I have only a couple of discs and no spares or manuals, but if I am going to put these machines on display and operate them occasionally, I should be amassing some more resources. Discs can be found occasionally, but what about technical info... anyone got a service manual? How about spare styli? Who else has VHD discs with UK-made content, or (assuming there was such a thing) an alignment disc? For more info on these machines, you can see one of my players on the EK site here: http://www.electrokinetica.org/d2/3/index.php If the video clips don't play in your browser, you can see them on YouTube here:

And there's lots of material into the system on VHD Discworld, which although not UK based has a page with content from a speech given in 1984, (paradoxically in Nebraska) about the UK launch of VHD, here: http://disclord.tripod.com/vhddiscworld/id13.html Any and all info would be appreciated. TIA Lucien

Three anodes good, six anodes better!

 
Posted : 27/12/2012 12:31 am
crustytv
(@crustytv)
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Thought this might be of some interest to a few here.

Almost 12-years have passed since Lucien first posted above about this super rare VHD system from Thorn. A lot has transpired during that time, not least of which the sad and untimely passing of Lucian 11-months ago.

Back in 2012, I had just moved to where I live now and set out on my transition from B&W TV repair to colour television repair. This culminating in a couple of years ago constructing a purpose built museum to house my fairly large collection of TVs VCRs (many Thorn) and other such period pieces.

Back in 2012, I would have had no idea what on earth this unit was, and when it came to videodisc systems, the only one I was remotely aware of was the Philips Laserdisc system.

Anyway, I felt it only right to add this to Lucien's original Vrat post, for further info about it and VHD, please see the blog article for the Thorn 3D01 here. VHD discs a quite hard to come by and seem to command ridiculous prices. Unlike C.E.D. which are plentiful and fairly cheap, so I think I'll settle with the Thorn demo disc.

I hope Lucian would be happy and perhaps approve of it coming to the number one Thorn fanboy, and that the device will hopefully soon be playing its demo disc in the museum.

p.s.

@jcdaze seeing as you're ex Thorn and have on occasion had access to some very useful rare info i.e. 4K, would you happen to have any service data, sales/brochure literature for the 3D01 in your man cave?

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Posted : 25/04/2024 1:58 pm
Jayceebee, slidertogrid, Cathovisor and 2 people reacted
Lloyd
(@lloyd)
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Wow, what an interesting beast of a machine! I must have missed this thread the first time round, it’s a real shame about Lucien, but it’s great you have the machine now, I’m sure he’d be pleased it’s gone to someone who appreciates it and the work he had started on documenting it will continue.

Also great to see you posting on here again!

Regards,

 Lloyd 

 
Posted : 25/04/2024 6:27 pm
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jcdaze
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I only remember seeing one of them machines back when they were came out. I may possibly have a small amount of information about it somewhere, I will try and find what I can but it may take me a while. It's good that you've now got in your workshop/museum.

 
Posted : 25/04/2024 8:16 pm
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slidertogrid
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I remember Hitachi pulling the plug on the lazerdisc players when RCA cancelled making the discs. A friend who was an Hitachi dealer had dozens of new boxed ones piled up in his loading bay awaiting collection by Hitachi. They exchanged them for VCRs I assume they took them back and destroyed them? At a guess I would say this was 1983 ish?

 
Posted : 25/04/2024 9:59 pm
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crustytv
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Posted by: @slidertogrid

I remember Hitachi pulling the plug on the lazerdisc players when RCA cancelled making the discs

Hi Rich, hope you will forgive me being a pedant, purely in the interest of clarity as it's an easy terminology to confuse, and I'm sure you already know the following, this is aimed more towards the casual external reader.

The Hitachi/ GEC McMichael players were not laserdisc but C.E.D (Capacitive Electronic Disc). Not to be confused with laserdiscs which * were digital. C.E.D was an analogue video disc playback system developed by RCA way back in 1964, in which video and audio could be played back on a TV set using a special needle and high-density groove system similar to Vinyl records. The early 80s was a real media format battleground with Laserdisc, CED & VHD pretty much failing (though took off in Japan) due to VHS/Betamax video having already established a dominant market and as we all know, VHS ultimately winning the overall war until the emergence of DVD buried that format.

 

CHRONOLOGY OF VIDEO DEVELOPMENTS

  • 1928 Baird Phonovision system demonstrated.
  • 1935 Baird Radiovision discs on sale.
  • 1964 RCA First conceived in 1964, the CED system was widely seen as a technological success which was able to increase the density of a long-playing record by two orders of magnitude.
  • 1970 Teldec demonstrated, 5 mins monochrome.
  • 1972 EVR (electronic video recording – a TV set playback system using film storage) abandoned. Philips VCR launched
  • 1972 Philips VLP announced.
  • 1973 Teldec demonstrated, 10 mins colour.
  • 1974 Teldec launched on German market, with cross licencing agreement with Sanyo and King Records of Japan.
  • 1974 Philips VLP “hope to market this year”, and mass produce “within a few years”
  • 1975 MCA laser “Discovision” system abandoned in favour of joint development with Philips VLP.
  • 1975 Teldec renamed TeD: stereo sound added.
  • 1977 RCA presses 200,000 Selectavision test discs.
  • 1978 VLP/Discovision on trial sale in Atlanta, USA, player at £350, discs at £3 to £8.
  • 1979 Cross -patent agreement between Philips and other European, US and Japanese manufacturers concerning video discs.
  • 1981 17 years late, RCA launches CED selectavision, its too late. Sales for the system were nowhere near projected estimates. In the spring of 1984, RCA announced it was discontinuing player production, but continuing the production of videodiscs until 1986, losing an estimated $600 million in the process.
  • 1995 DVD developed
  • 1997 DVD comes to market
  • 2000 Laserdisc ceases
  • April 2006 HDDVD
  • June 2006 Blu-ray
  • March 2008 HDDVD ceases

* Error:- Unlike modern digital CDs, which use a similar scanning technique, Laserdisc recordings are analogue using frequency modulation, the pits vary in spacing, and hence frequency. Thanks to @doz for correcting my error above.

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Posted : 26/04/2024 6:33 am
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Nuvistor
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The Video disc was after I left the trade so never saw them. A technology that for a number of reasons failed to attract the buyers. Interesting that some years later DVD and Blue Ray did extremely well and still as a market albeit much small than 10 years ago.

Nice to see you taking care of them Chris.

Frank

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 6:41 am
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RichardFromMarple
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Laserdisc managed to get a niche market with film buffs & karaoke machines.

I heard CED suffered from a lot of quality issues with the discs.

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 9:04 am
Doz
 Doz
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Posted by: @crustytv

Posted by: @slidertogrid

I remember Hitachi pulling the plug on the lazerdisc players when RCA cancelled making the discs

Hi Rich, hope you will forgive me being a pedant, purely in the interest of clarity as it's an easy terminology to confuse, and I'm sure you already know the following, this is aimed more towards the casual external reader.

The Hitachi/ GEC McMichael players were not laserdisc but C.E.D (Capacitive Electronic Disc). Not to be confused with laserdiscs which were digital.

 

Laserdisc was analogue, at least in it's original form, although later the audio was digital (whilst retaining the analogue version for backwards compatibility). The video remained analogue.

 

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 9:15 am
slidertogrid
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There was a lot more to the various disc formats than I realised! Being a small independent a lot of emerging tech passed me by early on. We generally didn't catch up until things had been established for a while and became mass market. 

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 9:39 am
crustytv
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This disc that was in the machine, was not the Thorn demo, it was a national curriculum science lecture for schools. Added to that and rather disappointingly, the disc is badly damaged and thus will not play correctly (see photo and video below).

The VHD player was shipped with the disc inside with the carriage locked, but upon receiving it and opening the unit up, I clocked that the disc had detached itself from the disc grip and was floating about. At the time, I did wonder if it might be a problem, hoping the disc had not been damaged.

Oh well, guess I'll have to keep an eye out for a reasonably priced VHD disc to pop on eBay.

20240426 115356
20240426 132425
20240426 132434

 

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Posted : 26/04/2024 11:44 am
crustytv
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Posted by: @richardfrommarple

I heard CED suffered from a lot of quality issues with the discs

I have three Hitachi CED players and about 80 CED disc titles in my collection, all of them play perfectly fine. The quality is no better or worse than VHS. Having said that, the discs have to be handled with care hence the caddy's, as they are easily damaged, as I've found with the VHD disc. Of all the videodisc formats I currently have, CED is the only fully operational system I have in the collection. The Philips VLP600/700 series laserdisc is a nightmare, I've had three players, all with stuck mirrors, I still have a brand new old stock in the box VLP700, that too has stuck mirrors, Philips glue problem! No easy fix as you need the manufacturer's laser alignment jig.

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Posted : 26/04/2024 11:55 am
Cathovisor
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I can certainly remember a friend of mine going down the CED path in the 80s.

At work we had a couple of large-format Sony machines which may well have been Laserdisc format (they were certainly referred to as such) - they played in the moving backgrounds used for the sport results and may have even done more; it's all a bit foggy now. IIRC component out, so we had to encode them. Certainly when the Aston character generators were upgraded from the '4' to the 'Ethos', IIRC the Ethos was quite capable of doing a moving background behind the characters and so the Sonys went away.

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 4:46 pm
Cathovisor
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@doz Didn't CED rely on a "stylus" for signal pickup?

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 4:48 pm
Jayceebee
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Amazing find, not seen one in the flesh but boxed units on their way to schools and colleges.

Posted by: @crustytv

VHD discs a quite hard to come by and seem to command ridiculous prices. Unlike C.E.D. which are plentiful and fairly cheap, so I think I'll settle with the Thorn demo disc.

What a coincidence but I will be in Japan for 10 days next month for a railway holiday, Akihabara in Tokyo will obviously be on my itinerary. Apparently not what it was now for the component buyer but second hand stuff, mainly games equipment is available in quantity. I shall keeps my eyes open for any VHD related items such as discs and pickups and let you know if I find anything. I don't think I can bring back any players as I'm travelling very light. Only a very small suitcase so I don't need to make reservations on various trains I intend to travel on with my JR rail pass.

 

John.

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 8:06 pm
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Jayceebee
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For anyone who hasn't seen it the story of RCA and CED development can be seen here.

John.

 
Posted : 26/04/2024 8:26 pm
slidertogrid reacted
crustytv
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Posted by: @jayceebee

What a coincidence but I will be in Japan for 10 days next month for a railway holiday, Akihabara in Tokyo will obviously be on my itinerary. Apparently not what it was now for the component buyer but second hand stuff, mainly games equipment is available in quantity. I shall keeps my eyes open for any VHD related items such as discs and pickups and let you know if I find anything. 

The pickup stylus used in the Thorn was also used in the JVC and Victor players. If you do come across one that would be wonderful. 👍 The stylus code is VDS-1100 (see pic below).

As for VHD discs, that's where Techmoan gets most of his from, lucky for him I believe he has a contact in Japan who gets them and ships them, apparently buying from Japan's online auction sites is not easy from the UK.. VHD was big in Japan..... Ooo theres an 80s song there. VHD players are multiregion (PAL, Secam & NTSC).

m56440739864 1

p.s.

you may find this interesting.

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Posted : 26/04/2024 9:04 pm
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Jayceebee
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Yodobashi Camera has cropped up several times in my research on Akihabara. After seeing the prices of some of those turntables I had a little chuckle when he pointed out the closed off part of the store selling "expensive items" 🤣 

John.

 
Posted : 27/04/2024 6:35 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @jayceebee

I had a little chuckle when he pointed out the closed off part of the store selling "expensive items" 🤣 

Did any match the price of this?

 
Posted : 27/04/2024 6:47 pm
Jayceebee
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@cathovisor 😱. The comment was a reply to the YouTube video in @Crustyv's "You may find this interesting" link and didn't get to see any price tags. I don't think I would want to be anywhere near anything in that league and don't think I'm the type to get an invite to that section when I arrive there in around three weeks time 😆.

John.

 
Posted : 27/04/2024 9:27 pm
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