In the beginning, LaserDisc was also known by the names DiscoVision and LaserVision and was first produced by MCA in 1978, and became well known in the 1980s. Movie companies stopped making Laserdisc movies when DVDs became popular in the late 1990s. Today some of the better Laserdisc players still sell for $1,000 USD or more. Optical video recording technology, using a transparent disc, was invented by David Paul Gregg and James Russell in 1963 (and patented in 1970 and 1990). The Gregg patents were purchased by MCA in 1968. By 1969, Philips had developed a videodisc in reflective mode, which has advantages over the transparent mode. MCA and Philips then decided to combine their efforts and first publicly demonstrated the videodisc in 1972.


Although the format was capable of offering higher-quality video and audio than its consumer rivals, VHS and Betamax videotape, LaserDisc never managed to gain widespread use in North America, largely due to high costs for the players and video titles themselves and the inability to record TV programs. However, it eventually did gain some traction in that region and became somewhat popular in the 1990s. It was not a popular format in Europe and Australia. By contrast, the format was much more popular in Japan and in the more affluent regions of Southeast Asia, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, and was the prevalent rental video medium in Hong Kong during the 1990s. Its superior video and audio quality made it a popular choice among videophiles and film enthusiasts during its lifespan. The technologies and concepts behind LaserDisc were the foundation for later optical disc formats, including Compact Disc (CD), DVD and Blu-ray (BD).


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