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Laserdisc Defects

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ATR, Mar 7, 2003.

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  1. ATR

    ATR Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baystate
    Back in the heyday of the laserdisc I was familiar with the term 'laser rot' and I had some discs that I believed had it; deteriorating video and audio quality. But last night a totally new experience; with a disc I obviously had not viewed in over a year no loss of video but complete loss of audio. Has anyone else encountered this phenomenon?
     
  2. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Can't say that I have. With laser rot, first you see the deterioration of the video image to the point where it looks like a broadcast TV station with lotsa static. The sound quality isn't affected at first, but as the rot progresses audio noise is apparent, and eventually, even if the disc is playable, it's useless. But I don't think I have one where the audio can't be heard. Curious, and interesting.

    ED:cool:
     
  3. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    Actually, if the disc has RF analog audio, that starts to deteriorate at about the same time as the picture. Digital PCM tends to hang on a little longer. I lost "A Man for All Seasons" to laser rot. RIP. :(

    Oh well, at least it's out on DVD.

    Regards,
     
  4. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery picture member

    Double-check your audio output from the disc player. If you've got it hooked up digitally, and the disc only has analog tracks, your amp might not be getting anything through the digital cable. I've had that happen a few times, where I'll throw in an old LaserDisc with just analog sound and hear...nothing. Then I'll remember to disconnect the digital cable to allow the analog signal to pass through to the receiver.
     
  5. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    South Plymouth, Ma
    Lazerdisc players tend to handle errors differently. I really REALLY doubt this, but it could be that the noise/errors on that disc, now deteriorating, isn't enough for the PCM to decode, but the video is able to be seen. On my player, if there's enough rot, picture and sound show the same deteriorations simultaniously.....
     
  6. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    Re: Re: Laserdisc Defects

    Might help to know what brand of LD player, too. I don't think I've ever used the digital outputs on my Pioneer players, but it helps to know if a player defaults to digital all the time, or will switch to analog in case there is no digital soundtrack. Haven't had time to play many LDs lately--I may have to find an older non-digital title to try it out.

    Just thinking about this, I don't see any reason the audio would just suddenly disappear. Deteriorate, yes...but totally disappear?
     
  7. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    South Plymouth, Ma
    Yeah, that's specifically never happened to me.... You're trying other discs and nothing's wrong, yes?
     
  8. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery picture member

    Re: Re: Re: Laserdisc Defects

    It's actually more of a receiver function. If both the digital cable and the RCA cables are plugged into my receiver, it will always favor the digital inputs, even if the signal's only coming through the analog side.

    Oh, and for the record, I've yet to experience any kind of laser rot, and I've got some pretty old discs.
     
  9. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    I haven't looked at all of my LDs recently, but none I've used recently have showed any laser rot.
     
  10. ATR

    ATR Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baystate
    Re: Re: Laserdisc Defects


    Thanks for your help. In fact, I'm using a Pioneer combo DVD/LD player that has played all my LD's using the coaxial input to the controller. But for this particular LD the coax would not carry the audio and what was needed was to switch the controller to the analog input. What threw me off was the fact that this disc was different from all others. I didn't think it was laser rot because the video had not deteriorated and the sound was completely absent, not just degraded.
     
  11. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery picture member

    Re: Re: Re: Laserdisc Defects

    I'm using a Pioneer DVD/LD combo as well, so most of the time I'm playing digital-encoded audio. Every now and then, I throw in an old analog-only LD, and that's when I have to unplug the digital cable to hear the analog sound.
     
  12. Jeff H.

    Jeff H. Senior Member

    Location:
    Northern, OR
    Besides the forementioned "laser rot", one thing that always drove me crazy about laserdiscs were motion artifacts on the picture. Most of the time these were caused by contaminants under the top layer of the disc, causing crawling lines on an otherwise flawless picture. It would usually drive me to return a disc to the store(sometimes several times) before I got one that didn't exhibit that problem. Mostly discs manufactured by Image seemed to have this problem. Anyone else experience this?
     
  13. Joel Cairo

    Joel Cairo Media Doctor (& Video Gort) Staff

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I've had a couple of discs that had laser rot, but fortunately, it occurred while they were still in print, so I was able to replace them.

    As for out and out defects, the most annoying discs to me were the ones issued by 20th Century Fox as part of their "widescreen" series... not only were the discs overpriced (usually $59.95 list for a **single** disc), but they were generally poorly pressed, and then issued in gatefold sleeves that had a tendency to warp the discs. At best, you'd get an annoying "herringbone" interference pattern toward the end of the affected side, and at worst, you'd get a disc that would either physically jam your player, or just lock it up because it couldn't intialize the side. This happened many times, and even when using different players. In fact, we went through a stack of the initial pressings of the Rodgers & Hammerstein series trying to find a suitable in-store play copy of "Oklahoma", and ended up sending all of them back.

    However, having said that, I love the format. The video is uncompressed, so I don't have to worry about the possiblilty of encoding artifacts, and the soundtracks are generally less "processed" than their 21st century equivalents.

    The Mary Martin "Peter Pan" is an example of an LD that looks better than its DVD counterpart, owing to a really **awful** compression/transfer job by Goodtimes when they issued it on the new format. And of course, there are still some titles that are as yet unissued on DVD.

    -Kevin
     
  14. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    For the most part, the DVDs I own look far superior to LD. One reason is that newer or restored prints were used to make the DVDs with. Another is that I notice less "video noise" especially in vivid red areas of the picture...the LDs seem to have a "crawly" appearance regardless of the title. However, some LDs I own still look fantastic, and I'm not pressed to immediately replace them. All the Hitchcock LDs look quite bad (since mine are all "original" releases), so they're no loss. But both of my Connery 007 boxes look pretty good, and the Star Wars THX Trilogy box is still quite good. Breakfast At Tiffany's looks swell, much better than my original LD which didn't even have chapter stops on it! (Does this qualify as an antique? ;) )
     
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