"Magnavox Laser Disc Player VH 8000"

Giving My Bones to the Western LandsLet me introduce you to the Magnavox Laser Disc Player VH 8000, hereafter just Magnavox. This was the first laser disc player. It's huge and looks more like a first-generation VCR than a laser disc player. CD players were first sold to consumers in 1982. Sony was first out of the gates with its CDP-101. The Magnavox (which means great voice in Latin) was first shown in prototype form in 1976. The idea was to produce them entirely in the U.S, but delays in building and debugging meant that for the first year the players were built overseas and then sent back to the U.S., in kit-form, to be assembled and aligned. There was no production line. It was assembled by a single person. I like this old-school craftmanship. My old high-end Linn system has small name-tags attached underneath the devices, like "Trevor". However, the work-intense assembling made them expensive which added to the already high cost of the player (the laser assembly alone cost over $300). Moreover, once a player was built, it had to then be modified to play CLV (constant linear velocity) discs. This player had compatible problems. The problem was to be temporary, but was never fixed. The teething problems weren't over. The player required frequent design changes and re-engineering. It wasn't until the early 1980 that a player that was fully compatible was launched. By this time, the competitors had developed new laser disc products with better performance and features. The Magnavox had serious problems. It was very sensitive to misalignment. Laser disc players would leave the production plant in perfect condition only to arrive at the dealers already out of alignment, causing skipping, sticking and refusal to play discs. Moreover, the lens focus mechanism and the lens could come into contact with the spinning disc and damage it. The player wasn't easy to service if you, at all, managed to open it. You will need a civil engineering degree to understand how it works. If it works. Doesn't matter. The Magnavox deserves its place on the shelf for obsolote products.

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