TIP # 9:
One of the latest trends in home theatre is the laservision player, which is not as new as one might think. When the VCR revolution started in the late seventies the LV player was an alternative to the VHS/BETA VCR war for supremacy, Since the alternate video source to cable at the time was the VCR, with recording as well as playback capability, it gained in popularity over the LV’s higher quality picture with “play” only format.
After the format war ended, with victory for VHS, people were now used to the idea of a component video system, much like their audio system. Today picture and audio quality provided by the newest technology video machines is stretching the theoretical limits of the system. Even the newest VHS VCR lacks the ability to come anywhere close to taxing the extremely high resolution offered by today’s TVs – hello Laservision!
The CD technology is now well accepted in both the video and audio arena. LV players utilize all the new CD technology available today and they are now used as a CD player as well. The idea is to further expand the usefulness of the video components in your system. The IV player provides CD quality sound and of f ers approximately twice. the picture resolution when compared with video tape. Since there is no contact with the playing surface of the disc they may be played repeatedly with no deterioration, result – better picture and better sound!
But – don’t toss that VCR yet. The LV player is designed to be a better quality movie rental box, while your VCR will stay in the system specializing in the storage/time shifter role, recording television for later viewing or keeping. Think of the VCR as the cassette recorder in your home system, while the LV player is the equivalent of the CD player.
There are a number of manufacturers in the LV business, which poses the question – what features and benefits are available? First, the better a machine is built, the more expensive it is to produce. Suspension (critical to longevity and reliability), circuit layout and quality in general are impossible to see when looking at the outside of just about anything, including LV players. More lights and controls do not necessarily mean higher quality, in fact the opposite is usually true.
Auto Reverse. The LV disc is approximately the size of an LP record (remember them?) and looks like a large CD disc. However unlike the audio CD, the LV can be recorded on both sides. Movies very often are on both sides of a disc and can cause a quandary when purchasing your LV player. The purest LV players are non Auto reverse with fewer parts, such as laser pick up sleds, required to move from one side of the disc to the other, resulting in less potential for mechanical problems. Generally better quality parts go into the manufacturer of non Auto Reverse LVs. When answering the question, “Doesn’t it bother you to have to get up to flip the disc half way through a movie?”, the answer is – a bathroom pit stop/intermission is usually needed anyway!, LV players with Auto Reverse have been less reliable, however their reliability has been improving and we expect that before long this problem will be put to rest.
Availability of LV discs is a major concern so, before looking for a player, check out the selection available in the video rental shops in your area. Most movie rental shops carry both tape and LV rentals, however we’ve found those specializing in LVs only have the greatest variety.
Karaoke, or sing along, is another option available to LV purchasers. These usually come with microphones, adding slightly to the price and require dedicated sing along discs, which are not always available at your favorite movie rental spot. Again, check availability in your area and be willing to spend some extra dollars for a comparable machine with Karaoke built in.
In the end, the best way to decide on which unit is best for you, is to think about what you want from it. Do you want the Karaoke capability or is a better looking and sounding movie your goal? Do you prefer your movie in one sitting or do you usually end up making a pit stop anyway? In any case the Laservision player is the next step in an ever increasing quest for higher resolution video playback. Finally we have a pre-recorded medium that allows us to see all the resolution your monitor/TV is capable of producing.