by Dinesh Thakur

A laser disc (also known as a "video disc") is similar to a music CD, but it holds visual images as well as music. In fact, laser discs can store entire movies, concerts, operas, recordings of live theatre, and a wide variety of educational material. Its signal gets fed right into your television or video monitor, just like the video tape movies you rent. Laser discs are typically 12 inches wide, just like a standard long-playing phonograph record (remember those?).

 

Like a CD that you buy for listening to music, you can't record onto laser discs-they are read-only, meaning you can only listen to and watch them. The difference in quality and ease of use between a video tape and a laser disc is similar to the difference between a cassette music tape and a music CD. Prices for laser discs run from $20 to $500, with the most expensive ones being for the educational market. Some consumer-level laser disc players can play both laser discs and your collection of music CDs.

For techies: Laser discs store information in analog form, not digital form. There is no compression required, as the output of laser discs is analog video (NTSC), not digital data.