Official: Pioneer kills off Laserdisc players

The Laserdisc - not just an overgrown CD
The Laserdisc - not just an overgrown CD

With Panasonic bringing back the VHS (albeit connected to a Blu-ray deck) and every AV manufacturer under the sun harping on about 3D as if it's the Second Coming, you'd be forgiven in thinking that technology today has a slightly retro feel to it.

Well, Pioneer has done nothing to discourage this thought by announcing that it is to cease production of Laserdisc players. Yes, that's right those LP-shaped movie carriers that we all thought died out around the same time DVD came into play.

Audiovisual enjoyment

In a press release, Pioneer broke the news as gently as possible to the two people who still own Laserdiscs – Peter and Sally Jenkins from Norfolk are their names – by offering a bit of insight into how the Laserdisc came to be and how it changed the AV industry:

"In 1980, Pioneer introduced its first consumer LD player (VP-1000) in the US market, followed by the Japanese market in 1981 and other markets accordingly.

"The company has seen worldwide sales of its LD players reach more than 9.5 million units to date in a market that saw worldwide sales top 16.8 million devices.

"It has contributed to the audiovisual enjoyment of so many consumers all over the world."

Format fracas

Apparently, LD's world domination was scuppered by those next-gen video formats, DVD and Blu-ray.

Joking aside, Laserdisc was the AV enthusiasts' choice before DVD. Offering much the same functionality and extras as DVD – it was the first place you could find a director's commentary – helmers like Peter Jackson swore by the product as it allowed them to speak directly to their audiences.

Unfortunately, DVD with its compact look and ease-of-use won through in the end, with LD destined to reside in format hell beside Mini Disc, HD DVD and Betamax.

The last batch

For those interested in purchasing one of the last LD players, then here's a list of the final models: DVL-919(DVD/LD compatible player), CLD-R5 (LD/CD player), DVK-900 (DVD/LD karaoke system), and DVL-K88 (DVD/LD compatible karaoke player).

And for those worried that their current LD player will run out of parts, you'll be pleased to know that Pioneer has promised to keep a repair service going.

Goodbye Laserdisc, now that we have been reminded of your existence, you will be sorely missed.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.