Sometime in the late ’90s Guillermo del Toro shared an opinion about laser discs that I’ve never forgotten. “Laser discs are to DVD,” he said, “as vinyl records are to CDs.” Meaning, in effect, that laser discs were truer to the look of film — more celluloidy — than the digital bit reconstitutions that are DVDs.
GDT knows whereof he speaks, so yeah, okay, maybe. I was pretty happy with the format in the early to mid ’90s, but then I began to notice laser rot affecting the occasional disc, and then DVDs started to come in around ’97 and I eventually threw my Pioneer laser disc player into the dumpster. LDs were fine as far as it went — revolutionary at the time — but life and technology have moved on, thank god.
All to say that Mark Altman‘s recollection piece about the good old laser disc days, appearing on The Digital Bits, is well written and worth reading, etc. But I’ll never forget that put-put sound my old rinky-dink Pioneer player used to make toward the end, and how four times out of five it would grunt and whine and sputter when I hit play. May it rot in hell!