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|CED in the History of Media Technology|
RCA distributed demonstration discs in 1977 that were housed in cardboard jackets similar to the containers for Audio LP's or LaserDiscs. The top item is such a "loose" disc compared to the final production item underneath, which was housed in a caddy. RCA's research into caddy-housed discs had actually started in 1976, but the decision to go that route was not made until after Edgar Griffiths put the CED project in a holding pattern.
The top disc was held in a plastic tray that slid out of the colorful cardboard jacket which was about one-half inch thick. A user would lift the clear disc cover and remove the disc from the tray using the finger holes on the disc. Getting fingerprints on the disc was discouraged, but in a 1976 Indianapolis field test RCA found that the discs would get smudged by users accustomed to handling audio LP's less carefully. The resulting signal degradation compelled the CED researchers to find a means of avoiding hand contact with the discs altogether, which was accomplished by automatic player extraction from the caddy housing.