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Memories of VideoDisc - Main Page


"...there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new."

- Dr. Jay J. Brandinger quoting from Machiavelli's The Prince on the passing of the RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc system.


New Section Added - CED Folklore - Submit Your CED Era Story


The above quote comes from the CED title Memories of VideoDisc, a commemorative CED given out to RCA employees at the end of the CED era. The caddy has a stock number of 62786 corresponding to June 27, 1986 - the last day the Rockville Road pressing plant was in regular operation. This disc starts out with a 11 minute oral presentation by Dr. Jay J. Brandinger on the history and significance of the RCA VideoDisc system. Dr. Brandinger, former RCA Division Vice President, was also general manager of VideoDisc operations during the startup and operating years of the Rockville Road plant.

Following Dr. Brandinger's presentation is a long still image sequence that occupies the remainder of Side 1 and begins again later on Side 2. Each still image is displayed for a few seconds and depicts some aspect of life at RCA during the CED era. The images are categorized according to the sections further down on this page. There is no commentary to accompany the images, just instrumental background music including such selections as The Way We Were, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Pictures at an Exhibition.

Side 2 starts with the 23 minute tour of RCA's player and disc manufacturing facilities that was recorded in 1983. This is followed by a long scrolling list of all the VideoDisc employee names and more slides mainly dealing with RCA Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. Near the end of the disc is a short video of the final 21 employees leaving the Rockville Road plant for the last time.

The remainder of this page allows you to navigate the various sections of this disc by clicking on the images. The complete show of 535 still images captured from the disc can be navigated by clicking HERE or on the sub pages linked below. A continuous slide show of the images can be set up using the Macro Technique that is a feature of all the slide shows available at CED Magic .

Some of the images may appear to be of low quality, but keep in mind that many of the stills got on the disc by pointing an analog video camera at a paper snapshot. Digital cameras didn't exist in the mid 1980's, so the total digital domain web images we have today could not have been captured when this disc was made.

A small number of the images contain their own integral caption, while I've added text captions and comments to a number of others directly below the image. Since the disc provides no ancillary information on who or what is depicted, I have no way of knowing this except by input from other sources. If you know something more about a given picture, please submit a caption or comments using the form at the bottom of every image page. Several former RCA employees have emailed me wishing that the story of Rockville Road could be better told, as VideoDisc was one of the most profound experiences of their working lives. That story would be difficult for any one person to tell, but with sufficient comments on these pages a lot of the experience of VideoDisc from an inside perspective will be preserved.

In 2002, I began working on a new addition to "Memories of VideoDisc" called Who's Who in RCA VideoDisc. This is not derived from the disc, but contains photographs and biographies of a few hundred people who in some way contributed to making the CED system a market reality.


Dr. Jay J. Brandinger Jay Brandinger Dr. Jay J. Brandinger Audio Presentation
Click HERE or on the image to listen to Dr. Brandinger's 11 minute audio presentation on the history and significance of the RCA VideoDisc system. This is an 1982K QuickTime audio file.



Rockville Road Entrance Manufacturing at Rockville Road
This sequence of 21 images illustrates the exterior and interior of the disc pressing plant on Rockville Road in Indianapolis.



CED Inspection Historical Perspective on the CED System
This sequence of 41 images illustrates more of the facilities at The Rockville Road plant.



Mastering Apparatus The Ways of the Rockville Road Staff
This sequence of 185 images contains pictures of many of the employees at Rockville Road, often busy at their respective jobs.



Nipper Awards Employee Awards
This sequence of 12 images shows Rockville Road employees receiving various awards for outstanding work.



Original VideoDisc Kiosk VideoDisc Milestones
This sequence of 28 images illustrates milestones of the CED era such as the first and last titles and a number of VideoDisc brochures.



U.S.S. Nipper Showboat We've Had Fun
This sequence of 143 images shows the VideoDisc employees engaged in various recreational activities such as company parties and outdoor events.



Manufacturing Logo From Disc CED Player and Disc Production
This link will take you to the still image sequences of RCA's player and disc manufacturing facilities. These images have been at CED Magic since 1996, but are derived from the same 23 minute tour contained on "Memories of VideoDisc." A movie of the complete tour is also available as a QuickTime download.



The People Of VideoDisc Title The People of VideoDisc
This link will take you to a page providing nine images of RCA VP's associated with the CED system. Also provided is a text listing of 1,524 RCA employees involved with VideoDisc.



Enlarged Capacitive VideoDisc Pick-Up RCA Laboratories - Thanks and Remember
This link will take you to a page providing 80 images mainly concerning RCA laboratories in Princeton NJ, where much of the CED development research took place. A number of key engineers, CED system specs, and manufacturing facilities the Labs contributed to are illustrated. Also provided is a text listing of members of the design team who were given achievement awards for VideoDisc research.



David Sarnoff Who's Who in RCA VideoDisc
This section is not derived from the Memories disc, but this seemed to be the logical location to place it. Included are pictures and biographies of a few hundred people who made the CED system a market reality.



RCA VideoDisc Aloha Conference RCA VideoDisc Aloha Conference New Item Icon
This is another section not derived from the Memories disc, but covers RCA VideoDisc distributors, dealers, and salespersons who attended the Aloha Conference in 1984. These people did a lot to promote CED to the video-buying public and deserve remembrance in Memories of VideoDisc.



Departing Rockville Road Forever The Final Days of Rockville Road
This sequence of 14 images shows the last twenty-one VideoDisc employees departing the Rockville Road administrative offices for the very last time.



The Memories Of VideoDisc Team Credits for Memories of VideoDisc
This link takes you to a text listing of the scrolling credits at the end of "Memories of VideoDisc." The credits also include a list of those VideoDisc employees who had sadly died even before the CED system ceased production.



Gettysburg Address Quote "The world will little note, nor long remember..."
"Memories of VideoDisc" concludes with a quote from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address stating  "The world will little note, nor long remember...". Lincoln was using these words to emphasize the insignificance of his speech in contrast to the sacrifice of those who died at Gettysburg. But as everyone knows, the 268 words of the Gettysburg Address have gone on to be one of the most acclaimed deliveries in the history of elocution. In an interesting historical irony, RCA used Lincoln's words in their original meaning, thinking the CED system would soon be forgotten, unaware that 10 years later the explosive growth of a little thing called the Internet would prevent that from happening.


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