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RCA Press Release for August 12, 1983


RCA Unveils First Video Disc Player with Programmable Capability

Highly Featured Player Carries Optional Retail Price Of $499.95; Random Access Model To Have Consumer, Educational And Institutional Applications

INDIANAPOLIS, August 12 -- RCA today unveiled in the United States market the first video disc player with programmable capability which will give the company's "CED" VideoDisc system "applications far beyond simple home entertainment."

The new stereo Random Access player, model SJT400, employs several digital microcomputers to provide a variety of interactive applications for the user. RCA will begin shipments of the player and the first two interactive discs next month, with a third interactive disc scheduled for November.

Optional retail price for the new Random Access player is $499.95. Interactive discs will be optionally priced at $29.98.

In addition to RCA, several other major program sources, including CBS Publishing, Walt Disney Home Video and Paramount Pictures, are expected to develop interactive programs for the "CED" video disc system.

"The addition of random access and interactivity opens entirely new markets for the video disc in consumer, educational and institutional applications," RCA executives said at a meeting of RCA distributors here.

In addition to the introduction of interactive discs which involve the viewer in game-like situations, RCA will offer 21 discs that are "banded" to allow access to any desired segment using the new random access player, according to Thomas G. Kuhn, Division Vice President, RCA VideoDiscs. The majority of banded discs are stereo music albums, he noted, and RCA plans to release all future stereo music discs in the banded format. Banding information is clearly marked on the back of each album cover so that a consumer can pick and choose which selections will be played, as well as the order of their appearance.

"For the first time," Mr. Kuhn said, "consumers can now program their own video concerts, something they can't do with video cassette recorders. This ability to program music discs could very well impact on the way music lovers enjoy their favorite songs and performers at home."

Dr. D. Joseph Donahue, Vice President and General Manager, RCA Consumer Electronics Division, said the new Random Access player also provides an on-screen display of informational graphics to assist the viewer during the programming process. The player can be programmed to play a segment of any disc repeatedly or in the case of a banded disc, up to five bands in any desired sequence. With the SJT400's Memory Start function, any point on a disc can be indexed, allowing the viewer to return to that point at any time.

RCA's line of VideoDisc players now includes five models, two monaural units and three stereo players. Optional retail prices of the new line begin below $300. Dr. Donahue noted that each of the models now features electronic function controls and fully automatic operation "A new low-profile vertical front design allows more practical usage as a component in a home video system," he said.

With specially produced discs, the SJT400 can find and display a single still "page" of video for close study. "The new player will enable the viewer to use his home television set to enjoy a wide range of subjects, play interactive games and learn a variety of do-it-yourself skills," Mr. Kuhn said.

"We are now on the leading edge of a new dimension in video programming and our plan is to continually add new programs -- banded music discs, children's programs and interactive games -- for the new player," Mr. Kuhn said.

The SJT400's remote control hand unit transmits all user commands to the player including visual search, high speed scan (120 times normal speed), pause, reject, audio track selection, play and TV/disc. The latter function allows the user to switch back and forth between disc play and regular TV programming.

In addition, Dr. Donahue said, the SJT400 can also be operated by RCA's new Digital Command Center, an advanced remote control that can operate a TV, VCR and video disc player from one control unit. The Command Center is included with all new RCA ColorTrak 2000 and Video Monitors.

The first two interactive discs, both of which will be available in September, are "A Week at the Races," and "Many Roads to Murder," a mystery story disc.

"A Week at the Races" comes complete with play money and other game pieces. Hosted by internationally famous jockey Willie Shoemaker, the video game is an exciting combination of actual horse races and viewer participation. All the races are arranged and banded to provide different possible winners so the participants never know which horse is going to win.

"Many Roads to Murder" weaves together 16 different mystery scenarios from one basic premise and is great for parties or for a concentrated test of sleuthing for two or more players. Each story path has its own puzzling solution. Participants are challenged to match skills with detective Stew Cavanaugh as he hunts murderer, motive and method -- different for each game.


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