View Full Version : "Why" do we still collect LDs?

01-10-2010, 06:16 PM
In another thread, PAFF asked why would anyone start collecting LD in this day and age of high-def digital displays, Blu-Ray disc, and on demand video downloads. I thought that this would make a great topic! This won't be entirely horror related, but since more than half of my LD/DVD/Blu collection is derived of horror films, I associate the two in my mind.
So, new collectors, why have you decided to start collecting. And veterans, why do you still collect?
I am not a "new" LD collector persay, but I definitely began collecting LD after the height of its popularity and I can share my reasons.
I am in my late-20s and have had a strong interest in Home Theater since my early teens but have, of course, only had the funds to pursue that passion since I became an adult and, more so, since I complete college, married, secured a good career, blah blah, etc, etc. I remember being fascinated by LD in the days before DVD, long before I could afford an LD player of any sort. However, very shortly after DVD arrived on the scene, my LD fascination dissolved and, within the first 2 years of the format, I had begun to build my DVD collection.
As I built my collection, pieced together my entertainment system, & had dreams of McIntosh component systems dance through my head, I began to research home theater more and more on the internet. For me, at least, this lead to a fascination with the history of the home theater- particularly as it first emerged, at least as we know it, in the 80s and early 90s.
I decided that I would love to know what my Home Theater experience would be like had I been born a generation earlier and developed my obsession in the 80s instead.
Laserdisc can give us a little taste of that- and frankly, it doesn't leave a bad flavor in your mouth. It may have been a more expensive prospect at that time, but if you, in the late 80s, could afford a BarCo CRT projector, a good line-doubler (or quadrupler), one of the early Pioneer double-sided LD players, and a good receiver/speaker set up, your home theater experience would not have been all that inferior to your experience in the DVD-age.
Many people will cite cover art or other reasons, but my rationalization is sort of reverse nostaligia- I was born too late and missed out on being a home theater trailblazer, and LD is one way for me to romanticize about how great it must have been! :)

01-10-2010, 08:31 PM
thats kind of cool. actually kind of makes me interested in picking up an LD player. or maybe an HDDVD player. maybe later, when i've got a bit more cash.

01-10-2010, 08:34 PM
I don't think many are still buying these days. I think Paff is done.

I do still buy here and there, in particular from the last few years of the format's life. I can't really tell you why I still buy, but I do. My friend gives me so much shit about it and I can't really defend it. Nostalgia, I guess.

01-10-2010, 08:43 PM
Yeah, about all I look for nowadays is Hong Kong discs, 'cause they look about the same on my HDTV as they did on my SD - mediocre but watchable. Plus, a lot of them are hard to find on DVD, and many of the DVD releases of them are non-anamorphic. So the Lasers are still pretty comparable.

But my laser-crazy days are long gone.

01-10-2010, 08:46 PM
thats kind of cool. actually kind of makes me interested in picking up an LD player. or maybe an HDDVD player. maybe later, when i've got a bit more cash.

Sorry to go off topic, but since you brought it up, if you got a Xbox 360, I say go for the HDDVD add-on. It's relatively cheap and there are still titles on the format that are exclusive (and may be so for quite some time). Plus discs are dirt cheap for the most part. There are also some instances where the HDDVD is better than it's blu counterpart.

01-10-2010, 09:02 PM
HD-DVD is in fact yummy and a lot more justifiable than laserdisc. Man, I love watching The Game - one of my favorite flicks - in HD. Of course, I also love my Criterion laserdisc of The Game.

01-10-2010, 09:25 PM
They no longer make HDDVD players, so you better hope it never breaks or you will still can get it on ebay. Laserdisc players are still on ebay but it was around a lot longer than HDDVD. I really do not understand why anyone will want to get a dead format, but I guess some people still want 8-Track and Beta tapes.

01-11-2010, 02:34 AM
I have a couple of Romero related foreign laserdiscs that I will keep my eye out for until I acquire them, but that is about it in regards to my potential laserdisc purchasing. I collect Romero stuff.

I also got into laser for DTS discs. I have acquired as many as I care to at this point. The new Blu-ray audio formats have around 10x the bitstream of 1.5MBps DTS. As soon as they release Blade and Scream Directors Cut, I may start dumping my DTS titles.

I will always keep a operational laserdisc player that can handle auto flip and DTS. I intend to keep the Romero related LDs, and a choice few others on hand forever.

My latest hobby is Super8 features and cut downs, and I have the intention of getting into 16mm as well at some point.

01-11-2010, 03:41 AM
I look at it as the best alternative for picking up some rare titles. If a movie isn't out on DVD, or certainly Blu-ray, and it doesn't look to be in the pipeline I'll go after the LD. There are some alternate cuts and extras that never were carried over.

I wouldn't by a LD just for the LD, it's all about the content.

01-11-2010, 03:44 AM
Sorry to go off topic, but since you brought it up, if you got a Xbox 360, I say go for the HDDVD add-on. It's relatively cheap and there are still titles on the format that are exclusive (and may be so for quite some time). Plus discs are dirt cheap for the most part. There are also some instances where the HDDVD is better than it's blu counterpart.

My 360 HD-DVD drive is all I have left after parting with my Toshiba HD-XA2after Warner went Blu and I saw the fall of HD-DVD on the horizon. However, I still have about 12 discs that I do not own on Blu. Several of them I think are quite good- The Frighteners Director's Cut, Dead Silence, The Departed, Pitch Black, & DarkMan- and still get thrown in from time to time.
If you have any sort of HD-DVD player, then there is nothing wrong with buying discs as they are virtually as good as Blu-Ray (many were better in their time) and can be had for as little as $1 each on Ebay- especially if purchased in bulk lots.

01-11-2010, 01:56 PM
I'm pretty much "done" buying as well, save for 1 or 2 titles a year. About all I'll go for now is a title that's unavailable on dvd/hi-def and relatively inexpensive. Exception is a title I enjoy that I may buy for only the PCM soundtrack. Probably had 1000+ titles by 2000 or so and am down to 200-250 now. It can be tough for me watching these now on a large projection screen or plasma with the imperfections showing in full force. However, they do hold a special place in my collection and I'll keep a decent few around to watch every now and then.

01-14-2010, 03:52 PM
I think I'm done as well. I haven't bought a laser in a few years now, and haven't hooked up the player in a year. I need to spin something to keep that player in shape before the belts get week and snap, then I'll be completly out of luck.
It doesn't help that I made or traded for custom dvds of many of my laser titles, esp. when those can be made anamorphic. The limits of laser do get displayed on ny HD set for sure.

01-14-2010, 06:54 PM
Yep, I pretty much stopped buying once we got a HDTV because with most disc's the combination of the pillarboxing and the bars on the top and bottom means that probably more than 50% of the screen is black which seems like such a waste. Most can't be stretched without making them look like shit either. Still though, after I first saw this thread I went and looked at the ones I had and checking out the jackets made me want to buy more. That was a big part of it for me, the jackets. A lot of the artwork on the discs I have is really cool and even if it's the same as a VHS or DVD it's still way bigger.
One other reason I started collecting was because I always used to love going over to the neighbors house to watch movies with him and everything he had was on LD. The guy had at least hundreds of them and I thought they were cool as hell for the, at the time, high-tech/futuristic looking disc and probably wanted a player since the first time I saw his! It's funny, I haven't seen that guy in a good 16 or so years but a little after getting my player I spoke with someone who had recently seen him and they asked me if I remembered his LD collection before telling me he had recently sold every last one of them on ebay to fund him going equally crazy on DVD's. Kind of ironic him moving on and me taking a step back almost at the same time (although I did have DVD long before I got my LD player!).

01-20-2010, 07:10 AM
Been collecting Laserdisc since '94 and haven't really stopped since. Yeah, I get some shit from my friends as well when it comes to this hobby. They are wowed though when they see all the cool junk that comes in the Special Edition Box Sets and when LDs look pretty decent on their LCD and Plasma TVs.

Generally though, I tend to only get LDs these days only if they are not on DVD and might not ever be (like Terror in the Aisles or It Came From Hollywood) or if they have content that aren't on DVD.

01-24-2010, 01:37 AM
well I started collecting around 2004 when I walked home from work one day and saw on the sidewalk in front of an electronic store a laserdisc player with the cord cut off. I took it home and put a new cord on it and it worked.

I only have maybe 50 titles, most from a old video store that closed up shop last year. I couldnt believe the guy was still trying to sell them. But I only get rare titles that I can't find on DVD or VHS. Some of the rare ones are "Hellhole" and "Beyond Rangoon".

But I honestly don't really buy them anymore unless I happen to come across some for $3 or less and they're titles I want

01-26-2010, 09:52 AM
I pick up lasers of the Disney vintage animated features when I run across them at thrift shops or garage sales, primarily because I collect vintage Disney and they do have full sized cover art that is usually done very well, but Disney has been notorious for bypassing many of the extras that were on the old LDs, so even though I don't have a player, I like knowing I have access to the material if I should ever want to check it out--players are relatively easily found or rentable still.

I also will pick up LD's of cult flicks or underground stuff (like early John Waters for example) if I find them cheaply enough, just because most of those had limited runs and I've usually been able to get more than my money out of them whenever I've put some up for sale.

that's it for me on LD's though....That whole end of video tech passed me by completely, I spent my 80's video money on higher end vhs players, larger tv's and surround systems (to the level they existed back then) and there were never that many dealers around my city selling laserdiscs of the films I would have been interested in collecting...I did go nuts buying vhs though.

Uncle Jay
03-01-2010, 06:53 PM
Well, let me chime in here, as I have well-over 700 laserdiscs.

I first bought my Laserdisc Player on January 1, 1993, after drooling over one for 3 years. I was 19 years-old, didn't have much money as I was paying for school and such, off of a crappy retail job paycheck. So I saved up for it over the course of a year. I paid $700 bucks for a PIONEER CLD-D501 model, one of the first units to offer "dual side play" so you didn't have to get up and flip them.

I started my movie collecting by way of VHS in 1987. But around 1990, Laserdiscs was starting to make a little stink, and I was dying to snag one. Back then, VHS was king and 99% of the new release movies weren't "priced to own"; they were priced at what they called "rental market price"...usually $99.95. But the laserdiscs weren't rental market priced because there wasn't really any rental market for them. Sure, some places did rent them out, but for the most part, LD's were priced to own, because they were the ideal format for the enthusiasts with home theaters. So part of the charm, was getting new releases for $35 bucks rather than $100!! Laserdiscs were also the first format where you could see the films in Letterbox/Widescreen. So, I was in my glory back then.

Of course, 3 1/2 years later, DVD came into our midst and took off by storm! The rest is video history.

But, the reason why I still collect laserdiscs is because, well I'm a movie collector. I love having a movie collection on an obsolete format. It's a severe sense of nostalgia, but what nostalgia it is. The cover/sleeve art is still not matched! Most of the time it matched the VHS art which matched the original poster art, but when it didn't match, at least the art was cool and creative. Some of the Special Edition Box sets gave you so much cool stuff...books, collectibles, cds, pamphleted inserts...I mean they went all out on some of those sets. (Yeah, DVD and Blu-ray are doing it too, but on a much smaller scale).

Another reason, is that MANY movies that reached VHS and Laserdisc have not yet reached DVD (or Blu-ray) for that matter. Some may never see a popular formatted release in our lifetime!

They are just pretty damn cool overall, especially if you are an enthusiast like I am.

My original player died and I went out and bought a slightly used PIONEER ELITE DVL-91 DVD/LASERDISC combo player back in November 2008. I love it immensely.


DVD Connoisseur
03-02-2010, 07:23 PM
Reading through these posts has been quite therapeutic. I purchased my LD player when the technology was cutting edge and have a collection of around 100 titles. Many's the time I've been kept awake with thoughts of how much I spent in those halcyon days. But, I guess, there were some damn fine editions released and the sleeves can be works of art. I'm going to hang on to my LDs and probably have the covers signed by relevant actors and directors, should the opportunity arise.

May stick the LD player in the attic. It just sits in the corner, glowing.

03-02-2010, 07:28 PM
I"m all about the old cover art. Not to mention getting the films that have yet to be released on a better format.

03-02-2010, 08:53 PM
Yeah, I'm definitely a sucker for the big, pretty covers.