MCA Disco-Vision, in late 1975, finally standardized on what characteristics the platform would have. Much had changed from the press announcement by Kent Broadbent made in April 1974 - and Philips contributions were now an integral part of the system. As work progressed on the system, engineers believed (as engineers often do) that they were ready to begin production runs of discs. To that end, the pressing facility already in place in the Torrance, California labs was utilized to produce test discs. At this stage, it was still believed that a single sided disc would be the final delivery method, with the Philips requirement that the disc be rigid, rather than the more floppy based product demonstrated earlier. Late in 1976 and in early 1977, the facility began producing test discs - mainly to fulfill a number of goals:

  1. Demonstrate the fact that DiscoVision was capable of producing actual discs and the product was ready to begin consumer replication.
  2. Provide actual products for MCA executives to show off the technology.
  3. Provide products for Philips to use in the testing and calibration of players.
These discs were usually produced from video tape transfers of the film and did not represent the actual finished product. In some cases, High Plains Drifter for example, the actual TV edit of the film was used. Titles known to have been mastered and pressed are listed on the left. This was the first time any programing was complete on the optical video disc system. These test discs represented the very first time that a feature film had ever been made available in its entirety on a consumer bound product.

Each disc is a single unbonded disc with a coating on the non-playable side to avoid confusion when loading the disc. Even at this early stage in DiscoVision's life, the discs produced were already designed to be read by a laser beam underneath the rotating disc - as is evidenced by the placement of the labels on the discs. Defect rates during this period were reportedly quite high - Some estimates place the defect rate as high as 95%. Other than the typical DiscoVision speckling, the thickness of the discs caused surface imbalances at the end of the sides which resulted in tracking problems. The cure for the disc wobble came in the form of bonding two discs together. This would not only give the disc added rigidity, but would help to further protect the recording surface.

These test discs are filly compatible with all LaserDisc players which have been produced for the consumer and industrial markets. Due to the overall thickness however, some players cannot clamp the discs correctly. But even that can be overcome.

The list presented here on the left is a partial listing of titles known to be pressed as part of this test phase. There is no way of knowing a complete listing of titles from this period - those listed here are known to exist.

A few die-hard collectors have samples of discs from this period. Rarity or value is pointless to speculate on since these were never discs which were readily available. Most have been obtained from engineers who worked directly in the research facility in Torrence.

Updated: November 21, 2016
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