Report from Japan
Laser Videodisc Breakthrough in Sight
A Pioneer spokesman has indicated recently that the firm is currently planning to introduce a low-end optical disc player before the end of 1981 in the U.S., designed to sell in the $600 range. It will naturally have fewer features than the $750 VP-1000, but should retain at least the freeze-frame, search and stereo capability. [Introduced as the Pioneer LD-660. -ed] One significant development not yet achieved by any Japanese firm is the solid-state laser, which could significantly reduce the cost of optical disc players down to the level of current CED players (under $500). Although there has been a great deal of interest in videodiscs in Japan, none are currently available due to the government's insistence that all domestic manufacturers agree on a single standard before they will allow them to sell videodiscs and players in that country - which, considering the current three-way battle shaping up on this side of the world, doesn't sound like such a bad idea. Thus far, most Japanese manufacturers appear to be leaning toward JVC's VHD standard, mainly because it was designed and developed in their country.