Help for a laserdisc newbie

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ike, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    After much fretting, I've decided to get a laserdisc player. I looked at the helpful Laserdisc FAQ that's archived, but I still have a question or two.
    First, if I can't look at the player , how can I tell if it has the ability to do Dolby Digital? Also, if it's not hooked up to a Dolby Digital receiver, will it downconvert like DVD?
    Also, I'm looking at an extremely low end player to dip my toes in the water. I also want something that can just be plugged and played. Doesn't matter if it's S-video or A/V cables. I read the FAQ talking about Demodulaters and stuff, and I don't want to get a player that needs parts before I play it.
    Finally, what about the Pioneer CLD-S104? What players should I absolutely avoid?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    quote: First, if I can't look at the player , how can I tell if it has the ability to do Dolby Digital? [/quote] Then you'll need to check specs for that particular model. If it has an RF Out, then it can do DD. Usually there's someone here who's familiar with any player made in the last 5-6 years.
    quote: Also, if it's not hooked up to a Dolby Digital receiver, will it downconvert like DVD?[/quote] No. If you can't do DD, then you'll play the PCM stereo surround tracks.
    quote: I read the FAQ talking about Demodulaters and stuff, and I don't want to get a player that needs parts before I play it.[/quote] If you want DD, you'll need a demodulator. The only players I know of that come with built-in demodulators have been modified in the aftermarket. You're unlikely to find one for sale. That doesn't mean you can't play discs without it; it must means you can't play DD.
    All you should need are a video cable (either composite or S-Video will do, depending on what the player supports) and L&R analogue cables.
    quote: Finally, what about the Pioneer CLD-S104? [/quote] Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that model only plays single sides. Believe me, you want something that can play both sides without having to flip the disc.
    M.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on August 20, 2001 at 04:47 PM]
     
  3. Michael Johnston

    Michael Johnston Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The question is why are you getting into LD? I would say that just about anything available in AC-3 on LD is also on DVD with very few exceptions. AC-3 is a major investment for LD, and you should know that ProLogic from PCM sounds great, even with a player with no digital out.
    Do you want to watch the original Star Wars THX non- Special Editions? Pick up a few bargain titles? Then the CLD-S104 is a good player for you. It's single side, so you'll have to flip the movie every 50 minutes or hour, but for justa few movies it will be fine. The picture, though not DVD quality, will be worlds above VHS. The sound, even through the player's analog outs, will be better than VHS and even better than most prologic on DVD since the full CD quality uncompressed PCM is used.
    The 104 is a solid bargain player that I wouldn't hesitate to receommend for someone looking to pick up Star Wars, Indnana Jones movies, or the occasional Disney flick. I myself have a 304 as a backup player. The 304 is basically a 104 with Karaoke and AC-3 out. The quality is fine and dandy. Since LD is a composite video source the best connection to a modern TV will be using the composite cable, so S-Video is irrelevant (it will almost always look worse than composite on LD players such equipped).
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on August 20, 2001 at 05:20 PM]
     
  5. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    DD is really not that important to me, when it comes down to it. I'm mainly getting into LD for the Criterion editions not on DVD: Pulp Fiction, 2001, Raging Bull, Crash, Boogie Nights, Taxi Driver, Dr. Strangelove, English Patient, etc. This is the main reason, not to mention I'd like to own one just to own one. I'm sure you tech heads understand that.
    I don't care about flipping it (since I'm mainly getting it for the collectibility and supplements, because I own DVD's of all the above titles but 2).
    Thanks for helping me understand this.
     
  6. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I have an S104 and am pretty happy with it considering what it cost. If I remember right in early '95 I paid about $300 for it. If you're buying it used (I assume that's the only way to get it) it should be fairly cheap. Also, this one can be easily modded to handle AC-3. Go here http://rrr.2y.net/diy/index.html to read how my friend Randy modified mine. It took a few bucks in parts, a little electronics knowledge, ability to solder and about a half an hour. Then all you'll need is a demodulator and you can enjoy AC-3 sound. The Star Wars SE sounds phenomonal.
    Another note, don't worry too much about S-Video. LD is a composite format, so either in the player or the TV it will have to be converted to a component signal. If you got a good TV, you probably got a good comb filter that will handle this better than all but the high end players. So even if the player had S-Video, you'd want to use the composite if you're TV handles it better.
     
  7. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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