Do you remember the RCA Capacitance Electronic Disc?

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The history of media storage is a journey of multiple formats and interesting ideas. From the early days of film to the modern day solid state drive media storage has come in many different forms. Some of these we are very familiar with while others, not so much. For example. Do you remember the RCA Capacitance Electronic Disc? Don’t be too surprised you’ve never heard of the Capacitance Electronic Disc because I hadn’t either until recently.

The Capacitance Electronic Disc, or CED, was a media storage method RCA had been working on since the 60’s.  The company poured millions of dollars into the project betting that it would be the next big thing in media storage, primarily movies. When RCA finally brought CEDs to market in the early 80’s it didn’t go over so well seeing that VHS and Beta were already doing battle for users living rooms. Check out Techmoan’s comprehensive look at the Capacitance Electronic Disc in the video below. It’s about a half hour long but well worth the watch and also reveals a few other media formats you may have never heard of.

First conceived in 1964, the CED system was widely seen as a technological success which was able to increase the density of a long-playing record by two orders of magnitude. Despite this achievement, the CED system fell victim to poor planning, conflicts within RCA, and technical difficulties that stalled production of the system for 17 years until 1981, by which time it was already made obsolete by laser videodisc (DiscoVision, a.k.a. LaserVision and LaserDisc) as well as Betamax and VHS videocassette formats.

Sales for the system were nowhere near projected estimates. In 1984, (before it was absorbed by General Electric), RCA discontinued player production while discontinuing software production in 1986, losing an estimated $600 million in the process. RCA had initially intended to release the SKT425 CED player with their high-end Dimensia system in 1984 but canceled CED player production just prior to the release of the Dimensia system. ~Wikipedia~


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