First shown in prototype form in 1976, the Model 8000 was the first consumer videodisc player sold in the U.S. Philips/Magnavox
had originally intended to produce the players entirely in America, but delays in building and debugging the production line
in Knoxville, TN meant that for the first year the players were built overseas. Players/parts, were built in Holland and then
sent, in kit-form, to the US to be assembled and aligned. No 'production line' was used in the US. Instead, one person
had the responsibility to build a player, align it and then test it before shipment. Of course, this was very expensive and
when added to the high cost of the player itself (the laser assembly alone cost over $300) meant that a finished player
cost Philips around $1200 each to produce. Once a player was built, it had to then be modified to play CLV Extended Play discs...
MCA had assured Philips that CLV discs would be available quickly after the launch. This, of course, didn't happen. Amazingly,
Philips "official" CLV alignment test disc was the rare CLV "Animal House" pressing! While the players met Philips disc specs
for playback, they didn't meet the specifications of the discs that MCA was producing in CA. MCA never told Philips this,
so, for the first year, the players Philips was producing were not fully compatible with the discs MCA was making. Adding
to thier troubles was the fact that the design of the 8000 was basically a mass-market "prototype" and had all the problems
one would expect from a pilot-production prototype product. This required Philips to do frequent design changes and re-engineering
to the basic player - an entirely new optical system, new motors, new circuits, etc... in fact, for the first few months of
1979, the 8000 was requiring over 30 design changes per month! It wasn't until early 1980, with the expansion of
the test markets, that Philips finally produced the VH-8000, a player that was 100% made in the USA and would work with the
majority of titles MCA was putting out. By this time, Pioneer was releasing thier VP-1000, which had better performance than
the VH-8000 and better features too, requiring Philips to quickly update the VH-8000 again and add a wireless remote
control. Thus, the 8005 was born.
|Model 8000 Optical Assembly
The 8000's original optical assembly used a "Wallaston Prism" (2) which bent the returning beam
upwards so that it could be seperated from the main beam and directed towards the photodiodes. It was very sensitive to misalignment
- players would leave Magnavox in perfect condition only to arrive at the dealers already out of alignment, causing skipping,
sticking and refusal to play discs.