An Interview With Mr. DiscoVision
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DiscoVision Interview


THE VIDEOPHILE #18, March/April 1979

Early this year, John Findlater, President of MCA's DiscoVision division, consented to a three hour in-depth interview with THE VIDEOPHILE on his firm's revolutionary home entertainment product, the MCA/Phillips laser video disc system. We talked to Mr. Findlater in his large office on the 14th floor of the tall black building that serves as MCA's corporate headquarters on the Universal lot near North Hollywood, a building noted for its many appearances in Universal films (in The Name of the Game, it starred each week as "Howard Publications") as well as the fact that its elevators display the MCA logo in the floor-grill normally reserved for the more mundane "Otis" or "U. S. Elevator." A Iong-time senior MCA executive, Findlater assumed his current position over 10 years ago simultaneously with the formation of the research project that perfected the optical video disc, a concept that has all the promise of being the home video marvel of the age.

As far as competition with consumer videotape goes, MCA president Sid Sheinberg is not concerned. While he doesn't see his video disc and other firms' tape systems as being "apples and oranges," he does "certainly believe it's peaches and nectarines," according to an article in the January issue of Los Angeles magazine. At the same time, Sheinberg has said he could not estimate when the DiscoVision operation would turn profitable, because there are too many variables. He did say that "every dollar that can be expended is being expended, so the fact that it's being run at a loss should not hurt anyone, if this system does not eventuate."

Whatever happens in the future, one thing is certain: MCA believes in Findlater and his video disc all the way, enough to back what was once only a gleam in his eye with the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to bring DiscoVision to the highly developed state it's reached today. And the most exciting thing about the entire concept is that it's no longer just a mere rumor, a press release, or a story in a five-year-old issue of Popular Science. It exists, it works, and you can even buy one today... if you're living in Atlanta or Seattle, anyway.

Despite some initial manufacturing difficulties, mostly centering around producing the players in large quantities, MCA's Discovision appears to be a qualified success, at least in its test market. And in the industrial/education area, Findlater and the head of his Industrial Marketing department, Archie Purvis, are convinced that the disc has the potential to become as big a revolution as it will be in the home providing features, accessibility and storage unequalled by any competing method-printing, slides, films or tapes-all of which can be easily transferred to disc as part of a media resource system that was only dreamed of a few years ago.

Findlater appears as an extremely warm, knowledgeable and intelligent 50-ish executive who has a kind of infectuous exuberance over his technological "child" that would rub off on even the most unenlightened spectator. His enthusiasm is remarkable, considering the near-monumental feats he's had to accomplish: selling Universal on the idea of marketing their feature films and TV shows on discs; coming up with a working system using a hitherto untried device (a low-powered industrial laser) for playing the discs; and then finding an electronics firm willing to cooperate on the marketing and manufacture of the players themselves, leaving MCA to concentrate on the area they know best-entertainment programming.

We asked Mr Findlater about how his project began ten years ago.

TV: You've been with this project over five or six years, right? We've been following it for a long time. We remember the MCA DiscoVision brochure from 1973 that said, "When our player comes out this fall, you'll be able to buy all of these Universal feature films on disc... "And now it's finally here. What was the main reason for the delay in making the video disc a marketing reality?

FINDLATER: I'll give you a little historical background that might be enlightening. We started this thing the latter part of 1969. At that point it was only a gleam in somebody's eye. First, we have a lot of programming here. It goes through a sequence. It goes through first run, then second run in theaters, then first and second runs on television, then syndicated, etc., and maybe on cable. We said, "Well, we have a non-theatrical division," which was the last in the line, where you put it on 16mm and you rented it... which was a fairly profitable operation. The point is that [videotape] rental was not a very feasible operation because people didn't want to go in, pick it up and turn it back in, so we said "if we could just put this on something and sell it outright." Well, the only thing available then was tape and when we found out what it would cost to put a 2-hour movie on ..... . forget it! We were up to $75! Then we said, "How can we get this cost down?" As you know, we were already in the phonograph business and wanted to put sight and sound on a disc. At that point, there was a company, Telefunken in Germany, trying it with a typical needle in a groove.

TV: Right they had 10 minutes a side.

FINDLATER: Well, they started out with 5 minutes and they were supposed to have 10. Actually, the most I ever saw was 7 minutes. I don't think they ever got up to 10. The problem is that whenever you have a needle in a groove, you have excess space. If you want an hour with this method, you'll need a disc the size of this room. So it had to be condensed. And you couldn't touch their disc, it wasn't feasible merchandise. You can't say to someone, "Buy this product-but don't touch it!" Plus, if you had a movie, you had to change it 15 times with Telefunken's system.

TV: You can forget that.

FINDLATER: So, we bypassed that. There was another disc system called "capacitance" which you also couldn't touch. [This system is currently being used by RCA and JVC with their respective video disc units.Ed.] The bottom line is that lasers were coming into their own then, and we did some experimenting with them and were delighted. As a result, in December of 1972 we had our first feasibility demonstration. At that time we were playing discs of 7 or 8 minutes to show how it worked. We set up a time-frame-a "milestone of events," as engineers call it and we met up with the Phillips people. They were thinking along the same lines, so they came to us and said "Hey, you have the technology and the programming and everything, but we have the manufacturing expertise, so why do you want to spend millions setting up a manufacturing plant? Why don't you supply the technology and the programming and we'll do the physical work?" It was sort of a synergistic thing: their two and our two made five. We had no technical information to set up a large manufacturing plant.

TV: We know that was your plan at the beginning. We have an early brochure that shows an MCA-DiscoVision branded video disc player.

FINDLATER: Yes, this was the demonstration we had in 1972 and you can see what the player looked like then.

TV: Right-it was the version with the walnut trim.

FINDLATER: When we entered into that joint venture, the press kept saying, "When are you going to do it? When are you going to do it?" So we set up the production and, barring Murphy's Law and Acts of God - and it never fails that there will be a shortage of plastic, etc.-we figured that we would enter in December, 1977. So we announced that with some trepidation. The press wants you to be clairvoyant, so to accommodate them, we picked that date. That was for a 30 minute play time, one side only. However, the engineers came up with a new approach whereby we would get 30 minutes on each side. That was finally developed, demonstrated, and went through all the testing and so forth. When that happened, we said, "Jesus, isn't it better that we come out with an hour instead of a half hour?" Well, yes, but the engineers said that we had to modify the player.

TV: We understand that with the normal play disc (30 minutes a side) you have a variety of options -slow motion, fast motion, freeze-frame, etc., but this is not possible with the one-hour a side Extended Play discs.

FINDLATER: With Extended Play you can't freeze-frame, but you can go fast-forward, reverse and all that. [Mr. Findlater mentioned a few days later that, if demand warrants it, Universal Studios will make all their feature films available on extended play discs. -Ed.]

TV: Why can't you still-frame? Is the recording too dense?

FINDLATER: Not only that, ... but you're getting too technical and I stay away from the technical side. I don't even know how the teiephone works, let alone this kind of thing.

TV: Actually, our telephone doesn't work. (laughter)

FINDLATER: Yeah. Anyway, the point is that we had to make a decision, and we had said we could come out in December. What the hell, let's delay it and come out with something better. It was better to come out with both sides. Then they had to make another adjustment. The decision was, "Should we wait a year to have these advantages?"

TV: The whole reason for the delay, then, was your desire to perfect it.

FINDLATER: No, what we had was perfected. It's like an automobile or anything else. We have a model here that will go 50 mph, but if you'll just wait three months we'll have one that goes 80 mph.

TV: We agree - why confuse the poor consumer with different improved models? Just release the best rather than make a premature release. That's what Sony did with the original SL-7200 Betamax-releasing it with very little advance publicity.

FINDLATER But this makes it bad with the press because they say that you have problems. Present company excepted, but with the press good news is no news. If the place burns down they're out there quick. If you want to delay it, they're sure you have problems, they like to hype. There weren't any problems; we just decided to wait.

TV: We think it was a much better decision on your part. What were the developmental problems with using a disc on two sides? Was the light going through the disc?

FINDLATER: No, the light is a reflective system. The light goes down and reflects off the disc. We had thought of putting the programming on both sides. There was no problem with doing it this way, but there were several ways of doing it and our engineers would say, "Do you want to do it this way or that way?"

TV: But the player can't read from both sides, so you do have to turn the disc over. Once an hour we can live with. Could a system be designed so that the disc wouldn't have to be turned over?

FINDLATER: Yes, we could've done that too, but if you pay attention to engineers it'll be next year. You have to stop sometime.

TV: One of the Magnavox people stated that they were tired of waiting for all of the promises that had been made, and that December '78 would be it. We're glad they made it.

FINDLATER: If I had it to do over again, starting from scratch, I wouldn't announce anything to anybody at any time. I would say, "I'll tell you two months before it's released to the stores." That way if it took you a little longer to develop something, you wouldn't have to deal with comments from reporters that you had promised something, and what was the problem.

TV: It's strange that you consider the press critical because when you talk with John Doe on the street, he's not that upset. We do remember seeing some bad press in Videoplayer magazine about five vears ago; they had some nasty things to say about the DiscoVision project.

FINDLATER: That guy (the editor of Videoplayer] came in here, and he knew less about it than a 10-year-old kid on the street. That's what I call irresponsible journalism. People can always call me up and ask me, but he put out an evaluation of various systems and said that "MCA will probably do it because they're making a joint venture with General Electric." I never talked to General Electric! And he said, "Isn't it strange, because General Electric doesn't make electronic products?" So I went down to some GE stores and got brochures on their electronic products, put it in an envelope and said to him that I told GE that they didn't have any electronic products. They clarified for me that they indeed did.

TV:Getting back to the marketing of the player, I know several of the department store people said that if Magnavox had been able to supply them with thousands of players, they could have easily sold them all. Why were so few units available before Christmas?

FINDLATER: You know that with any new product, whether it be a safety pin or paper clip, when you first come oft the assembly line you don't make a million a day. So we took the first units that came off and since then we've delivered 75 and will of course deliver more. At that particular time, a few went out because we wanted to see what people wanted in terms of programming, but that didn't work out.

TV: Right, all the discs sold out, too! We've heard rumors that there were some manufacturing difficulties with the players and that these particular units sold in Atlanta were "hand-made" and had hours of testing on them to insure that they would not fail.

FINDLATER: No, they were standard production models. Of course, they were tested, but all products are tested and go through quality control.

TV: We heard a rumor that one store got a phone call from a man purporting to be from Saudi Arabia who, when told he couldn't buy a disc machine at any price because the store was out of them, threatened to buy the store in order to get one. We also know about the young man who camped out in front of the store all night in order to be the first inside and insure his chance of getting a player.

FINDLATER: I got down there [to Rich's in Atlanta] at about 9:00 A.M.; they opened at 10:00. By 5:30 A.M. there were about 70 people all lined up. When they opened the doors, Jesus, I thought I was going to be trampled. They just grabbed everything.

TV: They basically bought out everything?

FINDLATER: Yes. In ten minutes it was all gone. I talked to one guy there who grabbed 15 shows and wrote out a check for $300. I introduced myself and asked him why he did that. He said he didn't even know what he had bought.

TV: Will we see the video disc in New York and Los Angeles by this summer?

FINDLATER: I dont know. I have to work with Magnavox on that because of what they call the "national roll-out."

TV: Do you know why Atlanta was chosen?

FINDLATER: Yes-because of the demographics. [I notice that it's also a fairly short haul on the Interstate from the assembly plant at Greeneville, Tennessee.-Ed.]

TV: We had heard that you passed a disc around six audiences of engineers and it played fine after 6,000 hands had fondled it. Is there a plastic coating on the disc?

FINDLATER: Yes, it's [over] an aluminized coating, for reflection. You can touch it. It doesn't make any difference.

TV: It seems to have lines radiating out from the center -aImost like hundreds of little squares.

FINDLATER: They're not lines; they're really little pits.

TV: We were also thinking of the RCA system, which has disastrous results with any fingerprints on the disc.

FINDLATER: You know how RCA gets around that? They put their discs in a cassette, or "caddy" which has what you call a "slot-load". A little arm comes out and pulls the disc into the machine.

TV: We understand that the RCA discs themselves are very complicated, with a thin layer of oil through which the stylus glides. We haven't seen it, but we understand from several reports that it's not quite the equal of your firm's system. For the record, do you want to say anything about the RCA system? We're sure you've seen it.

FINDLATER: They've got a good machine, the picture is good. It's a difference in philosophy. We said to ourselves, "What the hell, if we're going to come into the market in the 70's with a new product we might as well use the technology of the 80's and not the 60's. But theirs is a different philosophy. They said, "In our view, we just want something simple that you put on, and it plays. We don't want to be like the hi-fi field where you have this knob for this and this knob for that." Well, if you go into a hi-fi store you'll find that the customers do want it and they pay for it.

TV: Absolutely. Speaking as video consumers, we want slow-motion, still-frame and so on.

FINDLATER: But RCA said "that costs more." It does cost more. But I went down to Federated Electronics [a large Los Angeles stereo chain-store]. I was buying some tape there and I saw all of this stuff; here was a tuner-amplifier for $1200. I said to the guy, "How many of these do you sell a week?" I told him who I was and he introduced me to the manager. He said, "We sold around 18 last week." I asked who paid that much money and he said that it was the mailman and other normal-income people. If you want to analogize this with hi-fi, you know that people will pay for features.

TV: Do you think there is a possibility RCA will eventually swallow its corporate pride and adopt your system?

FINDLATER: There are many factors, and I'd rather not go into them. When RCA came out with the 7-inch 45 RPM disc, that was the way to go. They said "it was the standard." Where are those players today? They're probably in the Smithsonian.

TV: On the idea of "deluxe models," we've heard a great deal about the industrial DiscoVision player. This is the version that's already been shipped to several government agencies, right? They chose your disc over several competing tape systems.

FINDLATER: Yes. Our experience has been that the length of playing time is an irrelevant factor because in industrial use most people use the stop and go and freeze-frame and slow-motion. For example, an art museum in New York is using it to store 54,000 pictures on one disc. If you look at each of those pictures five seconds it will take you five days, so the 30 minutes isn't relevant. Of course, it's different in the home model.

TV: Can the industrial unit play the regular discs for the consumer player as well as the Extended Play [one hour a side] discs?

FINDLATER: Oh, yeah, sure.

TV: We wonder if some affluent home users would rather buy the industrial model?

FINDLATER: I'm sure there are some for whom it's not price-sensitive.

TV: We understand that you're going to adjust the price of the unit for some organizations and individuals depending upon how many they wanted.

FINDLATER: Yes, I think it is a function of volume. It's like the disc here. It's very analagous to book publishing. If you've got a book you want published and you go into Random House and you say you want one. And they say, $40,000," and you say, "WHAT?" We have a new development going now that was demonstrated the other day. For those users in the industrial area that just want a few copies, instead of making a master and a replica, you record directly on the plastic itself-it's like a Polaroid. Then you can take it off and play it. Now that's just for four or five copies and where it won't get hard usage. With respect to people who need volume, we go to the other method because it's cheaper... we press them.

TV: What's the standard cost to replicate a disc like Jaws? That is, your manufacturing cost?

FINDLATER: I think that is a proprietary thing that we don't want to get into. Before you make your first copy, we set up a master to take a glass plate, cover it over with metal and press it. The cost is pretty much standard to press as a record. Then you have variables: do they want a thousand? What's the original format-film? Tape? [Findlater did mention that in large quantities, the price is analagous to the cost of standard audio disc pressing, under $1.00 a disc. After the costs of packaging, promotion, and royalties are taken care of, the final profit margin is similar to that in the audio record industry-roughly 30% of retail.-Ed.]

TV: Our main concern is what would it cost to produce a program for a very narrow market? What it comes down to is that it appears to be very, very reasonable.

FINDLATER: Oh, yes. I think one of the great advantages is that we can accommodate what I call a "disenfranchised group." You can't get Shakespeare, you can't get, oh, what I call the "Sunday Ghetto" on TV. The problem is what these people want they can't get, because when they go to the networks the networks say "How many millions will watch?" And you don't have millions. What I'm talking about is just thousands.

TV: How many video discs would have to be sold to be considered a hit?

FINDLATER: I guess you could analogize it to the record market.

TV: We're predicting that someday all pop music will be released simultaneously on video and audio disc; the sound quality would be great. And speaking of sound quality, many of our readers are into audio and, as audiophiles, spend a lot of money on records that are very defective these days. Do you know of any problems that can occur with your video discs, like warpage?

FINDLATER: Look, we can't make it idiot-proof. Kids might get it and jump on it. It's like any piece of electronic equipment-you can eIectrocute yourself if you work at it. You have to treat it like an electronic device.

TV: We're talking about manufacturing defects in the video disc itself. Would you say that there are fewer inherent manufacturing defects in the video disc than there are in conventional audio discs?

FINDLATER: I never analyzed it. We have quality control, of course. I would have to talk to our quality control department. MCA Records is involved and I would have to ask them to compare.

TV: Will we be able to use a floppy-type disc on the MCA system? We had heard that throwaway discs could be printed on a printing press. It'd be inexpensive enough for magazines to send out a video disc instead of the occasional audio disc they now enclose.

FINDLATER: We can do it on a printing press, all right. Here it is [displaying one]. It can be put into the magazine with a perforated page. Like Time magazine, if they had a story about a flood, you could see it and the next week you could put it in a canary's cage, just like a newspaper.

TV: No doubt about it-this is the future. What is the lifetime of this flexible disc? Would these last as long as the other discs?

FINDLATER: No, because obviously if you put a hard crease in it you will have trouble, but the quality is just as good.

TV: So the information is optical; that's why it can be printed.

FINDLATER: People put out a product and when the customer takes it home he wants to use it right now. Nobody reads the instructions. They say, "Please read the instructions," and nobody does. But now what they want to do is put a disc in there and it will show the customer how the device works. Psychologically, people think reading is dull.

TV: We know the Magnavision player is selling for $695, a bargain, considering all it's able to do. What will the more complex industrial unit go for?

FINDLATER: The home unit is for home consumer use. It's not going to be on 24 hours a day. It's not going to get knocked around. It's not in the commercial marketplace. It is not in the school, and it's not particularly sophisticated. The industrial model interfaces with a computer, has a microprocessor in it, is completely programmable, has a memory in it and you can interact with it. It is an intelligent machine. [The final price should be approximately $3,000.-Ed.] There are two basic purposes to the industrial machine. For example, in high-density storage and retrieval the disc is an excellent substitute for microfilm. I don't know if you know computer language but we have 60 million bits on one side of these discs. I guess that is the highest density storage I know of, with the possible exception of work being done with bubble memory devices. A government guy told me the other day that they took 200 pounds of paper and put it on less than one side of a disc-you know, textual material. That is a big problem people have - running out of space.

TV: The only thing we would question is whether people will want to read off a television screen. But perhaps that won't be a problem. We heard the rumor that you were considering a high-resolution hi-fi system, with 1000 lines of resolution.

FINDLATER: Oh yes, we have that. A company is using it now with technical material on a standard 525 line receiver, and it's not bad.

TV: This could eventually open the door for TV manufacturers to make sets with a switch that would work with NTSC in one position and high-resolution in the other. Back on the topic of programming, we know a lot of people who would spend all kinds of money to buy, for example, the Disney films for their children and family. Yet Walt Disney Productions released a statement to the effect that most of their animated features will never be released on disc, cable or broadcast TV because they want people to see them in a theater. Do you think that people will not want to see Universal features in a theater if they can get them on a disc?

FINDLATER: No, no. If you look back historically, no new technology ever knocked anything out; in fact, it helped it. Each of these fields gives you something another can't. You might say, "I can see this in my home, therefore, goodbye theaters." No way, because when you go to a theater, it's an event. People are gregarious-they sit there and the laughter is infectious and the guy takes his girl out. She wants to go out and he says, "Come to my place and I'll show you a disc." It doesn't work that way. [Rats-this could've been a great update for the "Come over to my place and look at my etchings" Iine.-Ed.] I call it an event. Scope is another thing; there's no way to reproduce that effect.

TV: Still, we think it will at least cut into the television market. You're taking something you would normally sell to the television stations and networks and selling it to the home market directly. What you're doing is bypassing the middleman.

FINDLATER: The networks will still be there They can provide something we can't. For example, if the Iranians are burning down someones house, you can see it now. We don't have immediacy. I can remember back when the Phillips [audio] cassette came out and everyone was saying I should get rid of my record player because now I could record it oft the air and not buy any more records. And you know, nobody took it off the air. I was talking to a station in New York that broadcasts only classical music. He said, "You know, about this recording oft the air-we put out a program guide that says on a certain date from 9:00-9:22 were going to have Beethoven's 5th. And nobody copies off the air. They go out and buy the record." I'm not saying that nobody does it, but it's not a mass thing. In marketing studies we have said to people, "Why do you go out and buy it when you can get this thing free?" They answer that they want to own it-they want to keep it.

TV: We can see where people will want to collect the video disc box and liner notes. We understand that your company's discs are not encoded with any kind of signal processing to prevent illegal copying by videotape systems.

FINDLATER: Some people come to me and say that they'll take Jaws and put it on a tape and they'll get it for free. I said that it was a two-hour film, so how much would your tape cost? After he thought, I said that I could sell it to him for $15.00.

TV: Well, you can count on us to be among the very first to purchase a video disc player. We have wanted to buy one for years and I have no doubt that most hard-core videophiles will rush out to buy one immediately. However, we have to point out, and we're sure that you are aware that some people might be interested in only a few of your films and the cost of the player might offset the cost of copying them onto tape. We think that this will be a problem, and frankly, we don't know the solution.

FINDLATER: I don't think anyone will go to all of that trouble to record off the disc when the tape costs more than the disc. The quality couldn't be as good, either.

TV: We know our readers are interested in the very best top-quality material they can get. Speaking for us, we have not been overly happy with most of the pre-recorded tapes we've seen so far, they just don't have the sharpness or clarity of a good off-network recording... or your DiscoVision unit. We can understand, certainly, that recording copyrighted material is arguably illegal. We agree that MCA has an understandable position with their side of the pending copyright lawsuit, but at the same time we have to understand the interests of the home video owners who are using their machines to record oft the air. We find it very interesting that your company is not suing the people who have bought Betamaxes, but rather Sony for their marketing and advertising of the machine. Can you make any statement regarding the lawsuit?

FINDLATER: I think you should talk with our lawyers about that. They can give you a statement on it. Some guy in New York told me that as a layman he went out and got a copy of the copyright law. He said, "Listen to this: 'once the work is copyrighted, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to make copies.' Now I'm no lawyer but I read English and if you're the copyright owner and you're the only one who can make copies and I've got a machine in my home and I'm making a copy, something illegal must be going on."

TV: Still, the copyright law does have a "fair use" provision-though that is a broad term.

FINDLATER: Fair use is an exception and is only for excerpts. If you've got something that's an hour and a guy tapes 58 minutes, that's not fair use. Fair use covers excerpts: you can't take the whole thing.

TV: At any rate, we're sure that many, if not most, videophiles are already clearing off a space on their shelves for a DiscoVision player right now, to go along with the rest of their home entertainment system.

FINDLATER: You know, the thing that disturbs me most about television is that you have the potential for great audio, but it's no better than the speaker in the set. It's like having a beautiful hi-fi system; you're going to demonstrate it and the guy says, "Here is the speaker we use," and it's a four-inch speaker. And I say, "Where did all my work go? I've got all this stuft, and I have to listen to it through that?" When I was in Atlanta, almost everyone I talked with said that they were going to run the disc's audio through their amplifier. In fact, they were infatuated with the stereo.

TV: In reference to stereo, how many of your discs are recorded in true stereo sound?

FINDLATER: I'll have to check, but more and more will be coming out.

TV: We understand that you can use your disc system for multiple audio channels. There are supposed to be enough bits available to have 64-track sound... or, you could have one disc that would contain, for example, all the songs the Beatles ever recorded.

FINDLATER: You can get 15 hours of mono on one side. As a matter of fact, a reporter from The Hollywood Reporter, [an industry newspaper] looked at our PCM [pulse-code modulation digital audio] disc and was very impressed with it.

TV: As far as other companies producing compatible DiscoVision players go, we didn't know MCA was related to Pioneer.

FINDLATER: We have a joint company that we own and that company [Universal/Pioneer] will be producing the [industrial] hardware.

TV: Will you be closer to Pioneer than Magnavox?

FINDLATER: Oh, yes. That company we own part of, and the Magnavox thing is a joint venture.

TV: Will the Pioneer unit be better than the Magnavox, in terms of video quality and features?

FINDLATER: Yes, because it will be industrial.

TV: Will Pioneer ever make a consumer machine?

FINDLATER: I'd rather not speculate on any of that. [Pioneer is expected to make an announcement on a consumer machine by later summer.-Ed.]

TV: In response to consumer demand for a recordable video disc unit, do you think that such a device might eventually be available.?

FINDLATER: There might be a time... but that would be later down the line.

TV: Speaking for our videophile readers, I know we would be interested in a machine that might not be as complex as your current industrial player but sort of between the home and industrial models - kind of "step-up" model. Do you have any plans to do something along those lines?

FINDLATER: Not as of this date, but as I have said, we can't do everything at once. We are working very hard now to get the PCM [digital audio] disc out. We have demonstrated it in Japan and here, and the press has asked "Will that be next week?" These are all wonderful things, but you can't do them all at once. There are only so many hours in the day.

TV: You're certainly right there, and our time's almost up. One last question: as far as regular audio discs go, is there any way to play them with a laser beam?

FINDLATER: You mean the ones available now? No, there isn't.

TV: That's too bad. We were hoping that there might be some reflective way of doing it. We thank you very much for your time. It's been a most informative conversation.

FINDLATER: You're very welcome.

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