My Favorite Things About CEDs
Other Selectavision websites
CED Magic - An outstanding source of Selectavision information
The CED FAQ
CEDatum - An excellent source for original RCA parts - highly recommended!
Welcome to my Selectavision page! Few people know that videodiscs were around long before the advent of the DVD. In the early days of video, there was much confusion as to what was going to be the next big home video format. Sony had Betamax, JVC had VHS, Philips had the Laserdisc, and RCA had their Selectavision videodisc system, which used Capacitance Electronic Discs (CEDs). Sold between 1981 and 1986, CEDs used a unique method of video reproduction which was neither optical nor magnetic, but rather needle-based, like the vinyl records which were popular at the time. Like many DVDs, CEDs are often two-sided, but unlike DVD, that second side is needed to store the second half of the movie (CEDs can only hold around 60 minutes per side). Unlike DVDs, each CED is encased in a plastic caddy, which the disc is pulled out of after inserting the caddy into the player (the operator never needs to directly touch the disc). Most of the early players did this manually, but later players were motorized, and did part of the process automatically. The entire system worked well, and picture quality was very good for those days. Unfortunately for RCA, the public disliked the fact that you couldn't record on CEDs, VCRs were getting cheaper, and RCA was losing money on the players, so they discontinued them in 1984 (though the discs themselves were making money, so they continued to be printed into 1986). Around 1986, GE bought up RCA, and the dismantling of the once-powerful RCA Victor had begun. Not too long afterwards, French electronics giant Thompson bought GE, and that was about it for RCA. However, many CED players and discs remain in circulation, and aren't too hard to find.
My collection is a very good example of this, as I bought a player and a stack of CEDs at a radio swap meet for $30. The CED player I have is a Sears 274.54740150, a relabeled version of RCA's SFT-100 (the first CED player marketed to the public); all Sears units were supposed to have been relabeled Hitachi players, but they were delayed, so Sears had a number of SFT-100s relabeled as a stopgap measure. When I first got the unit, it had problems with color instability, but now it works perfectly; I replaced the drive belt with an original RCA part (available from CEDatum), lubricated the turntable shaft bearings, and lubricated the motor bearings, and the problems have gone away. Since then, I have also acquired two F/G-series RCA players, models SGT-200 and SGT-250, as well as my first J/K-series unit, a SJT-300. The SGT-200 and SGT-250 are considered 'bridge' models between the F/G and J/K series players. The SGT-200 is essentially a SFT-100 with stereo capabilities; it has the same Off/Play/Load lever, and no remote control capabilities. The SGT-250, on the other hand, has a pushbutton-actuated motor-driven loading door instead of the lever-actuated mechanisms used by the earlier CED players, though the caddy has to be manually inserted and removed like an earlier model. It also has an infared remote control (the first RCA CED player to have a remote). The SJT-300 was near the top of the line in the 1983 CED player lineup (second only to the interactive SJT-400), having stereo sound, as well as an infared remote (like the SGT-250). Unlike the SGT-250, the SJT-300 has a motorized loading mechanism, which draws a caddy into the unit once it has been inserted, ejects the empty caddy, then drops the disc onto the platter, and begins playing. It seems to have a intermittent minor power supply problem, but it otherwise works quite well. I currently have 71 caddies (70 discs, 61 movies), a list of which can be found below; note that none of them are for sale (though some may be in the near future). I am always looking for more titles to add to my collection.
This is a picture of my Sears model 274.54740150 CED player.
Here is a picture of the player with the top cover removed.
Current disc list
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