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Leonard Nimoy Demonstrates the Magnavision Videodisc Player (1981)

| Documentary | Video


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Credited cast:
Willie Allemang
Diane Fischer


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[first lines]
[a flashing rock appears, making beeping sounds]
Leonard Nimoy: Yes, I can understand you. I'm Leonard Nimoy.
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I have actually seen this programme...
1 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

This was a program that was developed for limited release on LaserDisc for showroom demonstration of the Magnavox MagnaVision VH-8000 LaserDisc player, which is the first consumer grade product to use a laser. All discs also came with a photocopied notice, citing a correction towards a claim made in the disc regarding wearout factors, which turned out to be essentially non-existent on normal playback, of a competing videodisc format, the needle-based RCA CED "SelectaVision" system.

The program begins with a bunch of those golly whiz-bang video graphics used in the late 1970s-early 1980s, showing off the exteriors of the Magnavision player and a LaserDisc, as well as clips of programmes that were either available or were scheduled for later release.

Then you have Leonard Nimoy talking to a flashing rock that makes golly whiz-bang synthesizer noises as a form of communication.

You have Leonard Nimoy demonstrating the Magnavision's capabilities with "the sharpest, cleanest picture", stereo sound, bilingual sound capability, frame-by-frame stop motion and pause, slow motion, and visual search, as well as how you'd be able to connect the player to a stereo and a television set.

The other side of this disc contains sales training, with Nimoy explaining technical aspects of how the LaserDisc player works. After that, you have two idiotic sales representatives from Magnavox giving idiotic sales advice to salespeople.

All in all, it's good viewing for a laugh, finding amusement at the now dated presentation and the hilarious sales advice being pitched to the viewer. It is a collectable disc as limited numbers were pressed and never made available for public sale, which is usually the case with showroom demonstration materials.

As for the player that this LaserDisc was advertising for, the VH-8000 and its later revision VH-8005 equipped with remote control, were crap. They were tempermental and unreliable players. The software that this disc also advertised were made by DiscoVision Associates, which also produced bad LaserDiscs.

By the time this disc was produced, which was 1980-1981, Pioneer had already came out with the VP-1000. The VP-1000 was lightyears ahead of the Magnavox players in terms of performance, functionality, usability and reliability. Even the demo disc for this Pioneer player was better, with none of the sleezy sales advice and cheesy production values that the MagnaVision demo had. To make it more embarrasing for Magnavox, the Pioneer players even handled discs that the MagnaVision players would normally refuse to play properly, if at all.

Hope this ends up being most informative to those interested in this little-known production that Mr. Nimoy participated in. As for why he did it, my guess was that Mr. Nimoy had a contract with Magnavox to be a spokesperson for a certain amount of time, so he was obligated to do what Magnavox asked him to do.

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