What Is It?

MCA DiscoVision is many things: The name of a company, the name of a software label and the name of a format.

The Company

MCA DiscoVision Incorporated was formed in 1969 by its parent company, MCA Inc, for the development and marketing of the Optical Videodisc System. Seeing an unprecedented opportunity in the making, MCA owned one of the largest motion picture and television studios in the world, guaranteeing a steady stream of movies and music for its videodisc system. MCA also had exclusive access to the pre-1950 Paramount Pictures library and thus had an even larger catalog from which to draw from. By forming alliances with other studios, DiscoVision would be in a favorable position to acquire films and programming which would cover virtually every corner of the entertainment market.

MCA's original intention was to develop the DiscoVision system, licensing it and to distribute programming. This would leave the manufacturing side to be provided by an external company. Initial designs indicated the new videodiscs could be manufactured using conventional vinyl LP pressing facilities, with some modifications. MCA had significant influence with the worlds LP pressing plants, as well as owning several of its own facilities. This was seen as a positive position, given that the discs themselves could be manufactured almost anywhere in the world. However, further research indicated using existing facilities would be too cost restrictive as entirely new equipment and environments would have to be created anyway. Therefore, MCA decided to include manufacturing for the initial release with thoughts of issuing licenses for third party manufacturing plants as the format grew.

The Format

DiscoVision was also the name of the format. A common misconception, the term DiscoVision has nothing to do with the 70's disco craze. The name was derived prior to the creation of MCA DiscoVision, Inc. and is a contraction of the words 'Disc' and 'Vision' with the 'O' thrown in for ease in pronunciation. Long before the name LaserVision, and later LaserDisc, were chosen to be the name of the format, DiscoVision was the official format name for MCA's discs, or the format was simply referred to with the generic name 'Reflective Optical Videodisc System.' On the back of the disc of ABBA® videos, it says ABBA On DiscoVision is a treat for the eyes and ears!. This referred to DiscoVision as a format.

The Video Label

MCA did direct distribution and manufacturing of the videodiscs. When other companies licensed their films to MCA, they were considered to have been released on the MCA DiscoVision label. Warner Home Video tried to distinguish their own label from that of MCA's, and on their release of Deliverance, the back of the jacket read. Warner Home Video on MCA DiscoVision. Walt Disney Home Video also had special mention on each of their jackets, and all the discs included a opening graphic. Paramount Pictures and Avco Embassy Pictures did not distinguish their titles in any way, either on the jacket or in program content.

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Updated: June 23, 1996
Copyright ©1996 Blam Entertainment Group