The LaserDisc (LD) is a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium, initially licensed, sold and marketed as MCA DiscoVision (also known simply as “DiscoVision”) in the United States in 1978. It is not a fully digital format and stores analog video signals. Although the format was capable of offering higher-quality video and audio than its consumer rivals, VHS and Betamax videotape, LaserDisc never managed to gain widespread use in North America, largely due to high costs for the players and video titles themselves and the inability to record TV programs. However, it eventually did gain some traction in that region and became somewhat popular in the 1990s. It was not a popular format in Europe and Australia. By contrast, the format was much more popular in Japan and in the more affluent regions of Southeast Asia, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, and was the prevalent rental video medium in Hong Kong during the 1990s. Its superior video and audio quality made it a popular choice among videophiles and film enthusiasts during its lifespan. The technologies and concepts behind LaserDisc were the foundation for later optical disc formats, including Compact Disc (CD), DVD and Blu-ray (BD).
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