(images except mine from the uber-interesting, CED Magic)
Opting to go to my regular swap meet haunts instead of traveling out-of-state this morning was a great idea. The very first place I go my little eye spied a CED player resting on a table within minutes of being there, doey eyed as it watched everyone pass it by. It's an RCA SFT-100W, the first CED player produced back in 1981, with a $20 price was taped to the top. After some haggling I got it down to $10. The woman said she was tired of moving it and just wanted to get rid of it. I had the sense of mind to pop the service port off on the top of the unit and check to see if the stylus was there. Intact and the internals that I could see were clean. Still, I bought it figuring it probably wouldn't work, but the rarity of finding one "in-the-flesh" was worth the chance alone. It got rather heavy carrying it back to the car being a hefty twenty pounds.
Arriving home I carefully plugged it in and moved the lever on the right side down to LOAD/UNLOAD. After the simple LED display flashed "88"; the letter "L" began flashing which I can only assume stands for "load". The player only has basic Antenna IN/OUT jacks with a Channel 3/4 switcher on the back. I cleaned the player and hooked it all up. I was so freakin' scared to load a disc not knowing what to expect. I pulled out a so-so disc, Embassy's The Shout, and the player sucked out the vinyl plate and left me with an empty plastic case.
The top plate was off and I could see the disc actually spin up to speed and the display starting counting minutes, but no picture. Stupidly, I forgot to tune to Channel 3 after a long period of checking connections and fumbling in the TV's set-up menus. Finally I got picture and sound! The viewing experience is best described as something like watching a VHS on Laserdisc. It's soft and fuzzy like VHS but little fleeting line drop-outs like the ones seen on LD are present. Of course, I have no idea how much abuse the stylus took in its prior life and disc itself looked smudgy in spots.
I'm unsure how much I'm going to play with it though. I do come across discs from time-to-time (usually in lots) and maybe one day I'll do a "Classic in Obscure Retro" of Wizard's fabled Texas Chainsaw Massacre CED. Yet who knows, all I have to do is run across a buttload of Horror CEDs...hehehe....