Just four years after it was originally promised, the optical videodisc system developed by Philips and MCA went on the market in the last days of 1978. But the marketing was very limited - just a handful of players were offered in three stores in Atlanta so the two companies could come in just under the wire and make good their latest promise of marketing in 1978. During 1979 and 1980, player and disc sales will gradually fan out through the nation, according to the plans.
At the Atlanta debut, the player carried a list price of $695, and a catalog of more than 200 discs listed movies at $9.95 and $15.95, operas and ballet at $20, how-to and educational programs at $5.95 and $9.95. Although a special two-hour disc has been developed for feature films, all except three of the movie titles in the catalog were on one-hour (30-minute-per-side) discs. The player is being sold under the "Magnavision" label by Philips' subsidiary, Magnavox. The discs are labeled "DiscoVision" and include selections of films from Universal (owned by MCA), Warner Brothers, Paramount, Walt Disney and American Film Theatre.
Although the optical laser system was the first long-playing videodisc system to make it to market (the 10-minute Ted system is being sold in Europe and Japan), it probably won't be the last. RCA's capacitance system is still under development, and though the company had made no specific plans for marketing at presstime, it was aiming at a simple system with players designed to sell for less than $400.