CD Video

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CD Video (CDV)
CD Video (logo).svg
CD Video Disc.jpg
Media typeOptical disc
Encodinganalog video + digital audio
CapacityUp to 185 MB + 5 min analog LaserDisc video
Read mechanism780 nm wavelength semiconductor laser
StandardIEC 61104(12cm)
Developed bySony, Philips, Panasonic, Samsung
Usageaudio and video storage

CD Video (also known as CDV, CD-V, or CD+V) is a format of optical media disc that was introduced in 1987 that combines the technologies of standard compact disc and LaserDisc. CD-V discs are the same size as a standard 12-cm audio CD, and contain up to 20 minutes' worth of CD audio that can be played on any audio CD player. It also contains up to 5 minutes of LaserDisc video information with digital CD-quality sound, which can be played back on a newer LaserDisc player capable of playing CD-V discs or CD-V-only players.[1]

The "CD Video" brand was also used to market some 20 and 30 cm LaserDiscs which included a digital soundtrack[2] but no CD-compatible content.


12 cm, 20 cm and 30cm "CD-Video" discs. Despite the name, only the smallest contains CD-compatible content. The larger two are effectively Laserdiscs with a digital soundtrack.

12 cm "CD Video" disc format [edit]

One of the first LaserDisc players that can play CD-V discs is the Pioneer CLD-1010 from 1987. Though it is a CD-based format, CD Video was never given a rainbow book designation; the idea of encoding analogue video, which is incompatible between different regions, was poorly received by CD stakeholders other than Philips, who had not consulted them prior to demonstrating the format to the music industry.[3]

CD Video discs have a distinctive gold color,[2][4] to differentiate them from regular silver-colored audio CDs. This is a characteristic that would later be replicated in HVD, a more advanced disc format.

A typical 12 cm CD Video release in its case. This contains three audio tracks and one video by the band Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.

The physical size of the 12 cm discs limited the amount of LaserDisc content[2] to around six minutes, which meant they were primarily suited to pop music videos.[5] However, both players and discs were too expensive for the youth market likely to be most interested in such content.[2]

Other uses of the name[edit]

"CD Video" branding on 20 and 30 cm LaserDiscs [edit]

The "CD Video" name and logo were also used to market some full-size (30 cm / 11.8") and EP-sized (20 cm / 7.9") LaserDiscs that featured a digital (rather than analog) soundtrack and the same gold colouring.[2]

Unlike the newly-launched 12 cm discs, these were little more than a rebrand of existing LaserDisc formats.[2] (Both disc sizes, along with support for digital soundtracks, had been in use for several years before CD Video launched.)[2] In addition, despite the name, they did not feature CD-compatible content as the smaller discs did.

European LaserDisc relaunch[edit]

Philips' launch of the CD Video format (and the rebranding of existing LaserDisc formats under the name) also served as the basis of a relaunch for LaserDisc as a whole in Europe[6] where sales under the original "LaserVision" name had been extremely poor,[2][6] and Philips attempted to leverage the name recognition of the newly-successful audio CD format.[2][4] Despite this, the rebranded format remained unsuccessful in Europe.[2]

The use of digital audio on the relaunched "CD Video"-branded LaserDiscs rendered them incompatible with older analog-only "LaserVision" players made for the European PAL television standard.[6] (PAL LaserDiscs can only support analog or uncompressed digital soundtracks, but not both.)[7][8] However, at that point, Philips estimated there to have been just 12,000 to 15,000 analog-only Laservision players sold in Europe.[6]

Discontinuation and legacy[edit]

CD Video lasted only a few years in the marketplace and was already being referred to as a "failed" format by mid-1990.[9]

A similar format called Video Single Disc (VSD) was later announced for the Japanese market in 1990.[9] While this used the same CD-sized 12 cm format as CD Video, it only contained only an analog video track and no CD-compatible audio[9] making it, in effect, a small LaserDisc. The price of VSDs was intended to be around half that of CD Video discs.[9]

When CD Video failed to become the success Philips was hoping for, they turned their attention to the more promising MPEG-1-based digital video compression which ultimately formed the basis of Video CD[2]- a similarly-named, but incompatible and fundamentally different (and all-digital) format launched in 1993.


  1. ^ "Digital audio modulation in the PAL and NTSC video disc formats, J. Audio Eng. Soc. vol. 32, pp. 883, 1984". October 1983. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Techmoan" (Matthew "Mat" Taylor) (2018-02-01). CD Video (Not Video CD) - when Videodiscs went gold. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
    [08:27] in Europe [Philips' LaserDisc sales were pitiful but] with Laserdisc now capable of [digital audio] why not just [restart and rebrand as] CD Video [and] piggyback on the success of compact disc
    [00:10] CD Video came [on] gold colored discs
    [11:44] [30 cm discs] are just Laserdiscs coloured gold and with [digital soundtrack]
    [13:38] Most [discs were] smaller ones with pop music [whose market] tends to be younger people [for whom player and discs were] too expensive.
    [14:31] Players for Digital Audio soundtrack Laserdiscs had existed since 1984 [..] [20 cm discs had also] been out for a number of years.
    [15:12] [12 cm disc is] essence of the format [..] [Larger discs were] caught up in the rebranding but really those are Laserdiscs
    [15:57] physical limitations of [12 cm disc dictated] end product because you've only got room for about six minutes worth of video
    [17:18] Philips [..] started to concentrate their attentions on [more promising MPEG-1 based] digital video [ultimately resulting in] Video CD that Philips released in the early 1990s
    [17:45] [Philips] tried to sell Laservision since the late 1970s without any success this CD Video rebranding hadn't [helped], and within just a couple of years the CD Video name disappeared
  3. ^ "Problems ahead for CD Video". New Scientist. 1986-12-11. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  4. ^ a b CD Video PROMO 1988 - Presented by Kenny Everett. Philips. 1988. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
    [0:57] This is it- a CD machine that also plays pictures [..] and you already know how fabulous [CDs] are [..] Gone are the days of naff and fuzzy records [..]
    [1:21] But now CDs come in gold too
  5. ^ Barry Fox (1988-05-12). Roll over Berliner. New Scientist. p. 48. Retrieved 2021-05-09. [a] system called CD Video (CDV) [which] will store six minutes of video - an ideal length for pop music
  6. ^ a b c d Barry Fox (1987-03-19). Compact disc video hits the streets... New Scientist. p. 28. Philips also sees CD Video as a way of relaunching the [..] commercially unsuccessful Laservision [whose name] will be dropped and the new name and logo used [for] 12, 20 and 30 centimentre [discs] [..] The old LaserVision videodiscs had analogue sound but new CDV discs will have digital sound [..] this makes all new discs incompatible with old [analogue-only] players in Europe. [..] Philips estimates [between] 12,000 and 15,000 old-format Laservision players in Europe
  7. ^ "The LaserDisc FAQ: 2.3.1 Analog channels". This can't be done with PAL discs, where analog and uncompressed digital channels are mutually exclusive.
  8. ^ "The LaserDisc FAQ: 2.3.2 Uncompressed digital channels, or PCM channels". PAL LDs can only have either analog or uncompressed digital audio.
  9. ^ a b c d More on Laserdiscs. Video Week via Telecommunications Update. TV & Film Service, USIA, USIS. 1990-08-13. ISBN 9780316937610. A new laserdisc format- video single disc (VSD)- is due in Japan. The 4.75 inch disc is the size of a standard CD, but carries five minutes of video and audio so it can be played in a multidisc player. It differs from the failed CD-Video in the amount of audio (the latter had 20 minutes of audio and five minutes of video) and in price (in Japan it will cost half as much as CDV or about $8 list vs. $16)

See also[edit]

  • Video Single Disc - A similar format to 12cm CD Video discs but lacking CD-compatible audio content

External links[edit]