Laserdisc Wednesday Update

For last 3-4 weeks I have been posting a Laserdisc movie I watched every Wednesday on Facebook.
I just thought about how I should also be posting this here since it is my Home Theater/HTPC blog.
The reason behind watching a Laserdisc once a week is to actually take a few hours to watch one of my LD’s. Some I have never watched others were unopened/rare LD’s and decided to go ahead and open it to watch. Only live once I have it so may as well watch it;-)  I’m not dying or anything like that at least not that I know of.

I also recently got a newer model Laserdisc player that can do DTS audio and Dolby my old player could not.
I can only decode DTS not Dolby on Laserdisc format I need a demodulator to listen to the Dolby track on the Laserdisc which I do not have. But my Surround Receiver can decode DTS so have opened one of my really rare LD’s a few weeks back.

Here is the exact postings from Facebook . Will copy & paste all on this page and then starting next week I will also post the LD I watch on Wednesday’s here on my blog.

May 25th 2016

Kicking off Laserdisc Wednesday with X-Files season 1 episode 1 & 2!

This week I chose The X-Files season 1 episodes 1 & 2.
The X-Files LD’s I own are only part of season 1 these are very rare & very expensive Laserdiscs to get ahold of. They were printed and manufactured in Japan. I have the first 6 discs each disc contains 2 episodes which equals half of the 1st season.
I have searched for the second half of season 1 with no success. Even if I find the second half spending anywhere from $300-$400 will be a tough decision to make.
Japanese subtitles are hard coded into the videos. They are not overly large or distracting in any way.

Comes in a cool box with a nice booklet with some info on the episodes and characters. All are in Japanese so I don’t have a clue what it says:-)

 

Salvatore J Smisek's photo.

June 2nd 2016

Due to dentist visit. Laserdisc Wednesday got pushed to today:-( Which was the following day Thursday.
I am going to watch Star Trek VI Undiscovered Country.
It’s a great movie and I have never watched this LD.
Includes 3 extra minutes of unseen footage. Is a rare LD that is a THX movie but not labeled on cover due to being in the THX test program.

Salvatore J Smisek's photo.

June 8th 2016

 

This week: Rear Window is an American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder”.
Originally released by Paramount Pictures to theaters on August 1, 1954.

Laserdisc release date Spring 1984 1.33:1 Ratio Single Analog track. 1-Disc 2-sided.
Released by MCA Home Video.
Although people will list this as a rare LD it is not all that rare.
30 years after original release Rear Window is printed to Laserdisc in 1984 then was re-released to Bluray 30 years after that in 2014.

There has been many spoofs and even a made for television remake in 1998 starring Actor Christopher Reeve whom was actually paralyzed in 1995 due to a horse riding accident.
Don’t bother with the remake it’s a flop that completely misses what Hitchcock captures.
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Salvatore J Smisek's photo.


June 22nd 2016

 

Skipped last weeks LD due to hardware change. Upgraded my Laserdisc player to one more current.
Since new player is in decided to open up my sealed version of Halloween H20 Laserdisc with DTS surround sound. My children and wife got me this for dad’s day.
Why I love H20? Because it picks up after the 2nd movie:-) HAPPY FACE! And ignores all of the Halloween movies in between.
This is a rare Laserdisc because it has DTS sound track. What kicks ass about the DTS track on LD is it is lossless.
Using new Laserdisc player Pioneer 1997 model with a red diode laser this is a rarely used laser it will read laser rotted discs while standard diodes can not. Did test on my only rotted LD Know What You Did Last Summer played right through. My old Pioneer LD player mfd in 1994 could not play it.
New LD player can handle Digital sound DTS tracks not Dolby tracks I do not have a demodulator for that. I personally have always preferred DTS over Dolby sound.

Salvatore J Smisek's photo.
Salvatore J Smisek's photo.

June 29th 2016

I had a hard time deciding on what LD to pull off the shelf and watch this week.
Decided on Great Expectations 1998 a revised version of Charles Dickens classic. (The book was first published in 1861.)
I’m not one for romance but I like Charles Dickens since new LD player can play DTS tracks this was a must see mostly because I have never watched this Laserdisc or this movie before on any format.
This was not a sought after movie on LD. While it was pressed with the DTS sound track and should make it some what rare it is not. Ebay is saturated with the DTS version for as little as $7 depending on the condition of sleeve & disc.
LD is Dual sided CLV Theatrical aspect ratio 2.35:1, 26 chapters runtime 111 minutes, Released to Laserdisc & VHS on 07/21/1999
Stars Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft and Chris Cooper.
Filmed here in our great state of Florida not to far from us -Bradenton, Florida – Cortez Road and Sarasota Bay – was the house setting.

Salvatore J Smisek's photo.

Repairing the Wireless Gaming Receiver For Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller and PC windows

MS Wireless receiver

The Microsoft Wireless Gaming Receiver For Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for PC windows have a flaw they stop working after some time.
I had purchased 2 of them about 5 years or so back and they lasted probably 2 years then stopped working. I saved the broken adapters figuring 1 day I would attempt to repair well 2 years later and I have.
This seems to be an issue that everyone runs into with these adapters.

I like using a 360 controller on some PC games so when it went I was a bit disappointed.

What you will need to repair this is a low wattage Soldering Pen one from Radio Shack will do with a fine tip. Small screw drivers watch type preferred to remove the board and pry the receiver apart. A small pocket knife.

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A wire that can be cut this is for the repair. Very thin wire needed.
A lighted magnifier to see the points on board to solder them unless you have really, really good eyes. Soldering experience if you don’t have that then do a few practice runs on some broken boards that have points about the same size that is on the Microsoft receiver.

First you will take the small flat head screw driver and start where the cord goes into the receiver and slowly pry around until the top pops off the board will then be exposed.

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You can see where I started to pry this is where you will start to as well.

Here is the unit with the top off>
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Take a look at the board there are 2 Philips head screws that hold the board down use the small watch Philips head to remove both screws and then lift the board out.

Once the board is out you will need the small wire stripped at the end make sure to add a thin coat of solder on the wire.
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Flip the board over and look for F1 on the board circled red in picture with arrow pointing to it.
F1 board

If you look closely under F1 there are 2 solder points this is where you will solder the small wire to both points bridging them together. This is what will fix the receiver.
Once you complete the solder do not put back together right away plug into PC and verify it gets the green light and windows makes the sound that new hardware has been found.
Once you see the green light and hear Windows you have fixed your wireless controller receiver go ahead and put it back together.

Have fun using your wireless Xbox 360 controller on your PC games again. Why go spend $20+ on a generic receiver when you may have a Microsoft made one that can easily be repaired with a wire solder and a soldering pen and 10 minutes of your time.

Once soldered will look something like this. This is very sloppy on my part was my 1st attempt. Can tell it’s been some time since I’ve soldered anything. But it works.
Soldered

Pioneer CLD-D606 Laserdisc player

Have wanted a new Laserdisc player for a few years now. When I say new means new considering the date LD players were no longer being manufactured which was in 2001 here in the states.
I have been using the Pioneer CLD-v2400 for the last 4-5 years manufactured in 1994. This is a solid LD player it has never given me any issues playing Laserdiscs.
The v2400 is an educational model used in schools and companies for training and orientations.
The model can be connected to computers it really is not a home theater model. From what I understand is any LD player that has a “V” in the model number is an industrial player.
It offers no toslink/optical or RF-3 outputs for digital tracks. Which means no surround sound except simulated if you have a surround receiver that is current then it will simulate surround sound.
Simulated surround does not come close to pure digital surround tracks.


While it’s not a home theater Laserdisc player it is a solid work horse and will play LD movies for years to come.
It doesn’t offer dual sided play which is kind of a good thing really it eliminates a future break down.
Having to flip the disc to side 2 manually after an hour is not all that bad.
Downside is video quality is not so great compared to newer models or even higher end older models for that matter.
Laserdisc is a composite player so it will look best on newer LCD,OLED,LED plugged into a composite video input and let the televisions built in comb-filter handle the quality.
They do also have S-video outputs as well this should be used if you have an older TV and the Laserdiscs hardware filter is better than the televisions.

Laserdisc sound can be confusing since DTS and Dolby Digital use different outputs to listen to the audio tracks.
If you have Laserdisc movies that are Dolby surround and have Laserdiscs that have DTS sound. You would need a Laserdisc player that has all the correct outputs.
Toslink/Optical for DTS surround and a RF-3 out for Dolby surround.
Most current surround receivers today will have Toslink/Optical inputs to decode the DTS surround track.
As for the Dolby Surround track that would require a receiver that has a RF3-AC3 input that demodulates the Dolby track on the Laserdisc. Only the very expensive models today will have that and not all will since it is no longer used with DVD or Blu-ray.
so to listen to the Dolby surround on Laserdiscs you would also need a dedicated RF-3/AC3 Demodulator.
These start at $200 and go up to $2,000.
Pioneer did this to keep LD current with technology and also to allow people with older players that didn’t have the outputs for digital to be able to still play the Laserdiscs.
Think of it like the old school modems we used in our computers to get internet.
The Dolby Surround track is in the analog track on the Laserdisc. So people with old players that don’t have digital outputs will see and play the analog sound track. People with the proper hardware would be able to listen in crisp Dolby Surround.
The Digital surround tracks on Laserdisc absolutely blows DVD Surround tracks out of the sound pool completely. LD surround is much better than DVD surround. As far as Blu-ray surround it is far more superior than either the DVD or LD. DTS-HD Master is insane I really can’t wait to listen to the newer DTS-X or Dolby Atos.
LD also still has hard to get cuts that are not available on DVD or Bu-ray. Laserdisc is old but it really is not dead. Not yet anyway…

Pioneer CLD-D606
This player is the newer refurb I purchased recently. It has multiple video outputs, Toslink/Optical out, RF-3 Out and standard R/L sound out. Dual side play so don’t have to manually flip the disc any more. This is a good and bad thing in my opinion I could do without this option personally.
Has much better video quality due to the fact this player is for a home theater.
It only plays Laserdiscs and CD’s it does not play DVD or any other format like CD+G.
And has separate drawers for LD and CD which is kind of nice but i’ll never use it as a CD player.

Specs:

Audio Performance Features

  • Low-Noise / Low-Loss Laser Pickup
  • 1-Bit DLC D/A Converter
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 115 dB

Convenience Features

  • Independent CD Tray
  • Film Mode with Quick Turn Mechanism
  • Remote Control with Shuttle Control
  • 7 Mode Repeat
  • Multi-Speed Playback (Forward / Reverse, 4 steps) – CAV / CLV / CDV
  • Still / Step (Forward / Reverse) – CAV / CLV / CDV
  • 24-Step Programmed Playback
  • Random Play
  • Hi-Lite / Intro Scan
  • Last Memory
  • Picture Control

Video Performance Features

  • Digital Video Processing System
  • 3-Line Digital Comb Filter
  • Video Signal to Noise Ratio: 50 dB
  • 8-Bit Digital Field Memory – Allows Special Playback Functions

Terminals

  • AC-3 RF Output
  • 2 S-Video Outputs
  • 2 Composite Video Outputs
  • 2 Composite Audio Outputs
  • Optical Digital Output
  • Pioneer SR In/Out Connection for System Integration

Update 06/21/16
Unfortunately the LD player I got was junk and non-working when it arrived via USPS.
I really don’t know if seller pulled a insurance scam or was dumb enough to ship the player not marked as fragile.
The box it was packed in was absolute crap can tell it had been used before it held the Laserdisc player.
I did not give a bad reputation review because I can’t be sure he purposely shipped a broken unit either as insurance scam or did not like the final bid so shipped a identical player that was non-functional in it’s place.

It worked out I purchased another Laserdisc player from another seller for $20 less and it works great.
Much of an improvement over my old Pioneer CLD-V2400 model. Ended up getting a Pioneer CLD-1090 some say they do not like this player but it gets a fairly sharp picture and can play back Laserdiscs that have DTS sound tracks.
Picture quality is better than my old one for sure it gets a much sharper picture andsound is better as well since it has Toslink/Optical output..
It plays one of my majorly Laser rotted LD’s I know What you did Last Summer without issue my old player can not play this disc but for the first 30 minutes.
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Pioneer CLD-1090 is on Top. Silver unit is the HTPC not related to LD player just in the picture.