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KISS - Turn on the Night CDV Yngwie Malmsteen - Heaven Tonight CDV

What the Heck is a CD Video?

CD Video (CDV) was a short-lived audio/video format that was used in the mid-late 1980s. It is exactly the same size as a standard 5-inch CD. It contains analog video data, plus usually 4-5 standard digital audio tracks.

From The Collectible Compact Disc Price Guide, 2nd Edition.:

Introduced in 1988 [I'm seeing indications that the format was introduced as early as 1986, but as of yet I cannot verify this. -Dan], the CDV appeared in response to the popularity of music videos, thanks in large part to MTV. CDVs offer to the consumer a CD-single worth of music plus a full-length video playable on equipped laser disc players. The inner third of the disc held about 20 minutes of digital audio information while the outer two-thirds held about 5 minutes of laser video data. All of this was accomplished on a standard CD-size disc at a $9.99 price point.

Philips, the inventor of laser disc technology also invested the CDV format. To distinguish CDVs with common CDs, CDVs were molded in a striking gold colored plastic. Polygram Records, a subsidiary of Philips, was the first to release a catalog of CDV titles. The discs were packaged in Polygram's signature blister pack and sold through conventional record retailers.

The success of this format was lackluster, mainly because most people who were interested in music videos did not have a laser disc player, thus no way to play the video portion. Few were willing to pay for a CD with video when they had no way to play that video. Over 170 CDV titles in both the American/Japanese NTSC and the European PAL video formats are known to exist. The CDV began to evaporate from the U.S. and European markets in 1990. CDVs continued to be popular in Japan up through 1992.

These should NOT be confused with VCDs. VCDs will play in a DVD player, CD Videos will not; they require a laserdisc player to play the video portion of the disc. Because the disc is a digital/analog hybrid, it CANNOT duplicated on a computer.

CDV is an underappreciated format. It REALLY should have taken off more. With the demise of the laserdisc player since DVD was introduced, you may find CDVs a bit easier to find, as people cannot find players for them, and decide to dump their collections.

General Information

In the United States, CDVs were sold in blister-paks (similar to longboxes, but made of clear plastic). Several examples are shown below.

KISS - Crazy Nights CDV in Blister Pak Kingdom Come - Get It On CDV in Blister Pak Scorpions CD-Video in Blister Pak

CDV promotional information for the spec was almost always printed on the back of the cover card:

Back of front panel - specifications

On the reference page you will find a comprehensive list of CDVs in existence that I am compiling (I'm limiting the list to NTSC-format CDVs, since those are the only ones I can play at this time). Ones that I own will have pictures of the artwork.

NOTE: If you have any NTSC CDVs that I do not have and are willing to trade/sell them, please email me! My personal collection of CDVs is pretty damned pitiful. I want to remedy this! :)

(also, if you have any NTSC CDVs that are not on my reference list, I'd appreciate it if you could forward me that information.)

If you are unsure as to whether a CDV you come across is NTSC or PAL format, there will be an "NTSC" logo on the J-card (see scan below).

NTSC logo

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