The Magnavox Magnavision Model 8000 DiscoVision Videodisc Player was a “record player that produces beautiful sound and pictures” through your TV. Released in 1978, Magnavision 8000 was the first consumer player of the format you know as Laserdisc.
This 1981 spot for the Maganvision 8000 was one Leonard Nimoy’s better roles, if you ask me.
A review by Marcus F. Wielage in March/April 1979 issue of The Videophile described it as a “sleek, low-profiled device (22″ x 16″ x 6″) encased in a rigid black and silver coloured plastic cabinet [with]a gleaming futuristic appearance that would almost make it more at home in the Jetson’s living room that ours in 1979.” Lifting the lid to load an optical disc was “not unlike a car’s engine hood,” which you had to do before you turned it on. It took 20 seconds to warm up to spinning the disc at 1800rpm—kind of like today’s speedier Blu-ray players.
And like today's Blu-ray players and DVD players before them, it was the pinnacle of home AV quality at the time: "As I testified under oath in court recently, the MCA/Phillips player puts out a better picture than any home videotape I've ever seen, and is almost equal to U-Matic players as far as audio and video specifications go."
The review concludes with a bit rumour mongering, an echo of Gizmodo in 1979: "As it is, rumours of a consumer disc player from Pioneer continue to abound, and I, for one, would be happier with a product from that company than from Magnavox, if only because of their fine reputation as a leading mass-market high-fi manufacturer."
Gizmodo '79 is a week-long celebration of gadgets and geekdom 30 years ago, as the analogue age gave way to the digital, and most of our favourite toys were just being born.