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Sylvania VP-7200

Sylvania Videodisc

North American Philips Consumer Electronics produced two different model Videodisc (as they called them) players as part of the 2nd generation of players. One unit under each of the brands then Sylvania VP-7200 available from NAP, Magnavox produced the Model VC-8010 and Sylvania produced the VP-7200. Let's be clear about one thing to begin with - Philips had nothing what-so-ever to do with the actual manufacturing of these players. Both units were produced by Pioneer Electronics in Japan and are essentially the same as Pioneer's LD-1100. All part numbers are even Pioneer numbers on everything from the remote to the users manual.

There are however, very distinct differences between these two units and the Pioneer model. These units were dark grey in color and sported a completely different face. The controls, rather than clustered together in a single area with the rest of the space used for lights, they are set across the entire front of the unit, with the lights for each function directly above the corresponding button. The layout is very similar to the original VH-8000 Magnavision unit produced for the launch of DiscoVision. But cosmetics alone are not what separates this unit from those Pioneer manufactured under its own name. Under the hood, these machines sported a totally different pickup Gas Tube Pickup Assembly and tracking system, designed for punishing industrial applications. The mechanics were all the same, but these units boasted a much better picture and significantly improved tracktability on all discs. The unit also included a completely different audio board which adhered to the original specifications of the CX noise reduction system, retaining the full 20db of headroom. Pioneer's modified circuit cut the headroom to only 13db.

The standard array of features available at the time made the unit feature identical to all other players available at the time. Some features were enhanced, such as automatic picture stop, which used the now standard Philips code. This makes the unit incapable of playing the incorrectly mastered Frenzy Side 5. The unit will also play all GM discs, but due to the absence of the Philips code, will stay in "limbo" mode, neither identifying the discs as CAV or CLV. All player functions such as frame display, search and special effects normally found on CAV discs will not work at all. On startup of a disc, the pickup will simply begin playback from the players inside limit setting. This can cause some problems on older CLV titles where the player will refuse to play the beginning of a side.

The industrial pickup in this unit gives the player a unique feature that no other player has had, either before or since. Philips, feeling rather burned by Pioneer and MCA for their tweaking of the system to overcome troubles in manufacturing of the discs, gave their 2nd generation players the ability to play nearly every DiscoVision disc. Overall, these units will properly track even the most defective discs produced. Discs which refuse to track or experience laserlock usually play without flaw of any kind in the unit. While it would be presumptuous to say it will track "every" disc, it tracks almost all discs.

In summary, the Sylvania VP-7200 is possibly the very best LaserDisc player ever produced for playback of MCA DiscoVision discs. I highly recommend picking one up if you are a collector and wish to have playback as flawless as the discs themselves can provide.

Advantages Disadvantages
Gas Tube Laser for superior tracking
Industrial grade Laser pickup
Superior audio reproduction
Plays GM discs
None

Last Updated: September 17, 1999
Copyright 1998 Blam Entertainment Group

Thanks to Blain Young for use of the material.