The Empire Strikes Back, CED, CBS/Fox Video, USA 1984

The CED format remained viable for the first half of the 80's and was in direct competition with laserdisc, the other disc-based home video format. Big titles like The Empire Strikes back were essential to attract adopters to your format. Like laserdisc, the CED format had the disadvantage of having to get up and change sides halfway through the film. In the end, the more convenient videotape formats won.

I have no hardware to play CED disc, but from what I hear these were time compressed (like the early laserdiscs) to fit the movie under two hours. The CED format could fit one hour of video to a side.

The outer shell was called a caddy, and they came in blue and white variations. (The disc was inserted into a slot on the player, and the caddy retracted and put away during playback.) The colour of the caddy seems to be random across releases, and has no bearing on the collectible value of the discs.

There was also a variation in how the handles at the bottom were formed. They could be either recessed or raised. On later disc there was no handle at all. Additionally, the plastic tray inside the caddy, called a spine, could also vary in colour, so any and all combinations of caddy and spine could be possible.

Maybe all variations should be considered unique and collected? Myself, I'm having a hard time finding any of the CEDs in something close to acceptable condition. Many of them suffer from excessive shelf-wear, especially on the bottom. This, like many others, looks ragged on the back as well. I will have to be on the lookout for a better copy.