In 1979 U.S. Pioneer Electronics was looking for technicians to field service their first "Video Disk Player", model PR-7820. The premier customers were the General Motors dealerships. Each dealership was given a kiosk with a player, a television, and a selection of laser discs containing information on new car models. The focus was to further enhance the program, providing aids to the service and parts departments as well.
There were basically two qualifications to apply for attendance to that early training seminar. First, the company had to be an authorized Pioneer service center. Second, the applying technician needed some sort of background in video. Given that Pioneer was primarily an audio company, the second stipulation was the most difficult.
Number one was no problem, we were already providing warranty service for Pioneer. The second requirement was fulfilled as we were one of the first service companies in our area factory trained on the Sony Betamax and Matsushita VHS VCRs. In June of 1979 we were invited to participate in the first west coast training session.
I was flown to Los Angeles, and for two days about a dozen of us were introduced to and trained on laser optical systems. I believe it went over all our heads. However, armed with a "certificate" and some basic knowledge, we were sent out into the field to tackle problems with the units installed at G.M. dealerships.
Soon thereafter, IBM became a customer and the workload increased. In those days UPS had a weight limit, which was under the packed weight of the PR-7820, so players shipped were sent by motor freight. ANR/Garrett Freightlines was a regular visitor to our shop in the 1980s. (An afterthought, by the early '90s ANR/Garrett was a memory and so was the PR-7820).
On the heels of the PR-7820 came the VP-1000, Pioneer’s first consumer LaserDisc player. A radical change - this time the laser assembly moved across the disc, rather than the disc traveling under the laser as in the PR-7820.
Software was a problem back then, the return rate on the discs themselves was high. But time marched on, the disc problems were corrected, the gas laser was eventually replaced by the solid state laser, and the format managed to survive the CED fiasco to become the video format desired for maximum quality. Even with DVD there are those who prefer the overall performance of the LaserDisc.
At Bayview Electronics we are proud to have been active in the service of these revolutionary machines since the first model. All players received for repair are still serviced by the same master technician who attended that very first class.
This first generation industrial player made its debut in General Motors dealerships to promote the 1980 line of autos, as well as providing a source of training videos on topics like repair and customer service. This same model, under the name Pioneer Model 3, was also featured in the Dragon's Lair arcade video games and in Space Ace arcade conversions.