LaserDisc or (LD) is a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium (also known as simply "DiscoVision") in North America in 1978.
Years ago, long before the dawn of the DVD or Blu-ray formats, consumer video was strictly all-analog, from the very first broadcasts right up to the introduction of the LaserDisc. The 12-inch, double-sided LaserDisc looked like a giant CD, but the video was analog encoded on two single-sided aluminum discs layered in plastic.
The Current LaserDisc Dilemma
Despite all its "pioneering" advances, LaserDisc did not have the strength to wage war against the more compact, economically viable, DVD format when it arrived. There were a few LaserDisc/DVD combo players introduced in an effort to appeal LaserDisc fans that wanted to add DVD to the mix. However, with the quick acceptance of DVD, the market for LaserDisc fell dramatically.
The supply of functioning LaserDisc players will someday "dry up". Since LaserDiscs have to be optically read, there is no mechanical device you can "rig up" to play them like you can play old LP records.
Options For Preserving Laserdiscs
There are really only four solutions to preserving old LaserDiscs:
Buy a used LaserDisc player and put in storage until you need it (not really knowing if it will work after several years in storage).
Buy new DVD, Blu-ray, or Ultra HD Blu-ray versions of movies in your LaserDisc collection.
Make inferior VHS copies of your LaserDisc collection.
Copy your LaserDisc collection onto DVD.
With good image quality, copying important films in a LaserDisc collection onto DVD is a viable way of preservation.
The discs that debuted in 1978 had analog audio soundtracks, but later discs featured stereo digital sound. Millions of players were sold in the U.S., but LaserDisc was, even during the height of its popularity, a niche format that appealed mostly to videophiles. It had much greater success in Japan, and was used in 10 percent of all households.