Slipped Disc

RCA drops a $580 million dud

When RCA brought out its SelectaVision VideoDisc Player in 1981, it had visions of a huge new market. Dubbed the Manhattan Project during 15 years of development, SelectaVision works much like a phonograph. A diamond needle picks up video and audio signals from the tiny grooves of a silvery plastic disc whirling at 450 r.p.m. To operate the machine, which is connected to a TV set, the user simply inserts a disc and flips a lever.

Last week, though, RCA (1983 sales: $8.9 billion) announced that it will...

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