Well Prinkey just HAD to go and ask.
"Question: what is a VideoDisc player? was it a failed platform, ala Betamax???"
The short answer, of course is, "yes."
The long answer can be found HERE.
My answer follows immediately:
VideoDisc was a video format introduced (and then quickly axed) in the early 1980s. It wasn't a digital format, it didn't use a laser. It was more like a record player. The player used a stylus and the software had very fine grooves.
(Pat, does this mean that when you and Randy used to sing, "Lord, you are more groovy than records" to the tune of Lynn DeShazo's tune, "More Precious Than Silver," you actually should have been singing, "Lord, you are more groovy than VideoDiscs?")
Because the grooves were so small, they were much more prone to damage than a vinyl LP. So, they put the disc in a plastic sleeve, kind of like a 3 1/2" floppy disc. To put the disc in the player, you put the whole thing in, the player latched on to the inner disc, and then you pulled out the case. To take the disc out, or flip it over, you put the case back in around the disc and pulled the whole thing back out. No physical contact with the disc.
My understanding is that the format failed because of a relatively short play length (60 minutes max per side -- also the bane of Sony's Betamax), and because of the introduction of JVC's VHS format which could be used to play and record.