The Capacitance Electronic Disc is a system designed for the playback of video and audio on a television through a needle and high-density groove system, similar to phonograph records. The CED system was created in 1964, and it was well-received by movie producers, retailers, and consumers alike. With this new technology, the ability to store content on a disc instead of a reel of film was able to increase the density of a long-playing record by two orders of magnitude.
Despite this achievement, the CED system fell victim to poor planning, conflicts within RCA, and technical difficulties that slowed development and stalled production of the system for 17 years—until 1981, by which time it had already been made obsolete by laser videodisc (DiscoVision, later called LaserVision and LaserDisc) as well as Betamax and VHS videocassette formats. Sales for the system were nowhere near projected estimates. In the spring of 1984, RCA announced it was discontinuing player production, but continuing the production of videodiscs until 1986, losing an estimated $600 million in the process. RCA had initially intended to release the SKT425 CED player with its high-end Dimensia system in late 1984 but canceled CED player production prior to the Dimensia system's release.
The format was commonly known as "videodisc", leading to much confusion with the contemporaneous LaserDisc format. LaserDiscs are read optically with a laser beam, whereas CED discs are read physically with a stylus (similar to a conventional gramophone record). The two systems are mutually incompatible.
RCA used the brand "SelectaVision" for the CED system, a name also used for some early RCA brand VCRs, and other experimental projects at RCA.