Rigid circular plate of either metal or plastic used to record video and audio signals for playback. It resembles a phonograph record and can be played on a machine attached to a conventional television receiver. There are two major classes of videodiscs, magnetic and nonmagnetic. Magnetic videodiscs have an oxide-coated surface onto which input signals are recorded as magnetic patterns in spiral tracks. Nonmagnetic videodiscs use either a mechanical recording system analogous to that used in phonograph records, or optical technology that uses a laser to read data coded as a sequence of pits on the disc. The most common type of videodisc today is the DVD.
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Unlike the battles between VHS and Betamax, there was no serious format war between early video disc formats as the LaserDisc proved to be technologically superior to all challengers of its time. Even the LaserDisc, though, failed to achieve much market traction against videotape, due to the latter's ability to allow consumer recording. Only with the introduction of the modern DVD format did a disc technology take hold for video. The modern DVD format also had little competition; only the short-lived DIVX format (not to be confused with the DivX video codec).