From December 15, 1978 to May 9, 2000, the laserdisc, a 12-inch videodisc, was available in the North American market. It allowed up to 30 (CAV) or 60 minutes (CLV) of video programming per side. In such cases, the movie is forced to be split into several parts when presented in laserdisc.

Many films were presented in letterbox widescreen format when seen on laserdisc. All discs are dual sided, and sometimes, there may only be programming available on one side. If this happens, a screen will appear saying: "Program material is recorded on the other side of this disc".

Only Laserdisc players can play laserdiscs, and they do provide higher video quality than VHS tapes. Also unlike the VHS format, laserdiscs also provide Dolby Digital and DTS audio, and skippable chapters. But like the VHS format, the laserdisc is an analog recording.