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Laserdiscs to loud car stereos, Pioneer are nothing if not versatile...


When and where did it all begin?

Back in 1938, when -- careful when you say this -- Fukuin Shokai Denki Seisakusho, is established in Tokyo. They began by manufacturing audio products but the Second World War intervened. The company as we know it today began to take shape in the late fifties and early sixties.


What happened?

Pioneer shares were listed on the Tokyo stock exchange in 1961, they set up camp in Belgium in 1970 and America in 1972; however, things didn’t really start to happen until 1973 when they began marketing cable television hardware in the US. 


Cable TV, what was that all about?

It’s a little known fact that Pioneer were, well, pioneers in cable TV technology and developed the worlds first two-way interactive CATV system in 1977.


What about laserdisc?

That all started in 1978, when Pioneer announced their first LD video disc player. This was a big gamble, at the time no less than 40 different video disc systems were in development, making the recent battle over DVD standardisation look like a playground squabble. 


How about actual products?

In 1980 Pioneer launched the VP-1000 in the US,  it was a world’s first. A year later they hit the home market, and the LD-1000 was introduced in Japan.    


And since then?

A whole load more firsts. First CD/LD player and car CD player in 1984; first

6-disc CD autochanger and 40-inch projection monitor in 1985; first DAT deck in Japan in 1987; world’s first car navigation system in 1990; first industrial CD-R (CD recordable) machines in 1991; first quad-speed CD-ROM changer in 1992, and so on and so on.


Is that it?

You must be joking. Just last year they developed the MARS system for high-speed DVD duplication and introduced the worlds first combination DVD/LD/CD deck. And since you ask, their R&D department is currently working on multi-layered organic electroluminescent displays, and get this, a system for ‘alpha-wave entrainment (sic) by recorded photic stimulation’. Apparently it’s an electronic gadget that sends the user to sleep...


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