Happy Birthday Compact Disc!

Aug 17, 2007 3:39 PM


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On its debut, the CD was hailed as "the ultimate in audio reproduction."

You have to hand it to the CD. Twenty-five years ago, August 17, 1982, the first discs rolled out of a plant near Hanover, Germany, and over the ensuing quarter-century—even with the advent of online delivery—the format has dominated the music distribution chain. In this day and age of rapid technology development, where the computer industry conforms to Moore’s Law and Gigabytes of storage can fit in an iPod-sized device, the CD has maintained its stature.

Sony professional audio VP Rick Plushner previewed the CD medium to the pro audio community at an Audio Engineering Society show in New York.

If you think about it, there’s no reason in the world that the CD should still exist. It tops out at 780 MB, 16 bits and 44.1 kHz. DVD-V held much more promise with its 5-gig capacity, with the added benefit of a video zone and surround capability, though it, too, is relegated to 16-bit. Blu-ray and DVD HD have emerged, upping the storage by a factor of 10 and delivering high-res picture and sound, though they are locked in a furious format war that may or may not be resolved during this holiday season. Still… the CD remains the primary carrier.

About five years ago, blank CD sales finally eclipsed pre-recorded CD sales, and certainly the writing is on the wall for the CD as a primary format for music delivery. But what a run. Tweny-five years and counting. So let’s all give a tip of the hat to the compact disc, and then let’s move on to the next robust format, whatever that may be.

For more detailed information on the development and history of the compact disc, including audio and video clips, and photos, visit Philips’ Website.

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