Friday, August 17, 2007

Compact disc: happy 25th anniversary

It is anniversary day for the Compact Disc in general and the audio compact disc especially. As the reworked press release of Philips says:

Exactly 25 years ago tomorrow, on August 17, 1982, Royal Philips Electronics manufactured the world's first compact disc at a Philips factory in Langenhagen, just outside of Hanover, Germany. The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry as CDs ­ with their superior sound quality and scratch free durability ­ marked the beginning of the shift from analogue to digital music technology. The CD became a catalyst for further innovation in digital entertainment, helping pave the way for the launch of DVD and the current introduction of Blu-ray optical media.

The Philips factory in Germany, where the world's first CD was pressed, belonged to Polygram ­ the recording company, which Philips owned at the time. The first CD to be manufactured at the plant was 'The Visitors' by ABBA. By the time CDs were introduced on the market in November 1982, a catalogue of around 150 titles ­ mainly classical music ­ had been produced. The first CDs and CD players ­ including Philips' CD100 ­ were introduced in Japan in November, followed by a US and European market introduction in March of 1983.

CD audio introduction by Mr Joop Sinjou (c Sinjou)

Philips and Sony partnered to develop CD ­ collaboration based on open innovation helped position CD as standard for the music industry As early as 1979, Philips and Sony set up a joint task force of engineers to design the new digital audio disc. this open innovation was a new approach ­ and it paid off, as Piet Kramer, a member of the developing team, said.Many decisions were made in the year to follow ­ such as the disc diameter. The original target storage capacity for a CD was one hour of audio content, and a disc diameter of 115 mm was sufficient for this, however both parties extended the capacity to 74 minutes to accommodate a complete performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. In June 1980, the new standard was proposed by Philips and Sony as the 'Red Book' containing all the technical specification for all CD and CD-Rom standards.

When the music industry sales of CDs started to take off, more than 1000 different titles were on the market in 1985. In that year, one of the most famous bands in the world, Dire Straits, adopted the CD. The infamous album 'Brothers in Arms', as one of the first fully digital recording (DDD) to be brought to market, went on to become the top selling CD at the time, and the third greatest selling CD of the decade. The joint collaboration with Philips entailed Philips and Dire Straits jointly promoting the sound quality of the CD to consumers, making 'Brothers in Arms' the first album to sell over one million copies in this new format, marking the success of the CD as the emerging format of choice for music quality.

'The Compact Disc has played a pivotal role in the shift from analogue music to digital, not least for the DVD as well in music, though moreover in helping lay the foundation for even new technologies such as Blu-ray quality today.

The Compact Disc, is the forefather of today's extensive family of optical discs for a wide range of applications such as CD-Rom, CD-R and CD-RW, DVD, DVD R, DVD RW and Blu-ray. Philips estimates that over the past 25 years, since the first CD was pressed at the Philips factory near Hanover, Germany, over 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide. Even though a single CD is only 1.2 mm thick, if all CDs ever produced were piled up, the stack of CDs would circle the earth six times. The compact disc, as well as the DVD disc, remain a very popular music/ video carrier, because of their digital quality, portability, and resilience to damage.

(BTW I still remember that in August 1983 I was sitting in the garden of my friends Herman and Ria and Herman and Herman had made up his mind to buy an audio CD player. And he did so; he was a very early adapter. Later on we had discussions on rot damage of CDs after 10 years; did not hear any discussions like that lately).

Blog Posting Number: 841


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