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The Music Compact Disc Celebrates a Major Milestone; CD Turns 20

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The year 1983 made a significant mark on American pop culture. Mohawks were in fashion along with stonewashed jeans, long t-shirts and leg warmers. Cabbage Patch dolls and Rubik’s Cubes were the must have toys. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police topped the Billboard chart, and compact discs first hit the shelves at the local music store. Twenty years later, most of those fads have gone by the wayside.

However, the compact disc has shown itself to be a proven technology –- despite wary merchants and consumers when it first became available. Unlike its predecessors, the 45, LP, 8-track and cassette tape, the CD has not only taken the electronics industry by storm, but has recreated itself along the way. “The CD is one of the most successful and most prevalent mediums for storage of music and information ever conceived,” said Steve Jean, director of product planning at Philips Consumer Electronics, North America.

“It is a remarkable feat of engineering - playing music from a disc while there is no physical contact with the medium itself. This technology is a far cry from the days of vinyl when records got scratched and dirty which rapidly wore them out.” *History of the CD In 1969, Klaas Compaan a Dutch physicist working for Philips, came up with the idea for a “laser disc,” primarily meant for movie distribution (like DVD today).

A glass prototype of the disc was developed at Philips a year later. In the late 1970s, the marketing focus was shifted to music, and Philips and other consumer electronics experts demonstrated a prototype CD system in Europe and Japan as a joint collaboration. The system was made available to consumers in those countries in the fall of 1982. CD technology became available in the United States the following spring, and caught on quickly.

In 1983, the first year they were available, 800,000 compact discs were sold in the United States. By 1990, that number soared to 288 million discs sold in the U.S. and nearly a billion worldwide. It is estimated that over 12 billion discs have been sold worldwide to date. The technology is constantly evolving. When first introduced to the market, consumers could only listen to music prerecorded on the compact discs from the factory.

Today, consumers have the ability to create their own compilations or data discs using CD-Rs and CD-RWs from their own sources. In addition, the evolution of the CD-ROM has changed the way data can be stored via a computer and even takes photo storage and sharing to a new level with Photo CDs. The CD led to the creation of the DVD, which has become the chosen format for video, multimedia and game applications.

In addition, Philips co-created the Super Audio CD (SACD), which provides a revolutionary musical experience by putting listeners in the center of a three-dimensional listening experience. SACD creates one of the most life-like audio reproduction available to date, while still maintaining full compatibility to its older cousin, the CD.

“Today the CD is not only the most successful music format, its cousin, the CD-ROM, is the standard for data storage for PCs and laptops of all types,” said Jean. “With the instant access to any selection, no need to rewind or fast forward, the incredible dynamic range and noise free reproduction, the CD is today’s standard for music around the world.”

Courtesy of ARA Content SIDEBAR Timeline of CD Technology 1969 Klaas Compaan, a Dutch physicist at Philips, develops the idea for the laser disc. 1970 At Philips, Compaan and Piet Kramer complete a glass disc prototype and determine that indeed a laser will be needed to read the information from the disc. 1972 Compaan and Kramer produce and demonstrate a prototype of this new laser disc technology reproducing a movie in full color and resolution.

1978 Philips proposes that a worldwide standard be set. 1979 Prototype Compact Disc System demonstrated in Europe and Japan as a joint collaboration by Philips and other consumer electronics manufacturers, intended for digitally reproducing music at home. 1982 Compact disc technology is introduced to Europe and Japan in the fall.

1983 Compact disc technology introduced in the United States in the spring, More than 800,000 CDs are sold in the U.S. alone. 1984 CD-ROM prototypes shown to public. Portable CD players released. 1985 CD-ROM drives hit the computer market. 1986 CD-I concept created. 1987 Video CD format created. 1988 CD-Recordable disc/recorder technology introduced. 1990 288 million music discs sold in the U.S. and nearly a billion worldwide. 1991 CD-I format achieved, CD-Recordable introduced to the market.

1996 DVD technology introduced. 1997 DVD players/movies hit the market. 1998 DVD-RAM, DVD-Recordable systems/equipment hit the market.

1999 DVD+RW technology introduced and DVD-video becomes mainstream.

2001 Philips launches the next generation of the CD, the Super Audio CD format at the Consumer Electronics Show

2001 DVD+RW recorders hit the market, as home video recorders and as PC data drives. 2002 CD celebrates 20 years in production

*Source: One Off Media, Inc., www.oneoffcd.com, Philips Electronics For more information, contact either Deanna Anderson at (404) 870-6834 or Megan McGovern at (404) 870-6852. Their e-mail addresses are deanna.anderson@mslpr.com; megan.mcgovern@mslpr.com ."

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