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A History of the Compact Disc

The compact disc, or CD, was developed as a result of the evolution of LaserDisc technology. Both Philips and Sony scurried to develop prototypes during the 1970s and they later worked together to produce a standard format and player which was eventually made available to the public in 1982.

The Dawn

The origin of the CD has many stories and several trailblazers to thank for experimenting and figuring out ways to make a disk like the CD available to the public. Although many people claim different inventors of the CD, the early credit should go to three men: Emil Berliner for his proving that flat discs work better for transmitting sounds than the round phonograph, Thomas Edison for his invention of the gramophone record and Antonio Rubbianifor his experimentation with digital video.

However the actual CD was not produced until L.Ottens constructed a team of seven people to create an audio disc that produced a better sound quality than the vinyl record. They set out in 1974 and eventually developed a lab that allowed for more testing and prototypes than ever expected.

The original thought was to develop a CD that had a diameter of 20cm, however this was later changed to 11.5cm to match the diagonal length of a cassette tape.

During that time, Sony joined the race by displaying an optical audio disc in the fall of 1976.

Joining forces

In 1976, Philips and Sony created a joint task force of experts and engineers to create a brand new disc. The task force was headed by ToshitadaDoi and KeesSchouhamerImmink, and after a year of testing, they released the Red Book CD-DA standard which was released in 1980 and later recognised as the international standard in 1987.

The small team was split by representatives from each company and each person was there for their own area of expertise. Representatives from Sony focused on error-correction and Philips representatives focused primarily on the manufacturing process.

The first CDs and players

Langenhagen, Germany was the sight of where the first CD was pressed. The Poydor Pressing Operations plant created the CD with a recording of Richard Strauss’s EineAlpensisfonie. Mass production began in 1982. The first musical album to be release on CD was Billy Joel’s 52nd street, which was sold beside Sony’s brand new CD player CDP-101. This release occurred on October 1, 1982 and led to an explosion of sales in CDs and CD players.

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