[AI] The CD is 25 today

Rajesh Asudani rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in
Fri Aug 17 02:08:13 EDT 2007

Yes, the CD     may be on its way out and audio cassettes may be a thing 
unheard of in affluent parlors in a few years from now.

However, even audio cassettes are profoundly useful to  blind students 
studying in Indian languages. This, I have personally witnessed here and we 
are running a huge audio library and recording centre for marathi/hindi 
study and other books.

The affordability and the ease of creation do not go always hand in hand 
with all new inventions.

Besides, I do have fond memories to cherish of audio cassettes, the people 
who put in their valuable time and efforts without a murmur in lending their 
voice to the matter I studied for all these years.

I am by no means opposing progress, but e text and other recordings on MP3 
etc. do not have the affordability and above all, ease of creation for an 
ordinary blind person. Not at least, for now.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rajesh Asudani" <rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 11:26 AM
Subject: [AI] The CD is 25 today

> The CD is 25 today
> - Photo: AP
> Pieter Kramer with a model of the CD player introduced in August 1982.
> EINDHOVEN: It was August 17, 1982, and row upon row of palm-sized plates 
> with a rainbow sheen began rolling off an assembly line near Hannover, 
> Germany.
> An engineering marvel at the time, today they are instantly recognisable 
> as Compact Discs, a product that turns 25 years old on Friday - and whose 
> future
> in an age of iPods and MP3 players is increasingly in doubt.
> Those first CDs contained Strauss' Alpine Symphony and would sound equally 
> sharp if played today, says Holland's Royal Philips Electronics, which 
> jointly
> developed the CD with Sony of Japan.
> The project that brought digital audio to the masses was a risky technical 
> endeavour back then, said Pieter Kramer, the head of the optical research 
> group
> at Philips' labs in the Netherlands in the 1970s. "When we started there 
> was nothing in place," he said at Philips' corporate museum here.
> The proposed semiconductor chips needed for CD players were to be the most 
> advanced ever used in a consumer product. And the lasers were still on the 
> drawing
> board when the companies teamed up in 1979.
> In 1980, they published the "Red Book" containing the original CD 
> standards, as well as specifying which patents were held by Philips and 
> which by Sony.
> Philips had developed the bulk of the disc and laser technology, while 
> Sony contributed the digital encoding that allowed for smooth, error-free 
> playback.
> Philips still licenses out the Red Book and its later incarnations, 
> notably for the CD-ROM.
> The jump into mass production in Germany was a milestone for the CD, and 
> two weeks later the companies announced their product was ready for 
> market. Both
> began selling players that year.
> Sony sold the first player in Japan on October 1, with CBS supplying Billy 
> Joel's "52nd Street" as its first album.
> The CD's design drew inspiration from vinyl records: like the grooves on a 
> record, CDs are engraved with a spiral of tiny pits that are scanned by a 
> laser
> - the equivalent of a record player's needle. The reflected light is 
> encoded into millions of 0s and 1s: a digital file. Because the pits are 
> covered with
> plastic and the laser's light does not wear them down, it never loses 
> sound quality.
> Legends abound about how the size of the CD was chosen: some said it 
> matched a Dutch beer coaster; others that a famous conductor or Sony 
> executive wanted
> it just long enough for Beethoven's 9th Symphony.
> But Mr. Kramer said the decision evolved from "long conversations around 
> the table" about which play length made the most sense.
> By 1986, CD players were outselling record players, and by 1988 CDs 
> outsold records. "It was a massive turnaround for the whole market," Mr. 
> Covers said.
> Now, the CD may be seeing the end of its days. "The MP3 and all the little 
> things that the boys and girls have in their pockets... can replace it, 
> absolutely,"
> said Mr. Kramer. - AP
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