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COMPACT DISK (CD)

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The most common CD is an audio CD, or more precisely a CD-DA (Compact Disk-Digital Audio). This type of CD is a machine pressed aluminum disk (which reflects the laser beam that reads the disk). The aluminum disk is coated on the playing surface (bottom) with polycarbonate plastic. It has a top surfaced with lacquer. It consists of up to 99 stereo tracks using 16-bit pulse-code modulation (PCM) coding at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. It is about 4.7 inches (120mm) in diameter and stores digital information. A CD is played on a player that uses a laser beam to read the imprinted information. The disk can hold up to 90 minutes of music or 800 megabytes of computer data.

Most commercially sold music CDs have about 60 minutes (12 compositions) of music on each disk. The sounds recorded on a CD playback to near perfection with no surface noise and with full dynamic range. The disk does not deteriorate with use as did the old vinyl type record. See Cross-links: SOUND--A CLOSER LOOK.

In the record industry CD masters are cut by laser onto a glass blank from which metal stampers are made. These stampers are then used to machine press the production copies. The pressing cost of a CD is about 7 percent of its retail price. Packaging costs are an additional 7 percent. See Cross-links: RECORD, CONTRACT-RECORDING CONTRACT clause #33, COMPUTER under "Disk," and "Magnetic Disk."

A second common type of CD is the CD-ROM (Compact Disc-Read-Only Memory). CD-ROMs are played via a CD-ROM drive with a computer. These types of CDs are called "Multimedia" since they are capable of reproducing sound, video, text, and graphics. See Cross-links: MULTIMEDIA, RECORD.

A third type of CD is the CD-R (Compact Disc-Recordable). This type of CD is used, via a CD-R drive, to record multimedia data. A CD-R disk is constructed differently than a regular CD. In place of the aluminum, as in a CD-DA and CD-ROM, the CD-R has a layer of organic dye. This dye is the recording medium. A thin layer of gold is used to protect the dye. Gold is used because it does not corrode. The gold reflects the laser beam in the same way as the aluminum layer does in the CD-DA and CD-ROM.

CD technology was originally developed by Philips and Sony who now license the technology. All licensees must comply with the "Color Book" specifications put forth by Philips and Sony. The Color Book specifies the standards for recording and reading computer data on CDs. The Red Book is used for CD-DAs and the Yellow Book is used for CD-ROMs.

See Cross-links: MULTIMEDIA, RECORD.

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