CDs celebrate 25th birthday

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CDs celebrate 25th birthday

Exactly 25 years ago today, on August 17 1982, Royal Philips Electronics manufactured the world's first compact disc at a factory in Langenhagen just outside Hanover.

Philips originally partnered with Sony to develop CD technology. As early as 1979, the two firms set up a joint taskforce of engineers to design the new digital audio disc.

Many decisions were made in the year to follow, such as the disc diameter. The original target storage capacity was one hour of audio content, for which a disc diameter of 115mm was sufficient.

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 the technical specifications for all CD and CD-Rom standards.

The Philips factory in Germany, where the world's first CD was pressed, belonged to the recording company Polygram, 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 at the same time, followed by a US and European market introduction in March 1983.

Philips claimed that the invention ushered in the technological revolution in the music industry that saw analogue give way to digital technology.

"The CD became a catalyst for further innovation in digital entertainment, helping pave the way for the launch of DVD and the introduction of Blu-ray optical media," the company stated.

"Having played a key role in the innovation of digital music, at home and on the move, consumers continue to witness huge advances in entertainment and lifestyle technologies."

According to estimates, over 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide over the past 25 years.
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