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How the CD was developed

The first compact disc was produced exactly 25 years ago in a factory in Germany after years of development by Philips and Sony. We take a look at the humble disc's history and how it shaped the music landscape.

  • The compact disc project was launched following Philips' failure with its video disc technology in 1978.

  • The video disc was one of the first commercial products to take advantage of laser technology that could read information from a disc without any physical contact.

  • Research into the video disc began as far back as 1969, and itself was inspired by Italian Antonio Rubbiani, who had demonstrated a rudimentary video disc system 12 years earlier.

  • In 1970 Philips began work on what was called the ALP (audio long play) - an audio disc system to rival vinyl records, but using laser technology.

  • Lou Ottens, technical director of the audio division at Philips, was the first to suggest that the ALP be made smaller than the dominant vinyl format and should aim for one hour of music.

  • The project initially flirted with the idea of quadraphonic sound but a disc with one hour of music had to be 20cm in diameter and so the plan was abandoned.
Read full article at BBC Technology News
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