Exactly 25 years ago, on the 17th of August 1982, Royal Philips Electronics manufactured the very first compact disc at their factory near Hanover in Germany. The idea of a recording medium that can be read without actually touching it is in fact a little over 40 years old now as the first who introduced the concept of a disc read by a laser beam was an engineer unhappy with the quality of the
The invention of the compact disc meant that a new age of better audio quality started and the entire music industry profited the most. Historically speaking the humble read only compact disc is the ancestor of DVD disc and Blu-ray systems as it started the innovation in the digital recording industry. The technical specifications of the compact disc were set up from 1979 onwards as Sony and Philips formed a team of engineers whose task was to design and build a new digital audio disc. The first complete standard was presented in June 1980 and it is known today as the "Red Book" standard which contains all the original specifications. In order to increase the acceptance of the new medium among the industry and consumers, the two manufacturing companies took the road just opened by IBM who decided to make public the technical data of the first x86 compatible computer.
This move proved to be very inspired as the whole industry slowly shifted towards the new format. "When Philips teamed up with Sony to develop the CD, our first target was to win over the world for the CD. We did this by collaborating openly to agree on a new standard. For Philips, this open innovation was a new approach - and it paid off. In the late 70s and early 80s, we never imagined that one day the computing and entertainment industries would also opt for the digital CD for storing the growing volume of data for computer programs and movies," said Piet Kramer, one of the engineers from Philips who worked at the original project.
During its 25 years of life the compact disc was sold in record numbers, some estimates reaching the figure of more than 200 billion. The CD is the ancestor of all the modern day optical storage mediums like CD-Rom, CD-R and CD-RW, DVD, DVD R, DVD RW and Blu-ray.