Compact Discs became popular in the mid 1980s. Still the most popular means of distributing music to the masses these days, and probably will continue like this until the RIAA have kicked all file-sharing networks firmly in the nuts. Also great for mass data storage. Since the early 80s, a number of standards have been created to reflect the capabilities of advancing technology.
- Red Book - this first standard was created in 1980 by Sony and Phillips. This was capable of holding 99 tracks lasting a total of 74 minutes. Music is recorded at 44kHz with a 16 bit resolution.
- Yellow Book - appearing in 1983, this standard formed the basis of CD-ROM and CD-ROM/XA. This was capable of holding 650MB of data. The two types of tracks available were Mode 1 (computer data) and Mode 2 (compresed audio). A third track type (the XA extension) allowed interleaved computer and audio data. Yellow book also made another five compression rates available: 37.8kHz/8 bit, 37.8kHz/4 bit, 18.9kHz/4 bit, 22kHz/8 bit, 11kHz/8 bit.
- I'm not sure the term 'compression' is quite right; it's just lower-resolution audio. Oh, and i think XA introduced multisession capability (whereby a CD can be written bit by bit, in several sessions - very useful if you use CDs to move a few tens of megs of data at a time)
- Green Book - introduced by Phillips, this standard arrived in 1986 and allowed CD-Interactive technology. Audio and data tracks could be synchronised to produce full motion, interactive video.
- Orange Book - this standard outlines the current generation of erasable CDs. This technology is currently available as CD-RWs (rewritable CDs).
- White Book is the final standard. It outlines what is known as video compact discs (VCDs). This happens to cover DVDs - Digital Versatile Discs.
There's a blue book format as well, which came about after White Book, but didn't herald anything very exciting to the lay-person.
Recently, certain music companies released their CDs with a garbled data track. This confused operating systems, causing the CD to be unplayable, and hence unrippable (uncopyable). Apple Macs suffered the most, with many having to be taken apart in computer repair shops to remove the offending CD. Turns out that this could be remedied by scribbling over the data track with a marker pen.
(See also Borked Recordings, for times when the manufacturers of a CD don't play ball with the specifications.)
"So, CNN call us up and ask: "Could you demonstrate the magic marker trick for defeating copy protection on Celine Dion CDs?" continued : http://www.ntk.net/2002/05/24/