PC Hardware

Development of the CD

The development of the computer CD roughly paralleled the audio (music) CD:

  • In 1979, the CD, as a storage medium, was introduced in the audio industry.

  • In 1985, the CD came to the computer industry. Development was slow because the hardware was too expensive for most manufacturers and users.

  • In 1991, the CD-ROM/XA standard was enhanced, and multimedia requirements for hardware were specified.

  • In 1993, high-quality video playback came to the computer.

  • Today, the price of CD-ROM drives continues to drop, while their speed climbs. Approximately 85 percent of all computers include an internal CD-ROM drive as standard equipment. Most software packages are shipped in CD-ROM versions (3.5-inch disk versions are available but usually only by special order, and often they do not contain all the extras of the CD version).

About CD-ROM Standards

The CD-ROM world makes use of several standards. These are usually referred to by the color of the cover of the volume issued by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) committee-for example, the White Book, Yellow Book, and so on. ISO formats are discussed in more detail later in this lesson.

CD-ROMs store data as a series of 1s and 0s, just like a floppy disk or a hard disk drive. However, instead of using magnetic energy to read and write data, CD readers and writers use laser energy. There are two major advantages to using lasers:

  • There is no physical contact between the surface of the CD and the reading device.

  • The diameter of the laser beam is so small that storage tracks can be written very close together, allowing more data to be stored in a smaller space.