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Tomorrow's News: The CD is Dead 21 January 2002 Edition
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When the first few copy-protected audio CDs were released, many of those who found the disks unplayable on their PCs were outraged and complained that they should not be allowed to carry the "Compact Disk" name and logo.

The logo and name are supposed to indicate that the disk complies with the standards which have been laid down for such media -- and it does indeed appear that at least some of the anti-copying schemes currently in use do violate those standards.

Now Philips, the Dutch electronics company which oversees just who can and can't use the name and logo, have also come to the same conclusion and has voiced its concerns in a story carried by Reuters and several other newswires.

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Philips says that it objects to recording companies calling their disks a "Compact Disk" because when you buy one, "you're not buying a compact disc, but something different."

Of course it could be argued that Philips are not only bitching because they are a guardian of the standards -- but also because they make a range of consumer and semi-professional audio systems that include CD copiers. If those systems are suddenly rendered far less functional then it's not going to be good for the company's bottom line right?

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So, it would appear that (as I have predicted previously) the audio "Compact Disk" is about to die a rather strange death.

Look for the recording companies to create their own "new" standard for audio disks -- a standard that includes provision for copy protection.

Perhaps we should run a sweepstake as to what they call this new standard -- but if Philips have their way, the recording you buy tomorrow won't carry the same logo or the name it did yesterday.

One of the funniest things about this whole fiasco is that the recording industry seems not to have noticed that many of the more technically aware people out there have moved way beyond plain old CDs anyway.

Today, even the Warehouse sells "mini CDRs" which hold 300MB of data (that's enough for about 60 MP3 tracks) and are just 80mm in diameter.

Given that the original CD format has been around for some 20 years, and given the very low cost of media, surely it's about time a radically new format was produced.

With the current state of technology, it should be possible to store an entire album in digital form on a 50mm disk that would be ideal for the very popular "walkman" type machines as well as in-home systems.

We'd all benefit from improved fidelity, portability and flexibility -- and the recording industry would get the chance to build in their copy-control systems.

As with any transition between formats, it would probably be necessary to publish music in both the old and new formats -- but conversion to the updated standard could be encouraged by shipping both disks in the same packaging. When you bought a CD, you'd also get a copy of the album in the new format at no extra charge. This way, you'd be more inclined to update your equipment to the new format because you'd already have a copy of your collection in that format.

Of course the whole idea of actually providing a customer with two copies of an album for the price of one is likely to be totally abhorrent to the recording industry -- and the "invest a little to recoup a lot" strategy will probably fail to pass their scrutiny because of the word "invest."

So, rather than take a proactive approach so as to move things forward, it would appear very much that the recording companies may be about to take a giant step sideways -- leaving us with excessively bulky disks that use a comparatively low sampling rate and have a growing number of other problems.

Is it any wonder that people are ripping tracks from these archaic disks and storing them in far more useful formats?

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