Optical Disc Introduction
NOTE: 1 inch (in) = 2.54 centimeters (cm) = 25.4 millimeters (mm). Also, ¥ = yen, which is the Japanese currency. The yen does not make a dollar/cents distinction like some other currencies do. This means that, from a U.S. perspective, everything is essentially priced in cents .
If you’ve ever seen a Compact Disc (CD), Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) , or Blu-ray Disc (BD), then you know what an optical disc looks like. Optical discs are flat and shiny circular digital storage devices with a hole in the middle for placing in an optical disc tray. Although the different optical disc formats have different storage capacities, they all have a nearly identical appearance. Additionally, although optical discs usually have a diameter of 12 cm (about 4.7 in), they may also have a smaller diameter of 8 cm (about 3.1 in) . The hole in the middle of an optical disc is always 1.5 cm (about 0.6 in) .
CDs, DVDs, and BDs can all be used to store the various types of computer files that exist, such as audio files, video files, Word files, etc. In terms of audio/video (AV) storage formats, these three disc types can be used for audio or video, but are typically used for only one of these purposes. This is further detailed below:
- CDs are typically used for audio. The audio format is CD Digital Audio (CD-DA or CDDA), while the video formats are Video CD (VCD) and Super VCD (SVCD). However, VCDs and SVCDs have limited compatibility    and are inferior to DVD-Video   .
- DVDs are typically used for SD video. There is an audio-specific DVD storage format known as DVD-Audio that competes with another format called Super Audio CD (SACD). However, Sony devices do not support the DVD-Audio format  while several other companies do not support the SACD format .
- BDs are typically used for HD video. There is, however, a record label called msm-studios that puts out audio BDs called "Pure Audio Blu-rays" that are compatible with all commercial BD players . Additionally, the HD DVD format was a format that temporarily competed with the BD format. BD won, and HD DVD discs are no longer produced.
A Brief Timeline of the Optical Disc
- Oct. 1, 1982 - Sony’s CDP-101, the first CD-DA player, launches in Japan for ¥168,000 .
- Mar. 1983 - The CDP-101 launches in the U.S. and other parts of the world [13 page 8] [14 page 46].
- Nov. 1, 1996 - Toshiba’s SD-3000, the first DVD-Video player,  launches in Japan for ¥77,000 .
- May 21, 1999 - Sony's SCD-1, the first Super Audio CD (SACD) player, launches in Japan for ¥500,000 .
- End of Dec. 1999 - Pioneer's DV-S10A and DV-AX10, the first DVD-Audio players, launch in Japan for ¥200,000 and ¥500,000 respectively. The additional expense of the DV-AX10 is due to the fact that it also plays SACDs  . There is a problem, however. These players are launched before the copy protection system for DVD-Audio is completed, meaning they end up having limited DVD-Audio compatibility .
- July 1, 2000 - Panasonic's DVD-A7 and DVD-A10, the first DVD-Audio players compatible with DVD-audio copy protection, launch in the U.S. for $999.95 and $1,199.95 respectively  .
- Apr. 10, 2003 - Sony's BDZ-S77, the first BD recorder, launches in Japan for ¥450,000. This product is not, however, compatible with commercial prerecorded BDs, which have yet to launch. Instead, it is meant for HDTV recording .
- Mar. 31, 2006 - Toshiba's HD-XA1, the first HD DVD player, launches in Japan for an open price, meaning retailers can choose the price .
- June 25, 2006 - Samsung’s BD-P1000, the first commercial BD player, launches in the U.S. for $999.99 .
- Nov. 7, 2006 - The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, an add-on device for the Xbox 360, launches in the U.S. for $199.99  .
- Nov. 11, 2006 - Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game console launches in Japan with a 20GB ¥59,800 version and a 60GB open-priced version. The PS3 is significant for optical discs and the HD DVD/BD format war because it has a built-in BD drive .
- Nov. 17, 2006 - The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player launches in Japan for ¥19,800  . Additionally, the 20GB PS3 launches in the U.S. and Canada for $499/$549 respectively while the 60GB PS3 is $599/$659 respectively .
- Mar. 23, 2007 - A 60GB PS3 with reduced PS2 compatibility launches in Europe for €599, the U.K. for £425, Australia for $999.95, New Zealand for $1,199.95, Africa, and the Middle East  .
- Feb. 19, 2008 - Toshiba announces that it is discontinuing its HD DVD business . This move basically ended the HD DVD format and thus the format war between HD DVD and BD.
1. Japanese yen. Wikipedia.
2. DVD Primer. Updated Sept. 6, 2000 and Nov. 14, 2004. ©2004, the DVD Forum.
3. Andy McFadden. Subject: [7-14] Can I get 80mm (3-inch “cd single”) CD-Rs?. Nov. 27, 2001. CD-Recordable FAQ. Jan. 9, 2010 - Version: 2.73. ©2010 Andy McFadden.
4. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A COMPACT DISC. Fire Controlman. Integrated Publishing.
5. Jim Taylor. [2.4.5] Is Video CD compatible with DVD?. DVD FAQ. Nov. 6, 2011. DVD Demystified. ©1996-2011 Jim Taylor.
6. Jim Taylor. [2.4.6] Is Super Video CD compatible with DVD?. DVD FAQ. Nov. 6, 2011. DVD Demystified. ©1996-2011 Jim Taylor.
7. Thread started by iknown on Apr. 9, 2009 10:57 AM GMT -5. Any Blu-Ray Players with Video CD Playback?. ©1995-2012 AVS Forum.com, Inc.
8. Jim Taylor. [3.4] What are the video details?. DVD FAQ. Nov. 6, 2011. DVD Demystified. ©1996-2011 Jim Taylor.
9. DualDisc FAQ. Oct. 28, 2004. ©2012 Sony Electronics Inc.
10. dvda-sacd. The Non-SACD Supporters Black List. May 28, 2007 4:49 AM GMT. ©2003/2012 QuadraphonicQuad.
11. Format. pureaudio-bluray.com. ©2012 msm-studios.
12. Chapter 9: Opposed by Everyone. Sony History. 1996. ©2012 Sony Corporation.
13. Tobias Kretschmer and Katrin Muehlfeld. Co-opetition in standard-setting: the case of the Compact Disc. Oct. 13, 2004. ©2012 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc.
14. Kees A. Schouhamer Immink. Shannon, Beethoven, and the Compact Disc. IEEE Information Theory Society Newsletter. Dec. 2007.
15. DVD Player. Toshiba Firsts of Their Kind. ©1995-2012 TOSHIBA CORPORATION.
16. Toshiba Introduces its First DVD-Video Player in Japan. Sept. 26, 1996. ©1995-2008 TOSHIBA CORPORATION.
17. Sony Launches the First Super Audio CD Player. Apr. 6, 1999. ©2012 Sony Corporation.
18. Pioneer Introduces Two DVD-Audio/DVD-Video Compatible Players and Other Related Products. Oct. 4, 1999. ©2012 Pioneer Corporation.
19. Pioneer's Announcement on DVD-Audio/DVD-Video Compatible Players Launch Schedule. Dec. 10, 1999. ©2012 Pioneer Corporation.
20. Jon Iverson. DVD-Audio is Finally Here. July 2, 2000. stereophile. ©SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA.
21. Martyn Williams. HD DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc: A History. Feb. 18, 2008 12:45 PM. ©1998-2012, PCWorld Communications, Inc. Discussion thread for article can be viewed here.
22. Toshiba Brings World's First HD DVD Player to the Japanese Market. Mar. 31, 2006. ©1995-2008 TOSHIBA CORPORATION.
23. SAMSUNG Launches Industry First Blu-ray Disc Player To The U.S. Market. June 15, 2006. ©1995-2012 SAMSUNG.
24. Xbox 360 Ushers in Exclusive New Worlds of Entertainment for Most-Anticipated Franchises Ever at X06. Sept. 27, 2006. ©2012 Microsoft.
25. Xbox 360 HD DVD Player. Wikipedia.
26. PLAYSTATION 3 Launches on November 11, 2006 in Japan. May 8, 2006. ©2006 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
27. Microsoft Showcases Library of Nearly 110 High-Definition Xbox 360 Games at the Tokyo Game Show. Sept. 20, 2006. ©2012 Microsoft.
28. PLAYSTATION 3 Launches on November 17, 2006 in North America. May 8, 2006. ©2006 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
29. PS3 to Launch in Europe and Australasia on 23rd March 2007. Jan. 25, 2007. ©PR Newswire Europe Limited.
30. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Announces Hardware Specification of PLAYSTATION®3 for Europe. Feb. 23, 2007. ©2012 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
31. Toshiba Announces Discontinuation of HD DVD Business. Feb. 19, 2008. ©1995-2008 TOSHIBA CORPORATION.