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Compact Disc (CD) Wiki: Know the Different Types of CDs

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

When you mention Compact Discs or CDs most people often think of music CDs or audio CDs. However, there is more to CDs than audio CDs.

Though the CD has many uses today, it was first introduced as an audio CD.

When Did Compact Discs First Come Out?

The first Compact Discs were manufactured in 1982. The CD format was the brainchild of Philips and Sony.

They were released as Compact Disc Digital Audio (CDDA).

These CDs could only be read. You couldn’t write or record on them.


Later, when computers became popular, the CD-ROM was introduced.

Denon, a Japanese company, developed the CD-ROM in 1982.

But it was not until 1984 that it was introduced at a computer show.

CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory.

The CD-ROM first received recognition in the Red Book. The Book specified that a CD-ROM could hold 650 million bytes (MB) of data.

The CD-ROM later received the ISO/IEC 10149 standardization in 1989.

CD-ROM was used to store software programs.

As early as 1987, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Bookshelf in the CD-ROM format.

In 1991, the Commodore Dynamic Total Vision was introduced.

It came with a CD-ROM drive.

A year later, Apple introduced the Macintosh IIxv. It came with CD-ROM drive support.

Soon, CD-ROM became popular as the ideal storage medium for software programs and video games.


The Recordable Compact Disc (CD-R) was introduced in 1991.

A CD-R disc was priced at about 5.45 euros.

CD-R supports audio CD specs. It supports the full 16-bit audio resolution and a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz


CD-RW stands for Compact Disc-Rewriteable.

CD-RW appeared in the market in 1997.

CD-RW discs were much more expensive than CD-R discs.

CD-RW supports audio CD specs like CD-R.

CD Video

The origin of the CD video can be traced back to the VLP (Video Long-Play) disc or Laser Disc, introduced in 1972.

It was a hit among Karaoke lovers in the USA and Japan. There wasn’t much interest in it in Europe though.

In 1987, Sony and Philips developed a CD capable of playing video.

CD Video raised eyebrows. However, it could not stand the onslaught of DVDs in the 2000s.

Read more about CD Video.


Launched in 1991, CD-I stands for CD- Interactive. It was later renamed CD-i.

This is a CD format that supported video, animation, and text and came with interactive features.

As its name suggests, users could interact with the CD-i content and the player.

In 1992, an extension of CD-i was introduced. Going by the name Full Motion Video, it was supposed to create an impact in the education and entertainment markets.

It had a storage capacity of 650MB similar to a standard CD-ROM.

That amount of space allowed for the storage of 7,000 images, 72 minutes of animation, or 19 hours of audio. Or it could be a combination of those.

The picture quality was impressive. Digital video supported 16 million colors.

CD-i attracted hundreds of players apart from Sony and Philips. However, it couldn’t compete with PCs and gaming consoles.


CD-i’s Full Motion Video inspired the creation of the VCD or the Video Compact Disc.

VCD, introduced in 1994, promised high-quality digital video and audio.

It has the same size as a standard CD. You could fit up to 70 minutes of AV content on a single disc. A full-length movie would require 2 discs.

VCD didn’t catch on except in some parts of Asia. DVD, all but displaced it.

Learn more about VCD.


SVCD stands for Super Video Compact Disc. It’s an improvement on the VCD format.

SVCD was created to improve the video quality of VCD. Video quality is certainly improved. Since it uses the MPEG-2 codec, video file size also increased.

Instead of getting 60 minutes of video on a CD, you get anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the type of compression you choose.

To put it simply, SVCD’s quality is somewhere in between VCD and DVD. Its resolution is 2/3 that of a DVD and 2.7 times the resolution of a VCD.

Read more about SVCD.

Photo CD

Photo CD is a disc format introduced in 1992 by Eastman Kodak. It allows the storing of good quality images to be stored on a CD.

Photo CD logo

The images are from film cameras, not digital cameras.

Photo Compact Discs were popularly used by professional photographers. They were also services that provided photo CD services.

Images are stored as Kodak Photo CD image files or in the PCD format which is a raster format.

You can store more than a hundred high-resolution digital images. The Photo CD format also supports the storage of slides and scanned prints.

You can view, edit and store Photo CD content on a computer.

You would need a special Kodak printer to print the images on a Photo CD.

Although the Photo CD format isn’t popular these days, there are still services offering it.


Philips – The History of the CD

CD-ROM Technology: A Manual for Librarians and Educators – Catherine Mambretti

Wikipedia – Compact Disc

Free Video Workshop