March 2, 1983

March2On this day in 1983, the first CD players were released in America (and worldwide), along with 16 albums on CD.

The compact disc (CD) was developed together by the Dutch company Philips and Japan’s Sony. Both Sony and Philips were already working separately on digital audio playback systems when they decided to work together. Japan would release its player six months before the U.S.

A CD16-bit digital data – encoded using 44,100 samples per second – while a CD player contains a digital-to-analog converter that translates the data into audio so that it can be heard. CD players used optical lasers to read the data on the discs. The CDP-101 had a horizontal loading tray system and the case and front panel were made of plastic.

According to Philips, more than five million CD players were sold worldwide in 1985, with sales doubling in 1986. In October 1982, Japan was selling their system for 168,00 yen ($730 USD). The compact disc eventually became more sought after than vinyl records and audio cassettes.

During the development of the CD, Sony argued in favour of a 75-minute playing time because it would allow a recording of Beethoven’s ninth symphony to fit onto one single disc.

The U.S. had relied solely on Japan and Germany for its CDs until September of 1984, when the new Sony-owned Digital Audio Disc Corporation plant in Terre Haute, Ind., manufactured its first commercial CD.

Rather fitting, that CD was Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.

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