The bluffer's briefing: Compact discs

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The Independent Online
History: Announced in 1978; first sold in Japan 1982; launched in Europe and US on 1 March 1983.

Price of CD player in 1983: Around pounds 500.

Only complete opera available on CD in 1983: The Magic Flute.

First CD to sell a million: Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms in 1986.

Diameter of CD: 12cm (4 3/4 in).

Number of sound signal bits on an average CD: 5 billion.

Rotation speed: 200-500 revolutions per minute.

Laser reading speed: 4.3 million bits per sec.

Percentage of adults owning CDs in UK: 23%.

Year on which CD sales overtook LP sales: 1989.

Cost of CDs purchased in UK in 1992: pounds 525m.

Useful initials to drop into conversation: SBM (super-bit mapping), ANR (advanced noise-reshaping dither), DRE (dynamic range enhancement).

Other impressive terms: Pulse-code modulation, 16-bit word format, 44.1 kHz sampling rate, digital to analogue (D/A) converter, anti-aliasing filter, distortion of less than .004%, dynamic range of 90dB.

Other uses for CD: Coffee mat, frisbee, pie-crust template.

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