More technology ahead in home audio market

December 13, 1992|By J.D. Considine

I have seen the future of home audio, and it looks like alphabet soup.

If you've read the accompanying story, you already know about DAT, MD and DCC, and how those anagrams might fit into your home entertainment plans.

But wait -- there's more. You can also upgrade your home system (that is, your television and stereo) to include CD-I and CD+G. Or a combi-disc unit that plays CDs and LDs. You could wire in your PC to take advantage of CD-ROM. Eventually, there'll even be recordable CD-WORM or CD-E players available.

To technophiles, this promise of a brave new world of entertainment hardware seems a dream come true. To everyone else, however, it's as inscrutable as digital code.

CD-I? CD-E? CD-ROM? CD-WORM? SOS!

Calm down -- it's easy enough to understand once you decipher the initials.

* CD (compact disc): Usually means audio recordings, but can be applied to any 5-inch optical disc storage system.

l,1l * LD (laser disc): A larger optical disc system used for storing movies and video.

* CD+G (compact disc with graphics): A CD that includes graphics -- either text or illustration -- in addition to music. Can be played on either CD+G or CD-I players.

* CD-I (compact disc interactive): A true multimedia format, this CD-based system not only stores sound, text and/or pictures, but allows for video-game-style input from the viewer. Current models deliver only video-game-style animation, but future models will include full-motion video.

* CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory): Like computer floppy discs, the CD-ROM disc stores data -- text, maps, graphics, programs, whatever. Used mostly with computers or video games.

* CD-WORM (compact disc write-once, read-many): A recordable format, this only allows the user to store data once -- no erasing or recording over. Has seen some use in computers, but has not as yet been marketed as a consumer product.

* CD-E (compact disc erasable): A recordable CD that can both store and erase. So far only in the planning stages, but Philips has announced plans to market a consumer unit by 1996.

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