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A CD-R (Compact Disc-Recordable) is a variation of the Compact Disc invented by Philips and Sony. CD-R is a Write Once Read Many (WORM) optical medium, though the whole disk does not have to be entirely written in the same session.

CD-R retains a high level of compatibility with standard CD readers, unlike CD-RW - which can be re-written, but is not capable of playing on many readers, and also uses more expensive media.



The CD-R, originally named CD Write-Once (WO), specification was first published in 1988 by Philips and Sony in the 'Orange Book'. The Orange Book consists of several parts, furnishing details of the CD-WO, CD-MO (Magneto-Optic), and CD-RW (ReWritable). The latest editions have abandoned the use of the term "CD-WO" in favor of "CD-R", while "CD-MO" were very little used. Written CD-Rs and CD-RWs are, from a technical standpoint, fully compatible with the Audio CD (Red Book) and CD-ROM (Yellow Book) standards, although some hardware compatible with Red Book CDs may have difficulty reading CD-Rs and especially CD-RWs. They use Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation, CIRC error correction plus the third error correction layer defined for CD-ROM.

CD-R recording systems available in 1990 were similar to the washing machine-sized Meridian CD Publisher, based on the two-piece rack mount Yamaha PDS audio recorder costing $35,000, not including the required external ECC circuitry for data encoding, SCSI hard drive subsystem, and MS-DOS control computer. By 1992 the cost of typical recorders was down to $10–12,000, and in September 1995 Hewlett-Packard introduced its model 4020i manufactured by Philips, which at $995 was the first recorder to cost less than $1000.[1]

The dye materials developed by Taiyo Yuden made it possible for CD-R discs to be compatible with Audio CD and CD-ROM discs.

Initially in the United States, there was a market separation between "music" CD-Rs and "data" CD-Rs, the former being several times more expensive than the latter due to industry copyright arrangements with the RIAA.[2] Physically, there is no difference between the discs save for the Disc Application Flag that identifies their type: standalone audio recorders will only accept "music" CD-Rs to enforce the RIAA arrangement, while computer CD-R drives can use either type of media to burn either type of content.[3]

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