Sony pitches blue-laser Compact Disc revival
Compatible with Red Book CD standard
Sony failed to tune the masses into its better-than-Compact-Disc format, Super Audio CD, so it's having another go, this time with technology derived from Blu-ray Disc.
Dubbed Blu-spec CD, the system uses a blue laser to write the audio data rather than a red laser. And... er... that's it. The format delivers exactly the same recording capacity as a CD and uses the audio encoding mechanism enshrined in the CD bible, the so-called Red Book.
The upshot: Blu-spec CDs can be played in old-style CD and DVD players, Sony Music Entertainment (SME), the giant's Japanese audio operation, said yesterday.
The secret's in the better definition of the pits
In which case, why bother? Sony's pitch is that Blu-spec CD is all about increasing the physical quality of the pit-making process by which audio data is embedded on the disc. Blu-burned pits are better defined which, in turns, means they can be read more accurately which reduces errors and makes for better-sounding music.
It's not an entirely philanthropic move: shifting to Blu-spec means SME can eliminate red-laser production equipment in favour of blue-only systems, allowing its disc production facilities to punch out Blu-spec CDs alongside Blu-ray Discs, cutting costs.
SMA also gets to charge more the for the same content: ¥2500-4200 ($25.57-42.97/£15.80-27.15), rather more than CDs cost.
Will Japanese consumers go for it? SME is launching some 60 Blu-spec CDs, covering a wide range of musical genres, on 24 December to see. Will it ever debut over here? Somehow, in the age of iTunes and SanDisk's SlotMusic, we doubt it.