Definition

compact disc (CD)

Also see our Fast Guide to CD/DVD and x (compact disc access time).

A compact disc [sometimes spelled disk] (CD) is a small, portable, round medium made of molded polymer (close in size to the floppy disk) for electronically recording, storing, and playing back audio, video, text, and other information in digital form. Tape cartridges and CDs generally replaced the phonograph record for playing back music. At home, CDs have tended to replace the tape cartridge although the latter is still widely used in cars and portable playback devices.

Initially, CDs were read-only, but newer technology allows users to record as well. CDs will probably continue to be popular for music recording and playback. A newer technology, the digital versatile disc (DVD), stores much more in the same space and is used for playing back movies.

Some variations of the CD include:

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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