Why are CD-Roms the same size as 25 years ago?

This is a discussion on Why are CD-Roms the same size as 25 years ago? within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Does anyone know why the CD-Rom(and drive) has not been miniturised? Is there a technical reason? I'd think the technology ...

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    In my head happyclown's Avatar
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    Why are CD-Roms the same size as 25 years ago?

    Does anyone know why the CD-Rom(and drive) has not been miniturised? Is there a technical reason? I'd think the technology is available to make this a reality.

    I've seen CDs(data) the size of business cards, so why is this not the standard? If the size was halved, they could fit drives into netbooks, giving them greater capabilities, and thereby replacing the cumbersome notebooks/laptops.

    When do you think the size of the CD-Rom will change? 5 years? 10? Never?
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    and the hat of sweating
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    I've also seen CDs that weren't even round, but oval shaped!
    When I saw it, I was like, "what the F is this?"
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    Backward compatibility.

    If you keep the same size, it's a lot cheaper to make backward-compatible hardware.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyclown View Post
    When do you think the size of the CD-Rom will change? 5 years? 10? Never?
    I'm taking bets.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    This discussion has the potential to tick me off as bad as that one time I listened to someone say that DVDs would become obsolete, in favor of streaming systems. ROM is serious business. I certainly hope CDs wont change.

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    Just a pushpin. bernt's Avatar
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    Backward compatibility.

    If you keep the same size, it's a lot cheaper to make backward-compatible hardware.
    Agreed, but it's not so much making backward-compatible hardware as convincing people to switch to the new standard. Note that in order for CDs to be truly shrunk (ie, same capacity, smaller size) they must have a smaller track [the spiral of bits track, not music tracks]. And that means everyone has to go out and buy new CD players to use the new discs. You might as well make a new media with the smaller track/bigger capacity. And make it useful for video playback. And give it a three-letter acronym starting and ending with the letter D.

    I've seen CDs(data) the size of business cards
    They hold less data, though. The track is the same size as a normal CD, it's just shorter. Honestly I don't think any changes will ever come to the CD; you could just make a smaller DVD (which is already standard in video cameras) with at least the capacity of a CD. Or, with the new blu-ray, you could probably make at least a DVD-sized mini disc (actually this has been done already).
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    It's called a mini-disk, they are 80mm instead of 120mm, and like bernt says have a smaller capacity. I have a few "driver disks" around that came with cheap little usb devices, they are normal data cdroms (if you look at your CDROM tray, notice it has that little smaller recessed part -- that's for mini-disks to sit in).

    I know you can get mini-disk only diskman type players, they are quite a bit more compact, but obviously you cannot play a full size cd in them. I just googled around for CDROM mini-disk drives and could not find any. Since this stuff has been around about as long as the full size CD, I imagine plenty of marketing research has been done and there is simply not really a demand here, happyclown. After all, you can plug your netbook into a USB CD drive if you want at home, and you can store way more data on key drives. If someone did manufacture something like this, it is going to cost at least $100, and that's like 30% of the cost of a netbook anyway...
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Sometimes there isn't a need to change something that already works. Plus given the proliferation of CD's out there changing the size now would be an economic nightmare. This is why I feel that tech such as Blu-Ray hasn't really taken off. Buy Blu-ray and you force yourself into paying 1.5 times as much for the same product you have at home on your shelf. The quality difference is simply not worth the money to all but the geekiest of customers. Sure Blu-ray players now play DVD's as well....but then why buy it if you are only going to use it to play normal DVD's?

    Technology for changing the size of CD's/DVD's is definitely available but the economic support is simply not there. Technology can really only advance so far due to economics. Tech is great but companies have to make a profit off of said tech before it is worth anything. One thing is for sure and that is until the economies of the world get back on track you won't see any move to change existing technology that would require huge budgets to implement. I think CD-makers are just happy now that people are still buying them.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 04-10-2010 at 01:34 PM.

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    &TH of undefined behavior Fordy's Avatar
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    I want CD's to stay as they are. Some of the albums on my shelf were bought as records, then tape now CD. I dont want to have to buy the same album again.

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    There's no compelling reason to switch to something smaller.

    We switched from records to tape because records are HUGE. We switched from tape to CD because the audio quality difference is quite noticeable, and CDs are more durable and allows fast random seeking.

    There is so far no good reason to switch from CDs because CD quality is already better than what our ear can distinguish (human ears stop at 20kHz, and CD's 44kHz sampling rate is already greater than the Nyquist frequency), and the size is pretty small. Anything much smaller would require a bigger case to avoid losing it.

    We can improve on the capacity at the same form factor, and we already did.

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    chococoder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordy View Post
    I want CD's to stay as they are. Some of the albums on my shelf were bought as records, then tape now CD. I dont want to have to buy the same album again.
    Which is the perfect reason for the industry to change the format, of course.
    Except that people no longer fall for it so readily. DAT failed, minidisc failed, etc. etc. etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    ... This is why I feel that tech such as Blu-Ray hasn't really taken off. Buy Blu-ray and you force yourself into paying 1.5 times as much for the same product you have at home on your shelf. The quality difference is simply not worth the money to all but the geekiest of customers.
    I wouldn't go so far as to call every purchaser of LCD TVs over the last couple of years "geekiest of customers". People want HD TVs and the prerecorded media (movies) to keep up with the viewing quality that's possible.

    Unless you're calling everyone who bought an up-to-date TV in the last few years a geek.
    Ok, well, I'll just call everyone who doesn't have a blu-ray player a luddite.

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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyclown View Post
    Does anyone know why the CD-Rom(and drive) has not been miniturised? Is there a technical reason? I'd think the technology is available to make this a reality.
    What would be the point? If I want a smaller medium, I can buy an 8 gig USB stick that fits in my pocket.
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    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    If I want a smaller medium, I can buy an 8 gig USB stick that fits in my pocket.
    O_o

    I can buy (a)/(an)

    ... USB powered 320GB HDD ...

    ... 64GB SDHC cards ...

    ... 1TB SDXC cards ...

    ... ~128GB USB 3.0 "thumb" drives ...

    that fits in my pocket.


    What would be the point?
    Indeed.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonoob View Post
    I wouldn't go so far as to call every purchaser of LCD TVs over the last couple of years "geekiest of customers". People want HD TVs and the prerecorded media (movies) to keep up with the viewing quality that's possible
    I've seen it before and I don't understand this argument. I have a 42 inch LCD TV and I don't miss not having Blu-Ray. I actually have an hard time seeing how I can benefit from it that justifies the increased costs associated with a Blu-Ray player. Exactly Bubba's argument.

    And I tried it, trust me. All I needed was to bribe my neighbor with a computer game to have him lend me his Blu-Ray for a couple of days so I could see for myself if it was worth it, before I decided to buy one.

    Now, if I had a projection screen, or a much larger TV set, or maybe a top of the line home theater... dunno. But while I do not deny Blu-Ray has something to offer, I do not think it has anything to offer to the vast majority of homes out there. And that's why it's not really taking off.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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