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Happy New Year to you as well, Tom!

You made the following statement:

> Now, there's also the argument that magnetic tape and grooved disks  
> are technologies that can be replicated with mid-20th century level  
> or older technologies whereas CD playback is, well, somewhat akin  
> to rocket science.

I could not agree more. Much easier to reverse-engineer disks and tapes.
>
> But, 5" discs got another leg with the DVD medium and they might  
> get yet another fresh wind with hi-def discs. Blowing the other way  
> is the wind of downloads and iPods -- where there are not physical  
> mass media but rather computer files transmitted over the Internet  
> and then perhaps around homes to media-less playback systems. I  
> don't doubt the future is one without packaged physical mass media  
> for audio and video content, but it's not all there yet and the  
> installed and owned base of 5" discs is enormous (I _think_ that  
> more CD's were sold worldwide so far than all mesaured sales of all  
> LPs since 1949 -- and that's not counting the fact that there might  
> be a 1:1 ratio or greater of pressed CD's to legal or illegal  
> copies that are essentially bit-by-bit replicas). Plus, as of now  
> the quality of the 5" disc media is usually better than what you  
> can get over the ether on your media-less playback system (that  
> will not be true forever, indeed hopefully not for much longer).

Here's where we diverge on opinion - there are currently (I think) 13  
DVD specs (at least 6 of which are not recognized by the DVD patent- 
holder consortium), and now we have blu-ray and DVD-HD - a battle on  
many levels (one is the movie studios desire to continue to have a  
physical disc to sell that is not easily copied). This convoluted  
"soup" of formats (notwithstanding patent issues) does not convince  
me that the life of the CD will be greatly enhanced.

> Plus, as of now the quality of the 5" disc media is usually better  
> than what you can get over the ether on your media-less playback  
> system (that will not be true forever, indeed hopefully not for  
> much longer).

The quality of the music may be better, but the quality of the media  
(as evidenced by the dumping of crappy CD-R media in every store,  
from Wal-Mart to Walgreens) does not relieve my confidence.

I, probably like many others, have no idea how we will get music in  
the future (streaming, subscriptions, downloads, mind-melds -just  
kidding on that one), but I think the original question was should  
there be a "comfort level" with CD playback 50 years in the future.  
Irrespective of the life of the media, I just get worried over these  
generalizations.

Best regards,
John

John Spencer
BMS/ Chace LLC
1801 8th Ave. S.  Suite 200
Nashville, TN 37203
office (615) 385-1251
fax (615) 385-0153
cell (615) 714-1199
email: [log in to unmask]
web: www.bmschace.com



On Jan 5, 2008, at 8:15 PM, Tom Fine wrote:

> You could think, once a medium goes out of "mass" status, how many  
> years until all the playback equipment dies and nothing new is  
> being made? Well, when exactly? LPs haven't been a mass medium for  
> almost 2 decades now. Still plenty of turntables and cartridges  
> available and the LP medium has a healthy niche (some could argue  
> more economically viable than most CD releases). How about  
> cassettes? They seem to be a quicker-to-the-grave medium. CD's  
> passed cassettes in I believe the early 90's. But cassettes are  
> still a mass medium in some parts of the 3rd world. You can still  
> buy a variety of cassette decks and walkmans:
> http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_kk_1?ie=UTF8&search-alias=audio- 
> video&field-keywords=cassette%20player
>
> Now, there's also the argument that magnetic tape and grooved disks  
> are technologies that can be replicated with mid-20th century level  
> or older technologies whereas CD playback is, well, somewhat akin  
> to rocket science.
>
> But, 5" discs got another leg with the DVD medium and they might  
> get yet another fresh wind with hi-def discs. Blowing the other way  
> is the wind of downloads and iPods -- where there are not physical  
> mass media but rather computer files transmitted over the Internet  
> and then perhaps around homes to media-less playback systems. I  
> don't doubt the future is one without packaged physical mass media  
> for audio and video content, but it's not all there yet and the  
> installed and owned base of 5" discs is enormous (I _think_ that  
> more CD's were sold worldwide so far than all mesaured sales of all  
> LPs since 1949 -- and that's not counting the fact that there might  
> be a 1:1 ratio or greater of pressed CD's to legal or illegal  
> copies that are essentially bit-by-bit replicas). Plus, as of now  
> the quality of the 5" disc media is usually better than what you  
> can get over the ether on your media-less playback system (that  
> will not be true forever, indeed hopefully not for much longer).
>
> So bottom line, I'll give the 5" discs another 50 years of  
> viability but I don't think they will be the dominant mass medium  
> in the "first world" for too much longer -- and I think the places  
> still cassette-dominant will leapfrog over the 5" disc media and go  
> right to the over-ether media-less model. For what it's worth, I  
> have a 1986 CD player that still works just fine. To my great joy,  
> it was designed future-looking enough to be able to play most CDR  
> media. The make is Teac and the price was not very high when I  
> bought it as a poor college kid blowing some summer loot, so this  
> was no high-grade special machine in its day. My point is, 20-year- 
> old CD technology works fine in a modern context. I have no reason  
> to believe my 2005 vintage Marantz SACD/DVD/CD player won't work in  
> 20 years. That would get past the 50-year-viability mark for the CD  
> medium (introduced 1982) and I betcha 5" disc players will be  
> rolling off Asian assembly lines for at least another decade,  
> probably longer.
>
> Let me just add that I think managed hard-drive-based archiving is  
> a better idea nowadays and will be an ever-better idea as the  
> storage media get cheaper, denser and hopefully more reliable.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess"  
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 8:36 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CD-R question
>
>
>> At 08:11 PM 2008-01-05, John Spencer wrote:
>>> Richard (and more so to Mr. Friedman),
>>>
>>> Do we have any concrete expectations that CD drives will be  
>>> available
>>> in 50 years? Please point me to the information that guarantees  
>>> that,
>>> I would be happy to be reassured that CD drives will be available
>>> then. I tend to be much more pessimistic about hardware/ software
>>> availability given the 50-year target mentioned.
>>
>> Hi, John,
>>
>> Happy New Year!
>>
>> I think we'll be in as good or better shape playing back CDs in 50  
>> years as we will be playing back reel tapes in 35-40 years which  
>> is approx the 50-year time frame that LoC was still advocating  
>> transfers to 2-track tapes.
>>
>> There are just too many, and they're not going to all break.
>>
>> As with any media, as the supply of machines dries up it's the  
>> archive's responsibility to migrate/reformat before they cannot. I  
>> think we've had this discussion before <smile>.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Richard
>>
>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
>> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/ 
>> contact.htm
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>