Re: as the decade comes to a close. so do tapes
In the early years of the digital format (early 80s) before I got into my current career, I used to manage two video stores for an absentee owner. We were a Pioneer dealer and sold LaserDiscs. Some of you may remember this format.
Of course cassettes were still immensely popular and access to digital recordings was still expensive and you couldn't "burn" anything unless you ran a digital media pressing plant.
LaserDiscs were 12" just like a vinyl LP and audio/videophiles lined up like Trekkies at a convention to buy these discs as they were released. We did a lot of business.
The first discs were in a format called CAV (constant angular velocity) and you got 30 minutes per 12" side of music and video. Pioneer and Sony released hundreds of discs in this format and then after a year or two they came out with CLV (constant linear velocity) and you could get an hour on each 12" side. They even made an 8" disc that was marketed to 30 somethings with money that was reminiscent of how vinyl used to come in 45s (rpm) and people bought those too.
Eventually, I don't remember what year, 86 or 87 they came out with CDVs (compact disc videos). This was a 5" disc that had one audio video on it and usually 4 or 5 audio recordings in the new .wav format. If you had paid extra for your 12" LaserDisc player it might have had a 5" tray and if not you could buy an adaptor. Yikes.
I still have some of these discs and the 5" ones will still play.
At this point, I think it was Phillips and Matsuschita launched the CD format and the CD player was born. Entry level ones sold for like $800. Double yikes.
My best friend had an amazing record collection with many many master recordings on vinyl. He had the whole suspended from the ceiling turntable with all of his speakers on "tip toes" and absolutely hated the CD format. His claim was that was more information on the vinyl pressings and the CD format contained less and therefore was inferior in quality. This was most likely true because sampling rates were not as high as they are today and A/D to D/A conversion was not as sophisticated as today.
Just like reel to reel, 8 track and cassette tapes would degrade over time there was also a phenomenon at the time known as "Laser Rot". CD and DVD (CVD, LD, etc..) technology had it's problems with the reflective coating that contained the "pits" that all this digital information was on would start to degrade. Some believed it due to oxidation that couldn't be prevented regardless of the sealed clear plastic. Others thought that the silvery material was unstable. I used to know people that could swear they could see this degradation on a disc. I wonder.
After musicians, artists and the music industry had flipped out over cassette recording ability and its accessibility to the masses, they all embraced this new digital technology because manufacturers did not look like they were going to ever release a digital compact disc recorder. Everybody knows how that turned out.
I have to admit that I like my audio and video in the form of ones and zeros. I have dozens of old reel to reel ½ inch, 45s, LPs, cassettes and LaserDiscs that I have kept as keepsakes. Cassettes tapes bring back my fondest memories of music on the go and roadtrips. I loved LPs and the importance of album cover art second to the recording of an album. Bands would obsess over their cover art. It was a great time.
My stupid little LG cellphone has an 8 gig micro SD card in it. I wonder how many warehouses full of wax cylinder recordings can fit on that thing.
Philippe - Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benjamin Franklin