The Compact Disc Digital Audio System Milestone

IEEE Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Each milestone recognizes a significant achievement that occurred at least twenty-five years ago in an area of technology represented in IEEE and having a large impact. To date, more than seventy-five Milestones have been approved and dedicated around the world. Initiated by the IEEE Benelux Section, the IEEE dedicated a Milestone to N.V. Philips’ Gloeilampenf abrieken, with the following citation:

[singlepic id=1291 w=369 h=259 float=left] COMPACT DISC AUDIO PLAYER 1979

On 8 March 1979, N.V. Philips’ Gloeilampenfabrieken demonstrated for the international press a Compact Disc Audio Player. The demonstration showed that it is possible by using digital optical recording and playback to reproduce audio signals with superb stereo quality. This research at Philips established the technical standard for digital optical recording systems.

March 2009

For a video press release (March 2009), please press here.

On 6 March 2009, IEEE President John Vig presented an IEEE Milestone to Rick Harwig, Chief Technology Officer of Royal Philips Electronics, for the creation of the Compact Disc about 30 years ago. The presentation and unveiling of the Milestone was the culmination of a three-hour long event, in which short speeches were delivered by the Rector of Eindhoven University of Technology (where the event took place), by Georges Gielen, the IEEE Benelux Section Chair (which Section nominated Philips for the Milestone), by the Mayor of the City of Eindhoven, by the Deputy of her Majesty’s Governor in the Province of Noord-Brabant, and by the Deputy Director-General for Enterprise and Innovation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The first more or less technically-oriented and historical lecture was given by Joop Sinjou, with the title “From LP to CD”. On the occasion of the Milestone, a book was published by Springer in the Philips Research Book Series; the first copy of the book, entitled “Origins and Successors of the Compact Disc: Contributions of Philips to Optical Storage,” was presented to Joop Sinjou by IEEE Life Fellow Hans Peek. Both Joop Sinjou and Hans Peek played an important role in the development of the CD.

[singlepic id=1292 w=500 h=332 float=center]

After the tea break, two more lectures were presented: one by Hiroshi Ogawa, entitled “Sony’s Approach to the CD,” in which Sony’s role in the development of the CD was discussed, and a more general one by Frans Greidanus, with the title “Innovation and Optical Storage.” The ceremony ended by John Vig’s presentation of this first Milestone in the Benelux Section to Rick Harwig, who expressed Philips’ sincere appreciation for getting this important award.

 The photograph shows the unveiling of the bronze plaque by John Vig and Hans Noordanus, who was the driving force behind the Milestone nomination.

More information about the event can be found on the IEEE Benelux Section web site, in particular on the web page