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Looking ahead: What comes after the little silver disc?

We probably all remember the first CD we have ever bought. Like a little treasure, we used to insert it into our CD player with utmost care. Or our first DVD, which suddenly turned our living room into a cinema auditorium. The Compact Disc has been around for a good 30 years now – and all of the time there has been rumour about which new technology would replace the silver shining disc one day.

Looking back at the history of sound and data carriers, it makes sense, of course, to think about a successor. Lastly, there has been a constant coming and going of various formats in the past decades. The record, for example, has been replaced by the CD, because it was too big and delicate – and, above all, because its capacity was too small. Although it has been seeing a comeback with music lovers and collectors lately, it has become obsolete for mass use for a long time already. The cassette, too, has almost vanished from the shops' racks. Today's teenagers hardly know the format any more and will never feel the strain and satisfaction of compiling a mix tape of their own. Also the minidisc could never really be established on the market.

Smart phones change the way we consume music

Nowadays, where we all carry smart phones in our pockets, music is more and more digitalised. Songs, albums and music videos are streamed directly onto the mobile phone. Thus, we always carry all our favourite music with us. Each song is just a click away – whenever we want. This is handy, of course, but the sound quality is not the same as the one of a song pressed on CD. Which is one more reason for the CD to stay in fashion for a few more decades – especially with music lovers and collectors who like "having something in their hands" and who want to show the music they have.

The silver disc will also remain in the film industry

More than 10 years ago, the video cassette was replaced by the DVD, which has revolutionized the way we watch films. No tedious winding forward and backward any more, no tangled up tapes, no loss of quality. Within a few years, the DVD swept away the traditional cassette entirely – just to be challenged itself only some years later. In the "format war", the Blue-Ray Disc prevailed against the HD DVD, as it offers an even better film and sound quality.

Who believes, though, that Blue-Ray is the maximum of resolution and vividness we can ever reach is wrong. For many years, there has been a lot of speculation around in confidence about a possible successor: the Purpl-Ray Disc. It is supposed to offer a gigantic memory space of 8 Terrabytes with 250 Gigabytes per layer. It makes it possible to scan up to 32 layers. It supports the 11.2 sound. And it is said to bring the native motion picture resolution into our home entertainment systems. Moreover, it is supposed to have a rewritable partition, so that films downloaded from the Internet can be stored directly onto it.

The  CD's and DVD's function will therefore remain indispensable also in the next decades to come – despite all the handy streaming around. Beside a largely enhanced quality, they make for a haptic experience which, lastly, not only collectors love.

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29.10.2013

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