CD-ROM (Compact Disk Read-Only Memory)

A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write to or erase—CD-ROMs, i.e. it is a type of read-only memory.

During the 1990s, CD-ROMs were popularly used to distribute software and data for computers and fourth generation video game consoles. Some CDs, called enhanced CDs, hold both computer data and audio with the latter capable of being played on a CD player, while data (such as software or digital video) is only usable on a computer (such as ISO 9660 format PC CD-ROMs).

The CD-ROM format was developed by Japanese company Denon in 1982. It was an extension of Compact Disc Digital Audio, and adapted the format to hold any form of digital data, with a storage capacity of 553 MiB. CD-ROM was then introduced by Denon and Sony at a Japanese computer show in 1984. The Yellow Book is the technical standard that defines the format of CD-ROMs. One of a set of color-bound books that contain the technical specifications for all CD formats, the Yellow Book, standardized by Sony and Philips in 1983, specifies a format for discs with a maximum capacity of 650 MiB.

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