|General Info on the DCC format
|The history of home digital audio recording
stands for Digital Compact Cassette. It is one of the
four commonly used digital recording media for home and
The first was DAT (Digital Audio Tape) which uses a Helical Scan technique (with a rotating drum similar to the one in VCR's) to record the audio. See the DAT-heads FAQ for more info.
Contrary to the time when the CD was conceived by Sony and Philips (actually CD was developed in Eindhoven in the Philips audio labs), the parties didn't come to an agreement: Philips' opinion was that the new standard would benefit consumers if it would be compatible with traditional analog compact cassettes while Sony's opinion was that optical disc technology is the future.
Anyway, Philips and Sony went their separate ways this time and Sony developed MiniDisc (see the Sony MD homepage and the MD mailing list homepage) and Philips and Matsushita (Technics/Panasonic) developed a new standard which was first known in the streets as S-DAT (Static-heads Digital Audio Tape) and later became DCC.
In order to reduce the amount of data needed to fill a DCC-tape or MiniDisc, some kind of compression scheme would be needed. This proved to be a difficult task so the introduction was postponed several times. Both MD and DCC were eventually released almost simultaneously around the end of 1992. The sound quality of the MD was significantly worse than DCC because Philips had used a 4:1 compression scheme similar to MPEG-audio level 1 (see PASC) with which they had a lot of experience, while Sony used a whole new scheme that compressed 5:1 but initially produced audible differences with the original even after only one recording generation.
Since then, Sony cleaned up their act and improved their compression chips, which now perform much better. Especially in Japan, MiniDisc caught on really well. In Europe (and especially in the Netherlands), DCC did much better. On October 31st, 1996, Philips announced that it is stopping production of DCC for home use (there was also a followup-article in the same newspaper). Philips had already admitted that DCC didn't sell as well as they had expected and had turned out to be a "niche market product for audiophiles". They also acknowledged (again in the same newspaper) that Philips will produce a MiniDisc recorder for the Japanese market, and Marantz now have some MD equipment available.
In the mean time, Sony are now aggressively marketing MD as "The new standard for digital recording".
In October 1997, Philips introduced the CDR-870, a CD-RW (CD-rewritable) recorder for home audio use which can record digital audio on a rewritable CD or on a non-rewritable CD-R (only special - more expensive - audio discs will work, normal "professional" CD-R's won't). Of course it's SCMS protected, but the DCC-L list members seem to agree that this may be a serious competitor for MD. It also seems Philips has decided to market it a bit more aggressively than DCC but it may be too early to tell.
|Advantages of DCC
advantages are pretty obvious, but in case you missed
|Drawbacks of DCC
|The Future of DCC
October 31st 1996, Philips announced that it would stop
producing DCC for the home market. I asked someone at the
Philips Employees' shop ("personeelwinkel")
some questions about the availability of DCC. The answers
(which I'm reasonably sure are accurate, correct and
represent the Philips policy) were:
Last updated: November 23, 1997.
Author: Jac Goudsmit (jacg a xs4all.nl)
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