CD/DVD Disappear but Why? Rise of Streaming?

CDs and DVDs – Surely freshen up your memories. To distribute digital content such as music, movies and video games CDs and DVDs are extremely popular. As of internet didn’t come into everyone’s hands back then so this is the only option people has. I remember when I returned from school I used to bring CDs/DVDs on rent which were loaded with movies. I used to buy music CDs which cost around 20Rs and contained 150-200 songs. However, nowadays, CDs and DVDs have become outdated. What led to this sudden demise?

Little History Of CD/DVD


When CDs were introduced in the 80s, they became popular due to their superior storage and reliability compared to vinyl records and cassette tapes. However, the high cost of CD players was a drawback during that time. Even in the year 2000s, people mainly bought second-hand CD players as new ones were still very expensive. Compare to previous technology CD/DVD allowed storing high-resolution videos and lossless music. Every music production company back then sold their music on CDs. Movies are also sold in CDs and even video games.

Back then mini-CDs are also introduced when traditional CDs has a diameter of 120mm Mini CDs are generally produced in diameter of 60 to 80mm. These CDs were primarily used to provide drivers and application software for different devices.


DVDs were introduced in 1996 and were really an improvement over CDs in terms of digital audio, video, software and data – basically from every aspect. They were much more reliable than CDs and had a capacity of 4.7GB for a single-sided DVD and 8.5GB for a double-sided one.



DVD ROM and CD ROM were the terms used for both CDs and DVDs. This was because once data was written, it was not possible to remove or edit it from CD/DVD. You may have also seen DVD R what’s the difference?

DVD ROM is slightly different from DVD R. DVD ROM is used in mass production, for example, when companies distribute movies and need to make multiple DVDs, they use the DVD ROM format. DVD ROM is also known as DVD Video DISC. Same for CDs. CD ROM format is for mass production. whereas CD R format is for us who buy blank CDs.

On the other hand, DVD R is a writable format that is intended for consumers. DVD R is for blank discs. You can buy blank discs in the market and write anything you want on them. However, whatever you write on them will be permanently stored and cannot be erased.


You may remember when it comes  to blank DVDs there was two options DVD-R and DVD+R. DVD-R and DVD+R are two different formats, only from a writing perspective. The DVD writer for both formats is different and there are slight technical variations between the two. This is why the problem began, as one format was not compatible with the other. A DVD-R writer could not write on DVD+R discs and a DVD+R writer could not write on DVD-R discs.

Essentially, the whole problem was about licensing and royalties. Later on, however, the DVD Multi was released, which could support both formats means a DVD multi-drive could write both discs DVD+R and DVD-R. Remember DVD-(Dash)R should not be pronounced DVD ‘Minus’ R. It’s DVD ‘Dash’ R.

Actually, the physical structure of DVD+R and DVD-R is slightly different. According to Sony, DVD+R is more precise, but it is just money-making bulls**t. DVD+R was created by a collaboration of Sony, Phillips, and Thomson, so no one knows whose idea it was, but it was a serious issue and we as a consumer faced issues.


As DVD R format is not rewritable once recorded stays forever the solution was found with DVD RW (DVD Rewritable). Just like a pen drive or flash memory devices nowadays we’re using. You can write anything on it, erase it, and then rewrite it again. However there was a problem, the more you write, erase and write again, the shorter its life span becomes. With DVD RW, you can erase and write approximately 1000 times and it depends on the quality of the DVD RW disc. Compared to DVD R, DVD RW was almost twice as expensive. By the way, Now, you might understand the meaning of the terms written on your computer’s DVD player.

Problems Of CD/DVD

So, right now you may think ok everything is fine, what’s issue? but the biggest problem with this optical technology was its reliability. If DVDs and CDs are stored properly – at the right temperature, the proper humidity and if there is no physical impact, they have a life expectancy of 30 years on paper. Sunlight and dust are the biggest enemies of DVDs and CDs. We are basically normal users we don’t have such controlled environment that’s why DVDs and CDs don’t last long on us. Of course, not all CDs and DVDs are rewritable. Once something is written on them, it can’t be edited.

Why are CD/DVD Obsolete

CD/DVD Vs Flash Storage

If we compare CDs/DVDs with flash storage, flash storage definitely wins. Just think about how many times you’ve dropped your pen drive or still do. It is still working. Right? Similarly, if an SSD is dropped, generally nothing happens to it. In very rare cases data is affected and of course, flash storage is rewritable. But it is considerably more expensive than CDs/DVDs.

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Streaming Services

If I talk about why CDs and DVDs aren’t as prevalent these days, personally, I think it’s because of the rise of digital media and online streaming. As internet speed improved and the cost of the internet is gradually decreased, digital media platforms and online streaming services became more popular. This allowed users to easily access music, movies, and other digital content over the internet. So CDs and DVDs as physical media are no longer needed. And if they are, HDDs and SSDs are more reliable, cheap, high-speed, and high-density storage options. Also, modern high-resolution content definitely won’t fit on a CD or DVD, and it’s too slow to handle even 1080p content. If you play a 1080P movie from a DVD then it might buffer. So, you get the idea.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is another reason. Of course, cloud storage is best. It’s safe, reliable, and easily accessible, better than CDs and DVDs. But the problem is that cloud storage is quite expensive these days.

People are Different

The most important thing is that people nowadays consume content on their smartphones and tablets. So where do CDs and DVDs fit in? People’s preferred devices have changed these days.

Game Distributors Switch to Digital Copies

Even game distribution via optical discs is becoming obsolete. Nowadays, people buy digital copies of games because they’re cheaper, and they can access them from any device. The problem of a disc getting damaged or lost is gone. However, Blu-ray discs are still popular for video games, especially for the PS5.

Also Read: Horror Games on PS5! You Shouldn’t Miss!

Few Words for Blu-Ray

When we are speaking of CD/DVD we should mention Blue-Ray. Think of Blu-ray as just an advanced version of DVDs. Offer more storage, more reliability and bandwidth aka read-write speed. Blue-Ray uses a violet laser instead of a red one to read and write data. Its wavelength is smaller than a red laser, so it can store more data at a higher density on a single disc.

By the way, the physical structure of a blue-ray disc is different from that of DVDs, and Blu-ray discs are scratch-resistant. The read/write speed of Blu-ray is better than that of DVDs, but it depends on many aspects – the reader/writer, interface, and revision of the Blu-ray.

A single-layer conventional Blu-ray disc has 25 gigabytes, a dual-layer has 50GB, a triple-layer has 100GB, and a quadruple-layer disc has 128 gigabytes of storage. There are also different revisions of the conventional Blu-ray format, each with unique features. For example, PS5 games come on an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, which is an upgraded version of the conventional Blu-ray format.

CD/DVD – Nostalgic Discussion

But one advantage of CDs and DVDs was that the content could be enjoyed anywhere on any device, just by inserting the disk. Whether it was a desktop, laptop, or DVD player… the disk was all you needed.

Portable DVD Player

A portable DVD player once became very popular, which looked like a laptop. I personally also wanted to buy it and had even asked my dad to buy it for me. But then something changed, and I never ended up buying it. Now it’s obviously pointless.

If you have used CDs or DVDs, or a portable DVD player, please comment below. This video holds a nostalgic value for me, and it reminds me of the good old days. Did you feel the same? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for visiting.

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