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THAT CD SOUNDS GREAT. HOW'S IT PLAY ON THE PC?
Don't be surprised if the next Madonna, Bob Dylan, or Leonard Bernstein compact disk you buy comes with instructions for use on your computer as well as on your music system. It may become the next fad in consumer electronics--adding computer data and programs to audio CDs. Since all the information on a CD is already in digital form, it's only a small stretch to make some of its 600 million-plus bytes usable by computers. For every minute of sound not encoded, there's room for about 9 megabytes of computer data.
And what can record companies use to fill this extra space? One of the first titles to hit the market, from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner New Media unit, contains the audio tracks and images inscribed on a gold disk launched with the Voyager interstellar spacecraft in the mid-1970s. The recordings capture life on earth, ranging from symphony orchestras to a salute from then-U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. The disk's 122 digitized images can be displayed on IBM-PC compatibles or Apple Computer Inc. Macintoshes equipped with CD-ROM drives. Future disks may include interactive games, educational quizzes, or artwork done by a disk's musical artists.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG