MFDigital CD DVD Information Library
Friday, June 11, 2004
CD Books
Red Book

The Red Book describes the physical properties of the compact disc and the digital audio encoding. It comprises:
Audio specification for 16-bit PCM.
Disc specification, including physical parameters.
Optical stylus and parameters.
Deviations and block error rate.
Modulation system and error correction.
Control and display system (ie subcode channels)
An addition to the Red Book describes the CD Graphics option using the subcode channels R to W. This describes the various applications of these subcode channels including graphics and MIDI.

Recently CD Text, which also uses the subcode channels, has been added to provide content related information to audio CDs.

Yellow Book
The Yellow Book comprises the CD-ROM specification plus an extension for CD-ROM XA.

The Yellow Book for CD-ROM was written in 1984 to describe the extension of CD to store computer data, ie CD-ROM. This specification comprises the following:
Disc specification which is a copy of part of the Red Book.
Optical stylus parameters (from Red Book)
Modulation and error correction (from Red Book)
Control & display system (from Red Book)
Digital data structure, which describes the sector structure and the ECC and EDC for a CD-ROM disc.
As a separate extension to the Yellow Book, the CD-ROM XA specification ("SYSTEM DESCRIPTION CD-ROM XA") comprises the following:
The only CD-ROM XA formats currently in use are CD-I Bridge formats Photo CD and Video CD, the data session of a CD Extra disc, plus Sony's Playstation.

Green Book

The Green Book describes the CD-interactive (CD-i) disc, player and operating system and contains the following :

Orange Book

The Orange Book defines CD-Recordable discs with multisession capability.

Part Format Version Date Comments
I CD-MO - Nov 1990 Magneto Optical re-writable discs
II CD-R 3.1 Dec 1998 was CD-WO - Write Once
III CD-RW 1.95 May 1998 ReWritable

All three parts contain the following sections:

White Book

The White Book defines the Video CD specification and comprises:

Format Version Date Comments
Karaoke CD 1.0 1993 Original VCD for Karaoke
VCD 2.0 Apr 1995 Current Video CD specification
Internet - Apr 1997 Extension for linking to websites
SuperVCD 0.9 Nov 1998 Higher quality video using MPEG-2. Replaces HQ-VCD.

Blue Book

The Blue Book defines the Enhanced Music CD (also known as CD Extra) specification for multisession pressed disc (ie not recordable) comprising audio and data sessions. These discs are intended to be played on any CD audio player, on PCs and on future custom designed players. The Blue Book comprises:
Disc specification and data format including the two sessions (audio and data).
Directory structure (to ISO 9660) including the directories for CD Extra information, pictures and data. It also defines the format of the CD Plus information files, picture file formats and other codes and file formats.
MPEG still picture data format.

Photo CD

Photo CD has been specified by Kodak and Philips based on the CD-i Bridge specification. It comprises the following:

Multisession CD

Multisession CD specification for pressed discs is a Philips/Sony standard (actually yellow in color) defining discs which have two or more sessions but are pressed not recordable.
The only pressed multisession disc format currently defined is the Enhanced Music CD, defined in the Blue Book.

The latest version of the Multisession CD book (Version 1.0, December 1995) defines the following: