Towards 2000 debuted on the ABC in 1981. It was a half-hour program showcasing developments and inventions in science and technology. One of the early highlights was this report about the imminent arrival of the next big thing in home entertainment – the compact disc.
This technology was considered so exciting that three of the show’s presenters, Sonia Humphrey, Iain Finlay and Jeff Watson combined to tell the story. It’s worth watching just to see them in their 1982 sartorial elegance, but it’s also a treat to hear the use of words such as “radiogram”, and “gramophone”, and “micro-groove long playing record” which you don’t hear so much anymore…
In 1983, when the first compact disc players arrived on the Australian market, they ranged in price from $900-$1800. (This made them a very significant purchase, given that the Australian Bureau of Statistics says average weekly earnings were around $350/week at the time). The price didn’t hold back the rapid adoption of the technology.
But even then, as Sonia put it in her closing remarks, there was an even better technology on the horizon.
“The Compact Disc may well rule the roost – at least until someone perfects a method of putting Beethoven’s 9th on a silicon chip. Don’t laugh, I’m assured that that day, in fact, is not too far off…..”
(c) Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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