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What is CD+G? 💿 And why it's cool and underrated.

 CD+G (also known as CD-G, CD+Graphics and TV-Graphics) is an extension of the compact disc standard that can present low-resolution graphics alongside the audio data on the disc when played on a compatible device. CD+G discs are often used for karaoke machines, which use this functionality to present on-screen lyrics for the song contained on the disc. The CD+G specifications were published by Philips and Sony in an updated revision of the Red Book specifications.


In the CD+G system, 16-color (4-bit) raster graphics are displayed on a field which is 300×216 pixels in size, of which only the central 288×192 area is used with a flat-colored border (6 pixels wide, 12 lines high) drawn around it. 

Be sure to look for the CD+G logo (on the right) if want to find out if your album is a CD+G or want to own one. Sometimes they don't, so it's like a Easter egg hunt. Good luck! 

Usage

Along with dedicated karaoke machines, other consumer devices that play CD+G format CDs include the NEC TurboGrafx-CD (a CD-ROM peripheral for the TurboGrafx-16) and Turbo Duo, the Philips CD-i, the Sega CD, Sega Saturn, the JVC X'Eye, the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, the Amiga CD32 and Commodore CDTV, and the Atari Jaguar CD (an attachment for the Atari Jaguar). Some CD-ROM drives can also read this data. Pioneer's LaserActive player can also play CD+G discs, as long as either the PAC-S1/S-10 or PAC-N1/N10 game modules are installed.

Since 2003, some standalone DVD players have supported the CD+G format. Regular audio CD players will output only the audio tracks as if it was a normal music CD, unless otherwise designed to read the extra data (lyrics and images). It is unknown if there's any Blu-ray players that will play these. There are software that you can play CD+G on your PC.

CD+G karaoke albums are still made today by several UK and US manufacturers including Sunfly, Zoom Entertainments, SBI Karaoke and Vocal Star. Although the popularity of CD sales are dwindling the format is still widely used as MP3+G downloads.

                    Some releases don't have the lyrics but just artistic and experimental pictures! 

Notable releases

Although CD+G found its market in karaoke entertainment, some music labels were keen to experiment with the format and a number of albums were released which featured graphic images, animations and text. These special edition CD+G releases are now very rare and have become collectible items as a result. During the late 1980's Warner Brothers (as Warner New Media) experimented with a method of embedding graphics information on music CDs. The first CD to be released with CD+G graphics was Eat or Be Eaten by Firesign Theatre in 1985.

  • Some albums released include:
  • Alphaville - The Breathtaking Blue
  • Anita Baker - Rapture
  • Chris Isaac - Silvertone
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash - Live It Up
  • Donna Summer - Another Place and Time
  • Fleetwood Mac - Behind The Mask
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience - Smash Hits
  • Little Feat - Representing the Mambo
  • Lou Reed - New York
  • Simply Red - Picture Book
  • Talking Heads - Naked
  • Information Society - Information Society

There is a dedicated website called the CG+G Museum that documents some notable CD+G titles from the 80's and 90's. http://www.cdplusg.com/cdplusg/Main.html It's not a full database unlike LDD but it's very useful website if you want to discover if you have a CD+G album. 


They also have a dedicated YouTube channel that lets you view the CD+G visuals, some don't have sounds because of stupid copyright strikes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5TQ1l7w1N0_UQqumk5lNw

Daiichi Kosho is a former karaoke music manufacturer and their high quality edit-a-vision range of 99 CD+Gs are still highly sought after by karaoke presenters today.


The CD+EG is a similar format that allows for better graphics, but has very rarely been implemented in releases. Like CD+G, CD+EG utilizes basic audio CD features to display text and video information in addition to the music being played. This extra data is stored in the subcode channels R-W. Very few, if any, CD+EG discs have been published.

  • 288 pixels per line
  • 192 lines
  • up to 256 colors
Yes it has...

Are you a music artist and want to have this kind of feature on your CD album? There is a CD+G Karaoke creator that let's you make your own visuals and burn them on disc. Karaoke CD+G Creator is an authoring program. It allows to make a CD+G karaoke song from scratch or import CD+G files.

https://www.powerkaraoke.com/src/prod_karaokecdgcreator.php

So, is it still relevant?

Yes, and the format is greatly unappreciative. And wish they would use it again on modern CD album releases. Again, it's mostly used for karaoke discs which it's still popular today with karaoke CD players. Indie music artist might want to think about using this feature if you're artistic and want to add a neat extra touch to your album. 

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