Think legacy, not piracy

Bought a turntable lately? The old household standards are scarcely marketed these days, except to DJs, many of whom still like to spin tracks on wax, and to hard-core home audiophiles who insist that digital audio lacks the "warmth" of vinyl.

For the rest of us, the compact disc has been the go-to format in store-bought music pretty much since it first showed its shiny face back in the mid-1980s.

Its video counterpart, the DVD, appears to be steamrolling VHS, a boxy predecessor that's bound for eight-track ignominy.

Our biggest complaint about discs may be those quick-to-crack cases. A less prevalent but growing concern: The residue from fingers can inflict damage over time.

But the industry will address such problems. There will be no real reprise for old formats.

For any electronics buyers who were reluctant to convert, the advent of the blank disc probably helped seal the deal.

Consumers crowed when the suffix -ROM (for read-only memory) was joined in recent years by -R and -RW for recordable and rewritable. (That development could also be called the first round in the current battle over copyright infringement that we read about daily, see page 18.)

Discs may be the best vessels for portable audio/video storage that we now have. Many agree: In volume terms, blank CDs reportedly outsold pre-recorded CDs last year.

True, many wound up loaded with tunes and movies "ripped and burned" from the Web.

But today's lead story is aimed at those thinking about updating decades of their own photos, films, LPs, and cassettes - shifting such treasures onto salami-slim volumes the next generation will recognize.

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