Sony CDP-101

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Sony CDP-101
ManufacturerSony Corporation
TypeCD player
Retail availability1982–1985

The Sony CDP-101 is the world's first commercially released compact disc player.[1] The system was launched in Japan on October 1, 1982 at a list price of 168,000 yen (approx US$730).[2]

The Japan-only launch was partially because Philips, Sony's partner in the development of the CD format, was unable to meet the original agreed launch date. Rather than agree to a full postponement, Sony agreed to delay the launch of the format outside Japan by six months.[3] The Philips CD100 launched in November 1982,[4] although early Philips players contained some Sony components.[5]

In line with the agreement, the system was launched worldwide in March 1983.[6]


CD player Sony CDP-101 on display at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, Milan

Demonstration CD players from Sony had the disc placed vertically in the machine allowing the CD face to be visible through a transparent front whilst playing. The CDP-101 instead opted for a horizontal tray-loading system. The case and front panel of the system were manufactured from plastics.

The front of the unit featured a vacuum fluorescent display panel to provide information such as track number and playing time, an infrared receiver to allow the use of a remote control and buttons to control playback, open and close the tray and toggle the display between showing elapsed and remaining playing time. The only dial on the machine allowed for the headphone volume level to be adjusted; a 1/4" headphone jack was also located on the front of the unit.

At the back of the unit there are two on/off switches, one labeled Auto Pause and the other Anti Shock. There are two RCA jacks to carry left and right channels of audio; a 26-pin accessory connector is included, presumably for future developments that did not materialize. A heatsink is located at the back of the unit.[7]

The included remote control unit, RM-101, features the majority of the same button controls as on the main system. It omits the open/close button and display toggle, but has numbered buttons not present on the main unit that allow a particular track number to be selected.

The model name CDP-101 was chosen by Nobuyuki Idei, who headed Sony's Audio Division. "101" represents the number 5 in binary notation and was chosen because Idei considered the model to be of "medium class".[8]


Because of the cost of producing digital-to-analogue converters ("DACs") at the time of its production, the CDP-101 features only one DAC, which is used for both the left and right audio channels. There is no sample-and-hold circuitry to delay the first channel until the other is ready, so the left and right channels are out of sync by approximately 11 µs.[9]

Philips's CD-100

Unlike the Philips CD100 which uses oversampling to overcome the use of a 14-bit DAC, the CDP-101 features a 16-bit DAC, that was designed and manufactured in-house by Sony. The decision to use 16-bit encoding was made at Sony's insistence, as Philips had already developed a 14-bit DAC, and Sony was worried this would give them an advantage in getting their product to market first, should 14-bit encoding have been chosen.


Sony continued to produce CD players, with models such as the CDP-30 following soon after.

Front and rear views of the Sony CDP-30 CD player (produced circa 1984-1986).


  1. ^ Home Audio Product & Technology Milestones
  2. ^ Sony History: A Great Invention 100 Years On
  3. ^ K. Schouhamer Immink (2007). "Shannon, Beethoven, and the Compact Disc". IEEE Information Theory Society Newsletter. 57: 42–46. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  4. ^ Kretschmer, Tobias and Muehlfeld , Katrin, Co-opetition in Standard-Setting: The Case of the Compact Disc (October 2004). NET Institute Working Paper No. 04-14.
  5. ^ Shannon, Beethoven, and the Compact Disc by Kees A. Schouhamer Immink Archived 2014-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Sony CDP-101 Compact Disc Player
  7. ^ Sony CDP-101
  8. ^ Sony History: A Great Invention 100 Years On
  9. ^ Sony CDP-101 CD Player

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