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World's First CD Recorder? The 1988 Tandy THOR Eraseable CD
Old 6th June 2017
Gear Nut

World's First CD Recorder? The 1988 Tandy THOR Eraseable CD

An interesting piece of history is about to be auctioned off from Radio Shack's Fort Worth corporate headquarters.

From humble beginnings in Boston in 1921, over the past 95 years RadioShack established itself as a globally recognized leader and the go to retailer for consumer electronics. RadioShack has always been known as the place for answers to the American public's technology and electronics questions. "You've got questions, we've got answers." Over the years, RadioShack introduced consumers to exciting and affordable gadgets and electronics that have become household items. As we cleaned out our historic archives in Fort Worth, Texas, we uncovered a cache of iconic memorabilia in 12 huge safes, including: unused original TRS-80 Microcomputers, Realistic Transistor Radios, Tandy computer software games, original brick cell phones and so much more. We all remember coming into RadioShack whether it was for the battery-of-the-month, new walkie-talkies, or to check out the newest RC toy cars. Now we reintroduce many of those nostalgic items and more with our rolling online memorabilia auction.
In 1988 Tandy announced an erasable consumer CD Recorder: Why Tandy's recordable CD is a breakthrough even if it never makes it to the market

Tandy's 1988 demonstration of eraseable CD medium.

Tandy Thor Brochure:

The eraseable Thor CD recorder never came to market but was about five years ahead of its time. Only the prototype remains.

Is this the world's first eraseable CD recorder?

Is this the first CD recorder? Should this item be in a museum?

They also have a "Gold-plated" BSR turntable...

Last edited by mediatechnology; 6th June 2017 at 05:13 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 6th June 2017
Gear Nut

I wasn't certain of the CD-RW date of introduction. According to Philips it was 1997.
CD-R and CD-RW

The CD-R (CD-Recordable) and CD-RW (CD-ReWritable) are not recent developments. CD-R was introduced for professional use as long ago as 1991, and after many years of development the CD-RW came onto the market in 1997. However a CD recorder was much too expensive for the consumer market. Pioneer launched a relatively affordable consumer audio recorder for CD-R (not CD-RW) in 1996, although it was Philips as inventor of the CD that was the first to introduce a CD recorder for both CD-R and CD-RW in 1997. Philips also offered blank CD-R discs at a price of around 5.45 euro each. CD-RW discs were initially much more expensive, but their price - like that of CD-R discs - has now fallen dramatically.

The combination of CD-R and CD-RW was a deliberate one, because CD was the absolute world standard and the world’s most popular digital audio carrier with a tremendous penetration (even exceeding 100% in the Netherlands). And a CD-R can be played on any CD player. Plus the fact that both CD-R and CD-RW, just like the CD itself, have a full 16-bit resolution and a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz, which ensures that consumers’ own recordings have just the same high quality as any other CD.

Source: The history of the CD - The CD family - Research | Philips
The prototype Tandy THOR CD recorder was 9 years ahead of Philips' introduction of a commercial product.
Old 6th June 2017
Neat article thanks!
best, jt

the rewritable part of the CD spec never did fully catch on with consumers,

especially after the cost of CD-R blank discs became affordable,

and it was much easier to pop in a new blank than erase an RW disc.

Last edited by Jerry Tubb; 24th August 2017 at 02:09 PM..
Old 7th June 2017
Plus, I think people never trusted the tech.
I know I didn't after a few failed discs.
Old 18th August 2017
Here for the gear

I'm the one who bought that prototype. That picture was only part of it. There's some really cool stuff there. I've been building my own little prototype boards for years but nothing like this. You can tell these guys were pros. And I got a great price on it so that was nice. If anyone is interested in some better pics, just let me know and I'll post.
Old 18th August 2017
Lives for gear
yes please!
Old 24th August 2017
Gear Nut

Thank you for posting those pics. Looks like you are the proud owner of a museum piece.
Old 31st August 2017
Gear Guru
I've been having problems with old rewritables. Anyone else?

I use rewritables a lot since I use an older disc recorder and it's the only way to export tracks. Seems to work great but my older RW's are hit or miss as far as usable files.....
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