CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory. It functions as a CD that stores computer data of graphics, text and audio. They are popular for software and other multimedia applications. CD-ROMs commonly store up to 700MB of information. This data comes pre-stamped by the manufacturer so it cannot be erased nor edited.
Since a CD-ROM is an extension of the compact disc family, it shares common sets of materials and layers, but stands apart in its difference of data storage formats known as the Rainbow Book series. This series is a collection of technical specifications coded by colors to denote variations of the original compact disc format: Red, Yellow, Orange, White, Blue, Beige, Green, Purple and Scarlet.
Each color signifies particular mechanical, physical, recording and error-related characteristics of the compact disc. The colors also indicate how much storage a disk format has as well as its optical needs for reading data.
A CD-ROM disc falls under Yellow Book standards, which are also referred to by their technical name ECMA-130. This standard expands on the original set of compact disc specifications known as the Red Book. Sectors of discs are parts of the CD's track that contain a set amount of data. Yellow Book has three options for sector formats: Mode 1, Mode 2 and CD-ROM/XA.
Mode 1 uses only computer data and puts 2,048 bytes of usable data in each sector with 304 of those bytes reserved for error-detection and correction.
Mode 2 discs have sectors with 2,336 bytes of usable data for both compressed audio and video. This is a slightly larger size than Mode 1 discs. CD-ROM/XA elaborates on Mode 2 by allowing compressed audio and video to be retrieved concurrently. XA stands for Extended Architecture.
Be sure to check out our pages on these other CD formats: