session (CD)



On an
optical disc In computing and optical disc recording technologies, an optical disc (OD) is a flat, usually circular disc that encodes binary data (bits) in the form of pits and lands on a special material, often aluminum, on one of its flat surfaces. ...
, a track ( CD) or title ( DVD) is a subdivision of its content. Specifically, it is a consecutive set of ''sectors'' (called "timecode frames" on audio tracks) on the disc containing a block of data. One ''session'' may contain one or more tracks of the same or different types. There are several kinds of tracks, and there is also a sub-track index for finding points within a track.
Blu-ray The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a digital optical disc data storage format. It was invented and developed in 2005 and released on June 20, 2006 worldwide. It is designed to supersede the DVD format, and capable of stori ...
discs can also be written in a sequential, session based mode modelled on CD and DVD. A Blu-ray "track" refer to the entire physical storage of a Blu-ray layer; the equivalent to tracks in CD sessions is called a "logical track".

Audio tracks

Audio tracks are defined in the Red Book specification for CD Digital Audio (which was the first CD specification). One
song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetitio ...
movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion, commonly referred to as movement Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * "Movement" (short story), a short story by Nancy Fu ...
usually comprises one audio track, containing audio in the form of raw PCM samples in 16 bit/44.1 kHz resolution in 2 channels, and a subcode multiplexed with the audio data. In this mode, each sector (called a frame) consists of 2352 bytes of audio data (1176 16-bit samples, or 588 stereo samples), which equals 1/75 second of audio (therefore
SMPTE time code SMPTE timecode ( or ) is a set of cooperating standards to label individual frames of video or film with a timecode. The system is defined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in the SMPTE 12M specification. SMPTE revised t ...
equivalent for the audio data consists of hour:minute:sec:frame, where frame ranges from 0 to 74). CIRC error correction is used for the data.

Sector structure

Each sector (or "timecode frame") consists of a sequence of channel frames. These frames, when read from the disc, are made of a 24-bit synchronization pattern with the constant sequence ''1000-0000-0001-0000-0000-0010'', not present anywhere else on the disc, separated by three merging bits, followed by 33 bytes in EFM encoding, each followed by 3 merge bits. This forms a 588 bits long structure (24+3+33*(14+3)) called channel frame. The 33 bytes in channel frame are composed of 24 bytes of user data, 8 bytes of parity, and 1 byte of subcode data.


The 98 channel frames which make up the 2352 (98 * 24) byte sectors (or frames) contain 98 bytes of subchannel data, of which 96 bytes are usable. The subchannel bytes are further divided to individual bits, labeled PQRSTUVW, from most to least significant bit, and forming eight parallel bitstreams called channels, subcode channels, or subchannels. These are used to control addressing and playback of the CD.


Each CD track has an index; however, it is rare to find a
CD player A CD player is an electronic device that plays audio compact discs, which are a digital optical disc data storage format. CD players were first sold to consumers in 1982. CDs typically contain recordings of audio material such as music or audio ...
that displays or can access this feature, except occasionally in pro audio equipment, usually for
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a transm ...
broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum (radio waves), in a one-to-many model. Broadcasting began wi ...
. Every track at least has index 1, and often has a pre-gap which is index 0. Additional songs, such as "
hidden track In the field of recorded music, a hidden track (sometimes called a ghost track, secret track or unlisted track) is a song or a piece of audio that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, LP record, or other recorded medium, in such a way as to ...
s", may have index 2 or 3.

Video tracks

On a DVD, each track is called a title, because it is intended to hold a single movie title, or episode of a TV series. Extra content and bonus features on a DVD are also on separate tracks or titles. The sub-track index is called a chapter, like a
chapter Chapter or Chapters may refer to: Books * Chapter (books), a main division of a piece of writing or document * Chapter book, a story book intended for intermediate readers, generally age 7–10 * Chapters (bookstore), Canadian big box bookstore ...
in a
book A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many page (paper), pages (made of papyrus, parchment, vellum, or paper) bookbinding, bound together and protected by a book cover, cover. Th ...
. This was inherited from its predecessor the
LaserDisc The LaserDisc (LD) is a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium, initially licensed, sold and marketed as MCA DiscoVision (also known simply as "DiscoVision") in the United States in 1978. Its diameter typical ...
, which contained only one title divided into chapters.

Data tracks

The Compact Disc specification (as defined in the Red Book) was originally intended for storing digital audio, but mainstream applications for optical disc storage have since expanded to other uses as well. One such extension, the Yellow Book, defines the
CD-ROM A CD-ROM (, compact disc read-only memory) is a type of read-only memory consisting of a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write or erase—CD-ROMs. Some CDs, called enhanced CDs, hold both compu ...
specification -- a standardized method of storing arbitrary digital data in a CD track. At a low level, the resulting data track does not differ significantly from an audio CD track, other than the interpretation of the data within. Because of this, it is possible to play back CD-ROM data on an audio CD player. However, the data on these tracks are not coherent audio samples -- that is, where each sample typically has a high degree of correlation to the one previous, and to the next. As such, the apparent randomness of encoded sample values tends to manifest as white noise, similar to the static of an untuned analog TV or radio receiver. The high amplitude and atypical frequency distribution (with excessive spectral density in the high frequencies, as compared to that commonly found in meaningful audio) is often unpleasant, and can, potentially, exceed the thermal limitations of speakers, causing damage if left to play at a high enough volume. Consequently, many CD players manufactured from the late 1990s onwards will mute the audio output when they detect a data track. Some discs -- for example, for game consoles such as the Sega
Dreamcast The is a home video game console released by Sega on November 27, 1998, in Japan; September 9, 1999, in North America; and October 14, 1999, in Europe. It was the first sixth-generation video game console, preceding Sony's PlayStation 2, Nint ...
-- contain a supplementary Red Book audio track warning the listener against playing the data tracks.


The Orange Book specification added the concept of "sessions" to CDs (the original specs for
CD-DA Compact Disc Digital Audio (CDDA or CD-DA), also known as Digital Audio Compact Disc or simply as Audio CD, is the standard format for audio compact discs. The standard is defined in the ''Red Book'', one of a series of Rainbow Books (named f ...
CD-ROM A CD-ROM (, compact disc read-only memory) is a type of read-only memory consisting of a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write or erase—CD-ROMs. Some CDs, called enhanced CDs, hold both compu ...
implicitly assume only one "session" per disc). Each session has the three areas that are included in the original structure for CD-DAs and CD-ROMs: a ''lead-in'' containing the session's ''Table of Contents''; a ''program'' holding individual ''tracks'' (the information being stored); and a ''lead-out'' to mark the end of the session. If a disc has multiple sessions, each session has this same structure (lead-in, program area, and lead-out). In these discs, the lead-in areas contain addresses of the previous sessions. The TOC in the lead-in of the latest session is used to access the tracks. Each session must have at least one track. The first lead-out is 6750 sectors (about 13 megabytes) long; each subsequent lead-out is 2250 sectors (4 megabytes) long.Location of the Toc (Table of Contents) on a Disc.
/ref> The following table shows the structure of a multi-session CD: In sequential Blu-ray discs, session ranges are recorded in a "Sequential Recording Range Information" (SRRI) field of a "Disc Management Area" (DMA). Sessions contain logical tracks, which can be split to create new tracks. A final, "invisible" session holds free space in a single logical track, called the invisible/incomplete track. When a disc is finalized or closed, the latest information in the temporary DMAs such as SRRI is taken and copied into the DMA.



Optical disc authoring Compact disc DVD