What is a "Redbook" CD player?

Please a brief explanation... Thanks
A "regular" (or not so regular) CD player. Like the one in my rack and probably yours. The familiar one that we all know and love or hate, that plays the millions of CDs you and I and everyone have been buying and playing for the past several years. The term covers everything from the CD player in your car to $12,000 state of the art high end machines. "Redbook" refers to the engineerling standards for normal CD encoding and playback - as opposed to new high resolution formats ie. SACD or DAD. SACD players also play "Redbook" CDs. There is some debate in audiophile circles about the quality of normal CD playback in these machines. As wonderful as SACD sounds, the Sony machines to my ears are not quite as good as my current (Redbook) CD player, the Cary 303. Not a big deal to me since I have 700 (Redbook) CDs and 0 SACDs. I'll be more interested in SACDs when there are more and more intersting classical recordings available in that format.
One whose hype exceeds its bluebook.
Rackon's explaination is correct, I would add to that: Redbook is a format for 16 bits 44.1kHz sample rate. (That doesn't mean you can't over sample it--it's just that is the native format) Redbook is a single layer format (unlike SACD and DVDs) All standard CDs and CD players must be compatible and compliant to this. Some SACDs are dual layer and layer 1 is Redbook compatible--meaning you can play it back on a standard CD player. And as Rackon pointed out both SACD and DVD players will play back Redbook (standard) CDs.
All are correct (even Khrys). The better question I think is what is a redbook CD, rather than what is a redbook CD player.

As has been aptly pointed out, redbook is 99% of the regular, junky lowgrade CD's available today. In contrast, the higher resolution formats mentioned (SACD/HDCD/DVDA/24,96 etc) are all NONredbook formats that only some higher up players can handle. At least one of these formats (maybe all) are other-color'book' format CD's. Like orangebook for example.

The question I want to see answered: Is HDCD and 24/96 the same? I think one or the other of these (or both) is the orangebook standard, but as is obvious I'm not sure.

Chastob; HDCD is not the same as 24/96. It is a high quality encoding/decoding process with its own decoding chip, or filter that applies only to Redbook CDs. When well implemented it improves regular CD quality. My ML 360S DAC can decode HDCD and also 24/96 signals, but they are not the same. 24/96 is only available from such high density discs as DVD and SACD (not to be confused with "up-sampling of the 44.1khz/16 bit Cds). Craig.
Garfish, thanks. I get it if "it" in your second sentence is HDCD and not 24/96. And do you know which is orange?
I am no expert, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn once, and I think some of you are wrong on the capabilites, tapped and UNtapped, within the "redbook" format. I use a DVD transport that can send 24/96 if the disc is encoded as such. I also use a Bel Canto DAC1 which "upsamples" the "redbook" signal. (Another debate that has been explored here.) I have some Chesky 24/96 cds that are very special in their sonic abilities with this set up. My HDCD and XRCD discs sound great, and I have some regular "redbooks," (like my Lyle Lovett discs,) which sound fantastic, as well. I think there is a lot of potential for you all to be happy with redbook's capabilites when it is done right at production. (They press plenty of crappy lp's don't they?) There is still a lot of room with digital processing which would allow the non-SACD/DAD discs to perform to their maximum potential. This format is not dead, yet. (IMHO) Charlie
What's with the negative's? Did I misspeak? All I was wantin was clarification on the use of the "it", which to me is ambiguous as used. Sheesh. So much for tryin to get a grip on that one. I'll go over to the speaker efficiency section and try there instead. To whomever it may concern, I am sorry for whatever I said that offended. . . Geezopeezo.
Chstob; Sorry I didn't catch your question re "it" sooner in my above post. Yes, "it" refers to HDCD. Craig