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New Sony Minidisc Players

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the restricted-and-proprietary dept.

Music 436

Andy_R writes "Sony's has announced it's new new range of Hi-MD players at the CES show. The range of players (which should hit the shops in April) will start below $200 for a device that can function as a USB hard drive as well as storing a claimed 45 hours of music. The twist is that the data is stored on a new type of removable 1Gb media, a development of the minidisk format, with blanks costing about $7 each. The BBC have some more details including backwards compatibility with old-style minidisks and an ominous mention of 'built-in copyright protection' but I can't find anything on Sony's official site yet." Another reader reader submitted some pictures and specifications (pdf).

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436 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915596)

Michael Sims, tabarnak d'ptit boss d becosses ! Tut prends pour el roy mais t'agis tjrs en couillon, pis jveux ktu meurs benvite sti d'enfant d'chienne

Babelfish: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915719)

Michael Sims, tabarnak of ptit boss D becosses! Concealed take for el roy but acted you tjrs as a asshole, worse jveux ktu die benvite sti of child of bitch

Re:Babelfish: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915942)

Real translation:
Michael Sims, you fuckin little wannabe boss! You think you're the king but you keep acting like an ass, and I want you to die really soon you fuckin son of a bitch

Re:FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915892)

Sony. What is it all about... is it good, or is it whack?

But does it come in strawberry? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915597)

I mean, who would buy one if it doesn't come in fruity colors?

Re:But does it come in strawberry? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915822)

fruity colors? I want them in fruity flavors!

What's the point? (5, Insightful)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915599)

The reason I got a HDD mp3 player was because I was tired of carrying media around with me. mp3 CD players can be had for less than $100 for a good one. The media for this thing doesn't hold much more than a CDRW, and each "disc" costs about as much as a spindle of CDRWs. Couple that with the fact that in order to get the capacity of a 20G HDD mp3 player, you'd wind up spending just as much. And carrying discs around. Then add in DRM, in typical Sony fashion. Screw that.

I predict minidisc will continue to be Sony's ed-headed stepchild.

Re:What's the point? (2, Interesting)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915665)

I'd rather use one of those mini-CDs that hold less data than a crappy, proprietiery mini-disc format.

Re:What's the point? (1)

plumby (179557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915690)

How good are mp3 CD players for jog protection? The last (non-mp3) CD player I had had got pretty much the best jog/skip protection available, yet I couldn't walk down the street without it jumping, yet the MP3 player that I've got has never jumped once - that's been walking, running, cycling etc.

Re:What's the point? (4, Funny)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915770)

I've recently seen an inexpensive MP3/CD player with 2 minutes of MP3 anti-skip. I personally had to continuously tap that thing for 5 minutes to get it to start skipping. Of course I was also defending myself from the young child who's MP3 player I was constantly hitting, so that could have given it the chance to recover once or twice.

Re:What's the point? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915805)

exercise? go post somewhere else.

Re:What's the point? (2, Interesting)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915826)


How good are mp3 CD players for jog protection? The last (non-mp3) CD player I had had got pretty much the best jog/skip protection available, yet I couldn't walk down the street without it jumping, yet the MP3 player that I've got has never jumped once - that's been walking, running, cycling etc.

I've got a Sony Altrac3plus MP3 CD-Walkman D-NF610 that I use for jogging and haven't heard it skip once. Street price is $89 and it includes FM/AM/Weather/TV reception. Obiously the TV band is audio only, so don't get your hopes up.

It sounds as if the CD-drive only spins up at the beginning of each song, so I'm guessing it has enough memory to hold an entire song while playing. Also, because it rarely uses the actual CD, the battery life on this thing is unreal. I've gotten well over a month of usage on this thing with 2 double-A batteries when playing MP3's off CD. The battery life goes way down when playing normal CD's.

Re:What's the point? (3, Funny)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915952)

The harddisk players have no issues with jogging, walking, running, etc. None. Plenty of people jog with there ipods, and I have never heard of anyone having a problem with it.

While the old CD player may have had a couple of seconds of cache for skip protection, the ipod has half an hours worth. I have dropped mine on hard floors several times, and it doesn't even stop playing.

This is just a common misconception, carried down from the eightees when you weren't allowed to breath while files loaded for fear of crashing the read head...

Re:What's the point? (5, Informative)

FerretOnMountDew (716007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915723)

MDs are great. They combine the size of a flashcard-style mp3 player with the removable media features of a cd/cdrw mp3 player. And cost a bit less to replace than a HDD player.

Personally, I've been eyeing a sony md player for a bit, but I think I'll hold off for the new 1gb md format to pan out a little. If nothing else, it'll drive the cost of the older-style players down a bit. Hopefully, the 1gb format will take off, though.

Now an annoying DRM is a different story. And that will be the only factor (for me) which will make or break it in the long run.

Re:What's the point? (2, Interesting)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915831)

I agree about the original MD players. They have their strong points, and although they're getting fewer, I can see how some people would be attracted to them. My main point was the price. A decent portable MD player costs next to nothing, same for the disks. But just the player for $200? And media you can't use anywhere else? Even without DRM, I just can't see a single reason to even consider this thing.

Re:What's the point? (1)

dustmote (572761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915791)

I personally like the MD media, because they're so small, but you make a good point. With the increasing size of things like the Ipod, there's not much point to them anymore. Still, I think I could probably fit my entire CD collection on less than a shoebox full of minidiscs, so I guess if I were fanatic about having everything portable it would still be cool. I'm not, though. :) Of course, I probably like my MD thingie because it was free....

Re:What's the point? (5, Interesting)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915798)

DAT is a ten year old perfectly good technology. I defy anyone to walk into a mall and find a DAT device, a Digitam Minidisc, or a host of others. People simply won't buy a crippled product, therefor an entire decade of technologies were exterminated. This is what happens when the law attempts to impose DRM.

Re:What's the point? (3, Interesting)

gemseele (172754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915801)

Why? Because those HDD mp3 players (nomad, ipod) have crap for battery life. Portable mp3 CD players are nice but don't fit in my pocket nicely like my NetMD. Minidiscs are also more robust than CDRW for carrying around and re-writing to. Plus you don't need a computer to record.

I'll admit that Sony did practically destroy it's own creation with all of it's annoying restrictions including the inability use the media as data storage. It would have made the perfect replacement for the floppy disc, zip disc, etc.

Discs are a good thing (1)

jetmarc (592741) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915807)

> I was tired of carrying media around with me

Actually I prefer disc-based players, simply because I get tired of listening to the same music over and over again. With the same stuff on the drive for a long time (and even if it's lots of it), I'm unhappy. The advantage of a disc player is that you can swap the whole collection for a new one. Not a single one of those over-listened tunes remain. It's difficult to do that with a 20GB HD, even when you try hard.

That's why I favor disc players, although I'm rather a CD-R fan than MD. Actually I would love to see a DVD-R based player, but those are still to come.

Re:Discs are a good thing (2, Informative)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915924)

The advantage of a disc player is that you can swap the whole collection for a new one. Not a single one of those over-listened tunes remain. It's difficult to do that with a 20GB HD, even when you try hard.

Curious: exactly how large is your music collection? Mine is about 35G, and I have a 10G HD player. Even though it took quite a bit of time, I was able to weed out the stuff I never listen to in order to get it down to 10G. I occasionally have to rework things, but it works well.

As far as swapping the collection for a new one, and the over-listened tunes not remaining, I don't see that as a problem easily solved by playlists.

In any case, I'm a lazy ass, and creating a playlist is easier than burning a CD.

why use MD if there are mp3 players... (0, Flamebait)

dummkopf (538393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915601)

I do not understand why the MD format is still around and Sony releases a new player if there are mp3 players for the same price which can carry much more music for less weight...

Re:why use MD if there are mp3 players... (1, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915687)


I do not understand why the MD format is still around and Sony releases a new player..

Remember how Sony kept the Beta format around long after it was "dead". (not to argue that VHS > Beta!) Proprietary formats ensure lock in.

Re:why use MD if there are mp3 players... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915792)

But Beta was better quality! VHS was made for home customers. TV stations always used Beta because VHS wasn't good enough for their needs.

Re:why use MD if there are mp3 players... (1)

Eric S. Smith (162) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915907)

TV stations always used Beta because VHS wasn't good enough for their needs.

And they still do. Of course, it's the broadcast version, not the consumer version, and I think there's a digital variant these days. But it's still Beta-something.

Re:why use MD if there are mp3 players... (3, Insightful)

mashx (106208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915694)

Personally: 'Cos MD sounds better than MP3, I am not aware of any available MP3 recorders, especially not portable MP3 recorders. I use my MD as recording my (DJ) sets, and that is not just at home, but when I'm playing out.

However, I don't like the Sony MD, and have always had Sharp. If there is one thing that will definitely prevent me from using this is the DRM.

Re:why use MD if there are mp3 players... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915762)

I had an MP3 player before and I hated it because my music was all massacred (bad quality). On my MD, it's crystal clear.

Niche market. (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915763)

They're still good high-quality audio recorders, but they're being quickly superceded by lossless digital solutions.

I've heard of radio stations using MDs to record phone conversations... I mean, if you're going to be interviewed on the phone, you'd receive a courier package with an MD recorder, you then conduct the interview on the phone, recording to the MD. You then return the MD, and the station has a high-quality audio of both sides of the conversation which they can play on the air.

Other applications I've heard of were bootlegging from rock concerts, stuff like that.

Re:why use MD if there are mp3 players... (1)

Eric S. Smith (162) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915865)

I do not understand why the MD format is still around and Sony releases a new player if there are mp3 players for the same price which can carry much more music for less weight...

That might be an argument against minidisc players, but minidisc recorders are used for all kinds of field recording. Radio reporters, for instance, will plug a good microphone (hacked to provide unbalanced input) into a minidisc recorder for interviews and such.

The current batch of commercial minidisc recorders appear to be slightly crippled in the digital-out department, unfortunately, but there's an advantage to be had there over analog recording -- you can edit your recorded sound without losing a generation in analogue dubbing between the capture medium (the minidisc) and the editing medium (a WAV file on a PC hard disk, these days).

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915603)

fp

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Gosh.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915607)

You forgot to swipe at the sony as an iPod copy. Sony is just copying Apple on the portable music player front, all the way back to the Walkman, you know.

Floppydisk replacement (5, Insightful)

radoni (267396) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915618)

I always thought of MiniDisc medium as the potential to replace the floppydisk. Sort of a wet dream for MO medium in common use. Lack of a drive to read/write to MiniDiscs as computer storage, high prices, and availability of writable CD's killed this one, but i wouldn't be suprised if sony is able to jump on it with a 1gb format.

Re:Floppydisk replacement (0)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915699)

I wonder how many people are turned off of personal digital audio players by the compromised sound quality of lossy codecs? The price per megabyte isn't nearly so attractive for those that prefer lossless quality.

When MiniDisc was new (and expensive), manufacturers targeted audiophiles while the advertising emphasized custom mixes and sound quality (even though ATRAC is also lossy). With "MP3 players," the emphasis is usually on quantity, not quality. Being able to accomodate realtime filters like DFX [fxsound.com] might be a way to find some middle ground.

I realize that most consumers either tolerate or are unaware of the fidelity loss, hence the continued dominance of the now inferior MP3 format. Still, I think that in order for this market to grow more quickly, it should educate consumers about the options available to them with these devices: CD quality if you want it, or OGG (etc.) if you want more tracks per MB.

Re:Floppydisk replacement (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915781)


Why did you do a straight copy of this post made 5 minutes before yours [slashdot.org]? Trying to karma whore?

Re:Floppydisk replacement (1)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915824)

http://anti-slash.org/tools/db/index.php?page=0&te xt=Minidisc+Players&title=&author=

Re:Floppydisk replacement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915889)

Admitting you're karmawhoring from anti-slash.lame.org? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Re:Floppydisk replacement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915716)

The MD-Data format does exist but it isn't exactly viable [minidisc.org].

We've already had Zip & Jazz drives, 120Mb "floppies" and all sorts of small MO-like formats. MD-Data was just another one of them.

Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 player" (5, Insightful)

klipsch_gmx (737375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915629)

I wonder how many people are turned off of personal digital audio players by the compromised sound quality of lossy codecs? The price per megabyte isn't nearly so attractive for those that prefer lossless quality.

When MiniDisc was new (and expensive), manufacturers targeted audiophiles while the advertising emphasized custom mixes and sound quality (even though ATRAC is also lossy). With "MP3 players," the emphasis is usually on quantity, not quality. Being able to accomodate realtime filters like DFX [fxsound.com] might be a way to find some middle ground.

I realize that most consumers either tolerate or are unaware of the fidelity loss, hence the continued dominance of the now inferior MP3 format. Still, I think that in order for this market to grow more quickly, it should educate consumers about the options available to them with these devices: CD quality if you want it, or OGG (etc.) if you want more tracks per MB.

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (1)

pantycrickets (694774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915703)

I wonder how many people are turned off of personal digital audio players by the compromised sound quality of lossy codecs?

Probably somewhere between 1-100 people I would imagine.

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915967)

yeah really, most idiots can't even tell the difference on their shitty headphones.

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915730)

That's interesting. I'm open to correction here, but I thought that the point of MP3 was that it eliminated all the stuff that the human ear couldn't pick up. Surely it can't be an 'inferior' format just because it doesn't keep everything? Or am I missing something?

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (2, Informative)

radish (98371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915845)

Encode a CD in mp3 at 32 kbps. Now listen to it and tell me it's only eliminated "stuff that the human ear couldn't pick up". Lossy codecs (mp3, aac, ogg, mpeg, jpeg, etc etc) work by removing some data from the original. Which data they remove, and how much, is dependent on the particular codec and some "quality" setting (usually quantified as a target bit rate). Taking mp3 as an example, as you move the bit rate up it gets closer and closer to the original source. You'll never get it exactly the same, due to the reencoding there will always be some differences, but the vast majority of people would be hard pushed to tell the difference between CD and MP3 at, say, 320kbps using average an hifi. MP3 is generally considered an inferior format to the newer ones (WMA, AAC, OGG etc) because at any given bit rate it sounds worse than them. This difference is most pronounced at lower rates - OGG is clearly better than MP3 at 96kbps for example, but it's less obvious at 320.

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (1)

RedStorm (9407) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915899)

Compression standards such as MP3/OGG and others are lossy compressors therefore some quality degradation is to be expected. Most compression schemes will attempt to do as you mentioned which is to remove information that human ear cannot process anyway. But when you restrict the compressor to a specific bitrate such as 128kbits/sec then the compressor will unfortunately remove more information from the original signal that will be detectable by the human ear. You can play with this by compressing the same song at two different birates such as 64kbits/sec and 256kbits/sec. Playing those two samples one after the other will show the difference and all the loss that the lower bitrate is causing.

But sound quality is subjective like many things. Therefore if MP3s at 128kbits/sec sound alright to you then good an MP3 Player costing less will be perfect for you needs. If you are a more demanding listener perhaps you will need to investigate other Players such as MiniDiscs,CDs or perhaps DVD-Audio or even SACD althought I don't think any company as made portable players out of those standards ? :-)

alp!

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915767)

The original MD codecs were not anywhere near CD quality. It wasn't until they released their 4th rev of their encoding format did it start getting close to even a MP3 in quality. Their biggest selling points originally were that it sounded better than a cassette, the media was recordable, and it's small. Right before CDRs became so damn cheap, they actually had me thinking of buying one. I'm glad I resisted their last big marketing push a few years back. It's a shame they're always a day late and a dollar short.

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (1)

Zelet (515452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915835)

The iPod supports a couple of lossless formats.

Re:Minidisc audio quality vs. your avg. "MP3 playe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915875)

JIHAD!!!!!

caught...

FINALLY! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915631)

YEEESH, I was wondering when Sony was going to get off of their butts and use the minidisc as a portable storage device. I know they had some data storage devices based off the minidisc, but the storage capacity was pretty low (sub 200 meg) and VERY expensive. As long as they don't fudge the product like their first 'mp3' players, they oughta have a real winner on their hands.

I'm still waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915636)

for an Asian, Linux based system which uses DVDs, CDs or hard disks, and which sell by the bucketload for 70 UKP or $130 or whatever.

Minidiscs as removable media (5, Interesting)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915644)

Finally being able to use MDs as removable media is really great. I remember hearing about a drive for the old MDs that was intended for using them as data storage, but I've never seen one.

These new MDs coul be a viable replacement for CD-roms, but only if they aren't bogged down with DRM. A physically small, 1GB disc in a protective caddy. It's almost too good to be true.

Re:Minidiscs as removable media (1)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915691)

The MD-Data drives were rare then, and are scarce as hell now. They were a nice idea, but had some major drawbacks:
- 120mb of storage
- _slow_ seek times
- Required special, expensive data disks
- could not record audio.

Compared to a Zip drive of the same period, that was had the same capacity, a larger installed base, and was much less expensive overall very few people purchased the data drives.

The were / are some multi-track audio recorders that used the data disks to lay down 4 tracks at once, but they've pretty much dissapeared as well.

--
lds

Re:Minidiscs as removable media (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915720)

I remember hearing about a drive for the old MDs that was intended for using them as data storage, but I've never seen one.

It was almost 10 years ago that I first saw one listed in a MacWarehouse (IIRC) catalog. It was ridiculously expensive. Iomega came out with the Zip drive a few months later, and quickly killed that particular incarnation of MD-Data.

~Philly

Re:Minidiscs as removable media (2, Insightful)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915812)

" A physically small, 1GB disc in a protective caddy. It's almost too good to be true."

It is too good to be true. If you carry them in your pocket, they get dust, dirt, and stuff in the disc, and you can't wipe it off, so it eventually jams up the player by fscking the lens and servos.

Re:Minidiscs as removable media (1)

Xibby (232218) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915954)

Burnable CDs are cheap because they lack the proctive caddy. If I'm not mistaken, Sony proposed a similar protective case for the DVD standard, and look what we got. MD is Sony's own standard, like memory stick. The only media format that Sony has put out that the industry has accepted is the format for PlayStation 1 and 2 games. If the PlayStation2 didn't have DVD playback as one of it's key featuers, I'd bet Sony would have gone with a more expensive media option...

Nice! (1)

coloclone (552113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915649)

I use my MiniDisc player like an old tape recorder... You know "note to self." It makes it nice to be able to put in track marks and fast forward to relevent spots in the recording.

You might be seeing my old MD pop up on eBay soon... hehehe.

Hey Michael (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915654)

from the restricted-and-proprietary dept.

Why are you always such an ass??!!

You would cream your pants over iPods, another restricted and proprietary device, while Sony's is evil?

Typical doubletalk from slashdot editors. The nice shiny things we like are good, the nice shiny things we don't like are bad.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

Re:Hey Michael (0, Offtopic)

arashiakari (633150) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915891)

Good point.

Same happens w/politics here though. There is a sort of "editorializing" that happens... you would have never seen a poll with an option of:

SuperChicken: The Cock Rockin' Exploits of Bill Clinton

But we get a poll option smearing two Republicans.

Extra functionality probably will not save the MD (2, Insightful)

W32.Klez.A (656478) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915656)

Adding the capabilities to store other files on it like a USB hard drive is nice, but for less than 200 bucks, you can get yourself a 200gb USB hard drive/enclosure.

and what would you do with it? (2, Interesting)

radoni (267396) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915760)

referencing the above "for less than xxx bucks you can get yourself a xxxgb USB hard drive/enclosure"...

you still
A) need a computer
B) power supply (for most of them, a hassle anyways)
C) driver issues

my mom actually bought a meatloaf minidisc from the store to listen to. she's a COBOL hacker for a university, like some of you. when she's home, the last thing i'd ever see is her using a computer.

if you don't want to deal with a computer, you use a minidisc. it's for normal people. sony is losing their market of people who are afraid to ask their techno-savvy friends for help.

remember when one amongst you had the fast bb connection and burned you collections of mp3 files because the lot of y'all had dialup, or worse, AOL (back when it was known as America OnHold... busy signals, automated tech support). the thing is that technology is being accepted by the people who don't care to know how it works or what it does as long as their tunes are available and under control.

Re:and what would you do with it? (1)

W32.Klez.A (656478) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915794)

Yes, as a player, it's probably ok for a lot of people, but this line:

will start below $200 for a device that can function as a USB hard drive

is totally weak. Imagine a USB HD you had to change media in if you wanted to store more than 1gb. On top of that, you couldn't store anything bigger than 1gb.

So, the "USB HD" functionality of this thing is crap.

Re:and what would you do with it? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915893)

Don't know about you, but there aren't that many >1Gb files I need to transfer from one place to another on a regular basis. Digital video (I mean "raw" DV, not DV I've converted into a Quicktime stream) is perhaps the sole example and even then that's if I plan to move it as one huge file representing an hour or two, which isn't very likely.

Not that I doubt that one day 1G will not be enough for most applications, but for now, it's pretty good.

Compatible with PC. What about Mac? Linux? (5, Insightful)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915668)

"Hi-MD" uses the FAT file system, making it possible to use "Hi-MD" formatted MDs and 1GB "Hi-MD" discs as versatile media for recording PC data files, such as images and text. Furthermore, as portable, rewritable PC media, "Hi-MD" complies with USB format's Mass Storage Class, ensuring that simply by connecting a "Hi-MD" product to a PC it is immediately recognized as an external storage device.

What do you think, Mac, Linux compatible?

Re:Compatible with PC. What about Mac? Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915715)

as long as it abides by the USB Storage standard, it should work.

DRM on Old (and probably new) minidiscs. (3, Informative)

nemui-chan (550759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915671)

The only complaint I currently have about my minidisc is the drm technology on it now. While you can copy any media to your minidisc using the supplied software (and any other software I've seen works the same way), you can only copy the media back onto the pc it was checked out from. If your pc crashes, then you're pretty much out of luck, and you better hope that minidisc lasts.

Re:DRM on Old (and probably new) minidiscs. (1)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915726)

When I was originally looking at the NetMD tech, this wasn't the case. Perhaps its changed, but a while ago it was _easy_ to make more than three burns of some audio. You just needed o remove it from the DB of the application on the computer (easily done through the apps GUI) and re-import it from the source tracks (be they MP3, audio CD, whatever). NetMD is still pretty neat, in my book.

--
lds

magneto-optical (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915777)

Ouch! That sucks. The new discs are magneto-optical just like the old ones, which makes them ideal for archival use. But with that DRM you wouldn't be able to back anything up onto them.

Great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915679)

This is great news! I have always been a fan of the minidisc format but in recent years it has lost ground to flash-memories used in mp3-players, despite it's obvious benefits (really low cost per megabyte) and Sony's efforts to make the format more modern (such as 32x and 64x speed transfers via USB introduced via NetMD). I hope and think this new format has a chance of being able to turn the table once again!

In other news... (3, Funny)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915686)

Intel announces 4004C CPU
Microsoft announces Windows 98TE
Apple announces Apple IV
etc. etc. etc.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915748)

Huh?

Re:In other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915896)

what the...?

Why? (0, Insightful)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915712)

At $7/GB, that's quite expensive. CD-Rs are usually free with a rebate, and store nearly a GB for $0.07 otherise. CD-RWs are in the same price neighborhood. Mini-DVDs would pack much more, and would be a lot cheaper than $7/GB.

Why doesn't Sony give up on this technology? Optical discs are the way to go, with flash cards being a good enough technology for the rest. This is like re-incarnating the Betamax.

Besides, you can already get 1GB MP3-playing drives [pendrivemp3.com] in the size of a keychain, great for jogging or sneaking in class. Sony's are much bigger, being about 3/4 the size of a CD player.

reliability (5, Insightful)

radoni (267396) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915818)

you cannot beat the reliability of a magneto-optical drive (essentially what a minidisc format functions as). i don't trust an unprotected cdrom disc with my data for more than a few minutes, and a protected one will degrade over a few years. some of my early mp3 backup discs have already "faded" with time, despite being kept in their oldschool caddy trays.

Re:Why? (1)

C32 (612993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915859)

It's mainly for the japanese market afaict, they loves them some minidiscs (like they still love laserdisc and sundry other weird formats/systems that flopped outside of asia)..

Re:Why? (1)

Krieger (7750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915869)

I don't suspect that the $7/GB will last long. I don't think it will get to below $3.5/GB quickly though. Regardless it allows you to have multiple 1GB disks around that are re-writeable, smaller then your average CD. They're pocket sized (shirt pocket and pants pocket). They have a hard cover that protects them, which keeps you from scratching it other then intentionally.

I always wondered (like a previous poster) why MD didn't manage to displace the floppy. Especially since the movies kept using them as floppies for years. It was always amusing to see a MD disk being used as the "mega-storage" disk.

Re:Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915934)

I see that you've found the "lost" episode of ST-TNG where Wesley re-discovers Uranus ...

Sony's last gasp (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915717)


minidisc is now out of date so i think this is Sony's last push before resigning the format to the bin (along with their other failed formats)

also the hours of music quoted are for 44kbps music files using their lossy ARTRAC (remember it throws away 85% of the data) perhaps if they quoted MB storage space instead of this latest consumer scam of quoting songs (iPod and Jobs did the same) but not bitrate (hiding that in the small print)

all in all MW radio probably sounds better than a 44k ARTRAC file

sorry Sony , your media formats always suck, try concentrating on better quality hardware and stop trying to peddle your proprietry memory sticks, betamax, minidisc failures

Last thing I need is to store more discs.... (3, Insightful)

addie (470476) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915727)

Man, I hate moving. Each time, I have to lug my boxes of hundreds of CD's, it's just ridiculous. Thankfully my new iPod has changed all that.

So I ask, isn't this a step backwards? A 1GB disc for $7 seems like a good deal, but a HD-based digital music player with 40GB is already available... let's do the math.

[$7 (per disc) x 40 (GB)] + $200 (player) = $480

Which, while just over half the cost of a 40GB iPod at the moment, hardly seems worth it given the lack of convenience. Am I missing something? Why move back to a removable storage based system, something we've been moving away from for the last decade?

Re:Last thing I need is to store more discs.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915872)

The 40 GB iPod is 499, or 469 after educational discount.

Copyright Protection Technology (4, Informative)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915737)

From the PDF:

4) Copyright Protection Technology
To prevent an illegal copying of digital content, "Hi-MD" incorporates OpenMG and MagicGate technology, already adopted in Memory Stick and Net MD for content management to ensure that music content stored on a "Hi-MD" disc will be encrypted. "Hi-MD" also conforms to the Serial Copy Management System (SCMS).

Re:Copyright Protection Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915790)

In that case they can stick it up their arse (I hope it has rounded corners)

Already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915739)

It's called a CD player with mp3 support. It uses super-cheap recordable media that is compatible with all kinds of machines. The storage size is only .7 gig, but that is close enough.

Re:Already exists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915927)

but it doesn't fit in my pocket, you schmuck. the idea here is portable, not holdable.

convenience (2, Informative)

NeB_Zero (645301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915740)

i have many friends that use MD for the "convenience" factor... i never saw it but, i can appreciate it...

MiniDisks stay clean a lot better than CDs, and with the RW capabilities there, you can continue to add/remove songs and the like... MDs are smaller than CDs, and come in cool colors.

i dunno, improving the MD won't help anyone who has already adopted the format and with HDD MP3 players becoming so huge (iPod and the like), i doubt there will be any new adopters for the format... but if you weigh it all out, someone who travels alot (and has the input on their car reciever) MD v.s. CD... MD would win (if i could afford it)

Re:convenience (2, Interesting)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915855)

I'm a huge fan of MD.

For me, most of my music listening time is in the car. I tend not to listen to music as I walk around, as it bothers me to not be able to hear my sorroundings.

That being said, MD is great in the car. The disks are plenty tough, and its great to be able to just throw them on the ground or in the back seat or in the console and not have to worry about them getting scratched up. The only real problem is that there's a distinct lack of hardware that supports them (since no one really uses the format except... me. And the Japanese. Or something). I have a Blaupunkt head unit for MD, and a CD Changer in the console that mainly gets used on road trips and when other people bring music. My ideal solution would be two changers, one MD and one CD, or a CD head unit and an MD changer, but the only car audio manufacturer who has support for that kind of configuration is, you guessed it, sony.

Now, a CD changer that read ISO9660 discs with MP3s on them and provided a useful interface to them, that'd be a hell of a thing.

--
phil

mini iPod killer hopefully (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915755)

$50ish cheaper, unlimited expansion :up:
(and I'm an ipod+mac user)

sony has their own encoding scheme (1)

CresentCityRon (2570) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915756)

There is another article on the NYTimes about this. With Sony coming out with their own format to MP3 called Atrac I'm not sure I'll be interested. I have way too many songs encoded already in MP3 to switch over to some other commercial format.

Re:sony has their own encoding scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915803)

dumbass, ATRAC is the codec used for minidisc. it has been since the format came out. imho ATRAC sounds quite a bit better than mp3, but i doubt you actually care.

media is dead (2, Insightful)

bobba22 (566693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915765)

I am almost astonished to see Sony still barking up the removable media tree. It's good to have an alternative to hard drive based players but I really can't see who the uptake is going to be aimed at. Anyone wanting music with instant access is surely going to buy into the ipod style player or CD walkman for those without computers. If Sony thinks that they're going to sell pre-recorded music on these discs, they must be mad. With each disc holding only 1 Gig, you'll still have a bag full of disks to break and lose. MD struggled as a format in it's early days due to people simply not needing another format and I think this may just be a format too far. If Sony could make the whole thing high resolution, they could replace DAT in the professional arena but I think this will flop as a consumer good.

Their DRM isn't that bad (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915769)

Their Magic Gate DRM simply doesn't let you make a digital copy of something that's already a digital copy (via Optical in/out). They only let you make one digital copy of an Analog source as well.

Re:Their DRM isn't that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7915832)

Any DRM = no sale, and calling their crippled format "magic" make no difference at all

brief moment in time (3, Insightful)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915775)

Computer technology is a series of advancements going from one technology to another until specific issues are solved. For the next two years (and past couple) the problem has been small portable storage.

(Case in point, an average $60 video card can drive a higher resolution, and higher refresh rate than most monitors can now support. Video is a solved technology, especially in light of the issues of the past -- EGA, monochrome high resolution)

I'm seriously jonesing because I can't justify the $200+ a 1gb+ device would cost *cough* iPod mini *cough*. On the other hand, I've got a spool of blank cd-r's and a _$30_ cd/mp3 player that'll play them.

So, 640 mb per $0.05 disk, and $30 for the player and a total library of 22 Gb (12 Gb of which I'll never EVER listen to) it's going to take a LOT of improvement in data density/cost to justify another device purchase.

MD is still good for audio production (3, Informative)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915823)


I use my Sony Net-MD player with a condenser mic to make field recordings. The only problem with Sony and it's "Copyright Protection" is that it doesn't allow you to transfer audio over the USB connect FROM the MD player TO the computer.

So basically, any recordings you make need to be transfered analog into your computer's sound card.

There have been petitions in the past from the MD users community demanding Sony allow bi-directional USB transfers, but because Sony has it's music label/tech world schizophrenia, it's never going to happen.

Right now, the only thing that is reasonably priced and does do this is the Nomad 3 from Creative, but I want something with better A/D conversion than what it has.

Better A/D conversion? Not terribly relevant. (1)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915919)

The Nomad Jukebox 3 has an optical line in. New firmware's made recording more seamless, but it's a crapshoot with JB3s; for some, they're bulletproof. For others (like me), the bastard locks up too much to endorse it.
Too bad DATs are still egregiously priced.

I have a Mini Disk Player (2, Interesting)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915844)

I have a Sony Mini-Disk player. I never use it. Instead, I use my Sony CDRW MP3 player.

Why?

1. The CDRW holds a LOT more music.
2. The CDRW media is cheaper.
3. The CDRW plays MP3 AS IS.
4. The CDRW media is a lot faster than the Mini-Disk medai.
5. The CDRW does not require any special software.

Play MP3s as is (no re-encoding them to your own crappy custom DRMed format) and get rid of that GOD-AWFULL software that comes with the Mini-Disk. Honestly, that software my Mini-Disk player came with was amongst the worst I have *EVER* used.

Do the above, and I might consider another one. Until then, stick with your ipods and CDRW players.

Bryan

Minidisk market sectors? - Theaters (2, Informative)

MonkeyBoyo (630427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915878)

The only segment I know that has embraced minidisks is live theater where having the music for your show on a minidisk is a defacto standard. Check out this google search [google.com]. Maybe they will slowly upgrade to the new format.

Are there any other segments where minidisks are standard?

wonder how Connect will look all of a sudden... (2, Insightful)

FerretOnMountDew (716007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915909)

Sony's launching a new online pay music service [cnn.com]. I wonder all of a sudden if this new service will be Atrac only (which has been around for awhile, contrary to a couple other posts I've seen here). Would they be that stupid with it?

I still want the Hi-MDs. =^)

Sony Silliness (from early adopter) (1)

djaj (704060) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915922)

I adopted MD very early (still have my MZ-1!) because I hated tapes and was tired of lugging my CDs around. And for about 10 years, they were the greatest thing on wheels. I have a portable player, a car changer and a home deck. (All of these before they started with this DRM nonsense.)

And yet, I can't get excited about this. It seems obvious to me that hard drive MP3 players are the way to go. The price is much lower, the quality is nearly as good, the portability is similar, and about the only thing you can't do that you can do with MD is swap the HD out. But when you've got a 40GB HD, who cares? I think this won't really take off. It's not like Apple where MD users will jump on this to upgrade all their gear just because it's MD. I think MD served a purpose when it came out, but I honestly think it has been supplanted by better, cheaper technology.

I think this is great... (0, Redundant)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915958)

I've been looking into getting one of the newer minidisc/mp3 players anyway, so getting one that holds 1gb is great for me.

Why is the minidisc great?
* - You can quickly put music and mp3's on it (32x write on the current gen ones).
* - Current gen discs hold 5 hours worth of music a disk. The newer discs will hold approx 50 hours.
* - They are rewritable.
* - The discs can't be scratched
* - You can use md players as pocket voice recorders
* - Small size
* - More reliable than hard-drive solutions
* - Less access time / less skipping than cd/dvd solutions.

Sure, the media costs a little bit more than a cd or a dvd, but it's designed for those who want to quickly throw a bunch of songs on a device to go. Sure, you can backup your whole collection onto a series of discs too...but if you're looking to have your whole collection in your hands and you hate media...yeah, you need a hd player.

Like the orriginal minidisc, this will be a solution that a niche audience will love. Personally, I will use it exclusively. And, if nothing else, it gives you a third format option...ATRACK.

Thanks Sony! (1)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 10 years ago | (#7915961)

It'll have a home right next to my Betamax player and my Sony Superstation tape backup drive. Right across from all my memory stick components and my lovely SACD player. I already had minidisc and long play minidisc and their last PC mindisc drive (I was on of the 5 proud owners!), now I can add HD minidisc.

Sony is like the Voltron of crappy proprietary hardware.
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