Sony Corp. said that it would launch a series of MiniDisc-capable devices compatible with "Net MD," the new specifications for music MDs on Dec. 12.
The users will be able to enjoy the music data downloaded from CDs or music distribution sites to PCs' hard disk drives (HDDs) and transfer them to those new MD devices via USB cable.
The new devices are: a portable MD player, MD-player loaded stereos, and an MD deck. All of those devices are open priced. The expected market prices are as follows, the portable MD player "MZ-N1" is around 45,000 yen, three new models for the MD-player loaded stereos "LAM-1," "LAM-Z1" and "CMT-C7NT," are priced at around 45,000 yen, 60,000 yen and 75,000 yen, respectively. The MD deck "MDS-NT1" is priced at around 30,000 yen. (117.48 yen = US$1)
Sony also revealed a new-model desktop PC "VAIO-MX," now under development. Equipped with an MD deck, compatible with Net MD as standard equipment, this high-performance model features the music playing and editing functions. It will be launched by the end of this year. The details, such as the price and specifications, are still to be determined.
"OpenMG Jukebox Ver.2.2," the attached software, is used for managing and transferring music data. This software is pre-installed in the PC, and as the MD device is connected via a USB cable, the software starts automatically. A user may choose what to transfer to a MD from the music data saved in a HDD and click a button, and then the music data is transferred to the MD. The audio coding system is the same as that for the conventional MDs, "ATRAC" and "ATRAC3," so those recorded Net MDs can be used on the conventional MD player. As for the copyright protection technology, it adopts "Open MG" and "MagicGate."
MZ-N1 weighs about 90g. The main unit is equipped with an LCD, which is capable of displaying nine characters by three lines. A maximum of 100 hours of playing or 50 hours of recording is possible when a nickel-hydrogen rechargeable battery is used together with an AA alkaline battery.
It is equipped with an analog-input terminal, an optical digital input terminal, and a line-out terminal. The outside dimensions are 78.7mm wide by 71.8mm high by 16.9mm thick. A USB cradle, which is used for both connecting to a PC and for recharging, a USB cable, and a headphone are included.
The VAIO-MX is a desktop PC compatible with Net MD in full measure. An MD deck compatible with Net MD is connected via USB and installed inside the main unit. A CD-RW-DVD-ROM combination drive and a MagicGate compatible memory stick slot are also installed so that a user may enjoy music using various media. "SonicStage Premium" is installed as special software for editing and playing music. The music data in ATRAC3, WAVE, MP3, and WMA formats can be managed collectively. Moreover, each data can be recorded on MD, CD-R, and HDD by the "drag and drop" method. Also, it has effect functions, in which the tone of music can be adjusted depending on the musical genres, when playing music.