Sony has announced that it would market audio recorder called "HAR-D1000," equipped with a 40 G-byte HDD on February 21, 2002. With the use of an audio compression technology code-named "ATRAC3," HAR-D1000 is capable of downloading music data at double speed whenever a music CD is inserted into the CD player. ATRAC3 encodes the music data at 132 K-bit per second and can record up to approximately 600 hours.
To date, various companies have developed slews of audio devices that are equipped with HDDs. Onkyo unveiled its "MB-S1" back in June 2001, Yamaha announced its "CDR-HD 1000" featuring both an HDD and CD-R/RW device in August 2001 and Pioneer made public its "X-HD1" in late October 2001, soon after showcasing at CEATEC JAPAN 2001.
As such, the manufacturers seem to hold hopes in the development of audio recorders thinking that it would eventually lead to the catapult for revitalizing the audio recording industry. Sony said what distinguishes HAR-D1000 from other products previously launched by its competitors was the fact that HAR-D1000 was developed as a device not having the need to connect with a PC.
On the other hand, many products previously developed by Sony's competitors were manufactured based on the assumption that they would use USB, small memory cards and CD-R disks for PC connection. In contrast, HAR-D1000 will not be equipped with a digital output terminal. In fact, it can only have an analogue output. (For reference, HAR-D1000 has an optical digital input terminal.)
Furthermore, Sony's soon-to-be-released product will not be able to play a CD-R/CD-RW disk. Says Sony, "According to our research, the average number of CDs a Japanese owns was close to one hundred. It must be a burden for such users to keep up with such a huge number of CDs. The decision for commercialization was made by targeting users who may not be forte en handling a PC but wants to enjoy music easily wherever they are." Said that, Sony tried to hold the price down of its product. Whereas most of its competitors set price near 100,000 yen, HAR-D1000 purportedly is to be fixed at around 65,000 yen.
HAR-D1000 is equipped with a function dubbed as "Highlight Scan." The highlight scan was developed so that the users will be able to select the music of their own choice from a vast sea of their collection. Once a user chooses and records a particular intro or bridge of tunes from a CD album, the highlight scan would make the CD player play the recorded parts of the tunes one after another. Play would last for about ten seconds per album.
Users would use remote controls and buttons set on to the player itself. All they have to do is to choose an album and select their music of their preference. At the initial stage of default, the first ten seconds of the music will be recorded. Users would listen to the music and can roughly set the point where the bridge begins by dialing buttons for track setting. Sony only went further as to mention that the disk employs fluid dynamic bearing and declined to comment further on details including what the disk diameter was.