Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has developed a new MiniDisc (MD) format with a massively expanded recording capacity.
Sony Corp. will announce details of the technology on Thursday, company spokeswoman Junko Sato said, while the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported the capacity will be about 40 hours, or 30 times the current level of 80 minutes.
The newspaper said Sony planned to release MD recorders and discs that support the new technology later this year.
Sony will urge Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and other rival consumer electronics makers to adopt the technology as a new standard, the report added.
The new format uses a disc of the same size as the existing one and the new equipment is expected to play back content recorded in the existing format as well, the daily said.
It added that the new equipment would also employ copyright protection technology.
The new higher-density MD format is Sony's response to the increasingly competitive portable digital audio device market, Nihon Keizai said.
Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod has been gaining popularity in the United States and Japan for its ability to download music from personal computers and store about 10,000 songs or 600-700 hours of music, the daily added.
A total of around 80 million MD players and recorders have been shipped since the first MD devices were released in 1992, it said.
Sales of MD devices in Japan are expected to remain unchanged at about 6.7 million units in 2004 while global sales are forecast to drop five percent from 2003 to 195 million units, the report said.
It added that Japan and Europe accounted for some 75 percent and 15 percent of global sales respectively.