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Sony Media Music Entertainment Hardware

Sony To Make Its Last MiniDisc System Next Month 263

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that Sony, the creators of the MiniDisc audio format, are to deliver their last MiniDisc stereo system in March. Launched over 20 years ago in late 1992 as a would-be successor to the original audio cassette, MiniDisc outlasted Philips' rival Digital Compact Cassette format, but never enjoyed major success outside Japan. Other manufacturers will continue making MiniDisc players, but this is a sign that — over ten years after the first iPod — the MiniDisc now belongs to a bygone era."
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Sony To Make Its Last MiniDisc System Next Month

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  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:15AM (#42782647) Homepage Journal

    I remember looking at these in the early 90's. They seemed interesting, but the inability to easily make copies due to idiotic DRM made it uninteresting to me. And I'm sure that Sony was asking absurd licensing fees for others to make players (like the home Betamax days).

    And rather than Sony learn any lessons, they have doubled down. For two decades. Is it any wonder their stock and their corporate goodwill are both in the shitter?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:45AM (#42782841)

    Sony's use of "MagicGate" DRM on the computer-to-MiniDisc link was inexcusable, as was their removal of line inputs from later MiniDisc "recorders" (so that you had to go through the DRMed computer-to-MiniDisc path). Their decision to separate MD-Åudio from MD-Data wasn't too great, and their slowness in releasing a high-density MiniDisc format (for a long time, they just pushed higher compression rates - LP2 and LP4) didn't help MiniDisc's cause.

    They probably could and should have lobbied against the copy protection / DRM, recorder tax, and media tax provisions of the AHRA. Especially given that they bought out the Columbia/CBS studios and record company around the time of the DAT fight. (Hope I'm getting my timeline straight here.)

    However, ATRAC in and of itself was not an evil thing. MP3 _players_ came out around - what - 1999? MiniDisc _recorders_ came out in 1992, and they had to be able to compress audio in real-time, not just to decompress it. ATRAC was no doubt designed to allow for real-time compression with the sort of embedded computing power that was available at the time.

  • Re:finally (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:53AM (#42782889)

    only Japan has a management culture weird enough to keep pumping money into half-baked products like MiniDisc without anyone batting an eyelid

    That's not true. The MiniDisc was a great product, I owned and used one for a long time. In Japan it got a pretty decent success, a MD player was usually embedded in hifi systems, and it was also used to exchange data. One problem if any was the DRM (for MDs having music like CDs).

    The main problem that was not mentioned here yet, was the Western protectionism. Western countries wanted to slow down the electronics invasion coming from Japan. MD was not "revolutionary" enough to create a need in Western countries that would have counter balanced the anti-Japan products protectionism.

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:54AM (#42782899)

    Don't worry, Sony will just create another "god damn fucking piece of shit oh god i hate you sony please die in a ditch" proprietary format.

    This describes Apple and Microsoft, Sony by comparison follows standards...Compare and ebook readers; phones; consoles to the competition and you will find standard connectors; standard components; standard formats.

  • Citation needed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:15AM (#42784613)

    The reason MiniDiscs had DRM in the U.S. (but not Japan) wasn't Sony, it was Congress!

    Citation needed. I can find no evidence [] to support this claim.
    Let's examine the timeline shall we?
    * In 1987 Sony purchased CBS Records which is renamed Sony Music Entertainment in 1991
    * In 1992 Sony introduces the MiniDisc.

    So shortly after Sony enters the music business as a content producer suddenly their latest offerings for playing music are loaded with DRM. Almost none of the competing technologies were loaded with similar DRM. The companies that made competing products were not in the content creation business and thus had no internal conflict of interest. When MP3 players came along Sony continued to try to push DRM on their music players despite most competitors lacking similar restrictions. All these were internal decisions to the company that cannot be blamed on anyone but Sony themselves.

    And somehow you think this is the fault of Congress?

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik