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MiniDisc is a magneto-optical disc developed by Sony Corp. It was announced in 1991 and made its international debut in 1992. Hi-MD was introduced in 2004 and is another attempt from Sony to bring data storage to the format primarily used for audio, MiniDisc. Before Hi-MD, Sony had tried the same thing with the 140MB MD Data (and briefly MD Data2). However, the MD Data could not replace the floppy disk for storage and fell to the Zip drive. The nail was put in the coffin when CD-Rs became much more widespread, offering 640MB or 700MB storage at affordable rates with convenience.
Hi-MD is another attempt to bring data to the MiniDisc format properly. This time however, the discs offer high capacity 1GB storage with the same dimensions as regular old MiniDisc. Hi-MD allows the storage of more than audio, whether it's video, audio or documents. Files can be digital transferred to and from computers, leaving the old one-way system to rest. Linear PCM audio can also be recorded to these discs now to truly get CD quality audio.
When connected to a computer, a Hi-MD Walkman is seen as a USB Mass Storage Device just like pretty much all the available portable players that store all types of data. Audio and Data can be stored also on Hi-MD discs. However, since 2004, a storage capacity limit of just 1GB does not serve as much of a reason to buy into this technology when you consider one blank DVD disc stores 4.36GB of data and 1GB flash cards are relatively cheap and are free of mechanic noise like that from Hi-MD.
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Here are some news items in the AfterDawn archives that relate to this item..
Sony to dump Connect music service - (August 31st, 2007)
Sony acknowledged that its proprietary ATRAC music format was a market flop by shutting down all its Connect music stores and making its devices compatible with other formats.
Sony kills off ATRAC and SonicStage with latest MP3 player - (April 28th, 2007)
The Sony B100 series of portable MP3 players killed off the ATRAC format.
Sony admits ATRAC was a mistake - (January 23rd, 2005)
Ken Kutaragi has stated that Sony has missed out on the sales of MP3 players and other gadgets by sticking to proprietary formats such as ATRAC.
Multiformat 128kbps public listening test - (May 13th, 2004)
The brief results of a listening test that pitted the most popular digital audio formats of the time against each other. ATRAC3, used with MiniDisc, was found to be second last.