AfterDawn: Tech news

Sony to introduce a DVD/CD-RW/MP3 portable device

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 25 Oct 2002 14:01 User comments (8)

Now this thing seems like the Swiss army knife of the portable players.

Sony Electronics is wrapping four devices into one portable package for the holidays.
The consumer-electronics giant's new MPD-AP20U player can play and record CDs as well as play DVDs and digital audio files, such as MP3s. Sony announced the device Monday, saying it will be available in November for less than $300.

"With the benefits of four products wrapped into one portable device, (the MPD-AP20U) can do a multitude of things for the business traveler or the savvy consumer," Sony spokesman Bob DeMoulin said.

As a standalone portable player, Sony's new gadget can play back CDs as well as MP3, WAV and WMA files that are stored on CDs, DVDs or the company's own Memory Stick cards.

When connected to a Windows or Macintosh computer, the device can serve as a CD-RW drive for recording digital content or backing up computer data. When connected to a television or PC, the device can also become a DVD player for watching movies.

Manufacturers have been trying to take advantage of the popularity of DVD playback to push sales of new devices. Adding the technology to gadgets is also becoming cheaper for manufacturers.

The Sony device, too, is part of a trend toward bringing traditional consumer-electronics devices together with the PC. That push has intensified with the popularity of digital entertainment formats such as MP3 music files and file-sharing sites such as Napster.

"The Sony device is tapping into the PC, which is the hub for digital entertainment," said Susan Kevorkian, an analyst with research firm IDC.

The player supports the CD-RW, DVD-ROM, CD and MP3 formats and comes with a Memory Stick expansion slot, a rechargeable battery and a USB 2.0/1.1 interface.

The device measures 5.37 inches by 0.87 inches by 6.26 inches and weighs less than one pound. It also comes with a cradle designed to make it easy to connect to a computer and to recharge its battery.

The MPD-AP20U records and reads CDs at 24X, rewrites CDs at 10X and reads DVDs at 8X.

It's the second device in Sony's family of products that converge audio-visual and information technology functions, DeMoulin said. The first device, called the Digital Relay, came out about two years ago.

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8 user comments

125.10.2002 16:51

It seems like a bit of a handy device to have doesn't it!! There must be a flaw somewhere. You couldn't get a good dvd player cheaper than that which could record cd's also! Should be a good cash in for them!!

226.10.2002 1:19

If it'll play .mp3s recorded on DVDs (as opposed to just cdrs), then that's a killer application. You can get a LOT of mp3s on a single DVD. How many hours/days of music that would work out to I have no idea. A dvd mp3/data disc would sort of make their own expensive memory sticks obsolete-ish for that particular purpose. And the USB connection is a terrific idea, because it's probably the easiest hookup around. - mgb -

326.10.2002 4:59

And USB 2.0, that´s some fast transferring.

426.10.2002 5:08

Yeah, the flaw is within the news article -- it DOESN'T play MPEG-2/DVD at all. Specs say it can act as DVD-ROM drive that can be attached to the PC in order to play DVDs via PC, when using normal DVD player software. So, there we go, it's just audio player with some add-ons.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

526.10.2002 15:28

I knew there was something strange. Can you imaging the amount of recharging you'd have to do if you were playing dvd's through it the whole time!

626.10.2002 23:46

Yes, the wording is just a *tad* misleading. "[When connected to a television]' ..... 'can also become a DVD player for watching movies'. That could fool a lot of people. Still, playback of 70-80+ full music albums on a single dvd disc is pretty impressive stuff, *and* you can transfer (burn) the mp3s from the PC directly to the unit via the USB, if you are willing to use reg'lar cdrs. (Perhaps 10-12 albums). But note that tricky part as well. The device itself will only burn CDs (not DVDs). To burn mp3s to a DVD would still require a separate PC dvd burner. Nice hi-tech yuppy toy though. -- mgb --

727.10.2002 6:10

Hundreds of albums on the disc, but I would imagine that the battery would need to be recharged a few times before you get to play them all...

827.10.2002 16:35

Even if you could use a dvd-r with mp3 on it and listen to it through this device, I hope you wouldn't have to search through it for the mp3 you want. You would be spending 15 minutes finding it, then 4 mins listening to it!!!

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