Sony this past week at CES announced four new Hi-MD series of digital music players, the MZ-NH1, MZ-NH600, MZ-NHF800, MZ-NH800 and MZ-NH900. They use the new Hi-MD disks that cost about $7 each and hold 1GB of data or 45 hours of compressed music. The new devices also support the new Sony developed ATRAC3plus codec.
See press release below.
SONY INTRODUCES HI-MD WALKMAN DIGITAL MUSIC PLAYERS
Taking the MiniDisc a big step forward, Sony today announced its new Hi-MD™ Walkman digital music players.
With Hi-MD technology, users can record up to 45 hours of music at up to 100 times transfer speed on one disc, while still enjoying the extensive battery life, compact design and robustness for which MD players are recognized. Removable, re-recordable Hi-MD media provides music lovers with unlimited storage capacity to build an infinite library of their favorite songs.
“Net MD Walkman recorders have been the top-selling digital music players for the past 18 months and with Hi-MD players, we’re giving music lovers more choices,” said Todd Schrader, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics’ portable audio products. “Nothing’s been left out. We’ve created the best overall portable music solution that addresses digital music fans’ needs for high capacity storage and long battery life in a small and extremely durable device.”
Hi-MD Walkman recorders incorporate the ATRAC3plus™ codec. The ATRAC3plus format is a high-quality audio compression technology that Sony developed to effectively reduce the size of audio files while preserving more of the sound quality.
With ATRAC3plus compression, more audio files can be burned to Hi-MD media or for that matter, to a standard MiniDisc. Music can be compressed to 132, 105, 66, 64 or 48 kbps (kilobits per second), so you can store more music or record at higher fidelity. By compressing at 48 kbps, users can enjoy 45 hours of music on one Hi-MD disc or 13 hours of music on one standard, 80-minute MiniDisc.
Record, Manage and Play Back Your Music
Hi-MD recorders connect to the PC via a USB cable for high-speed music transfers. They are compatible with the new Connect™ online music service. They also come bundled with SonicStage® version 2.0 software and the Simple Burner application, which makes it easy to import, manage and transfer music collections. With SonicStage software, playlists or track information created in the jukebox are automatically transferred to the Hi-MD recorder. Additionally, SonicStage 2.0 jukebox supports many Internet audio formats, including MP3, WMA, WAV files.
Hi-MD recorders make it convenient to locate favorite tracks and customize listening options. The devices feature Sony’s Jog Dial™ navigation system, offering a single-hand way to scroll through playlists and songs. Albums, artists and song titles can be viewed on the Hi-MD player’s three-line liquid crystal (LCD) display. Hi-MD recorders also include flexible editing tools so you can change the order of tracks or delete unwanted songs right on the device and without having to re-visit the PC.
Advanced Features, Added Functionality
The new Hi-MD players are packed with extra features that add convenience and utility to the digital music experience. For example, with the new upload function musicians or note-taking students can use the mic-in feature on several of the models to make a self-recording on the device and transfer the content back to the PC. When connected to the PC, Hi-MD recorders act as an external drive enabling users to store and transfer such data files as presentations, digital images and spreadsheets on the discs. Since the USB will feed power to the unit when connected to a PC, there is no need to worry about draining battery life when transferring to the Hi-MD device.
And speaking of battery life, Hi-MD Walkman players let music fans make the most of all that capacity by providing up to 30 hours of continuous playback using just one “AA” battery (MZ-NH600D and MZ-NHF800).
The Hi-MD digital music players are backwards compatible, so they will play back and record music on standard MiniDisc media. All of the players come supplied with a Hi-MD disc and will be available in April.
Top of the Line MZ-NH1 Model
Graceful and chic best describes the MZ-NH1 model. With its full magnesium body and ultra-compact shape, this new recorder sets a new standard in digital music design. The recorder has all of the Hi-MD convenience features, including the mic-in function, and comes with a three-line backlit LCD remote. The elegant USB cradle makes for an easy PC connection and convenient charging of the supplied rechargeable battery. The MZ-NH1 model will be available for about $400.
Entry Level MZ-NH600D Model
For about $200, the MZ-NH600D model is an ideal solution for digital music fans looking for a high-capacity portable player that won’t break the bank. With enough battery life to support hours and hours of music, and the rugged endurance to survive a marathon, this Hi-MD recorder is ready to go anywhere.
Stepping up in the line, the MZ-NHF800 model has an AM/FM/TV/Weather Band tuner remote, making favorite radio and TV programs and on-the-fly editing just a click away. This player also has a line-in and mic-in to enable easy recording from multiple sources and is expected to sell for about $250.
The MZ-NH900 model has an LCD tuner remote that makes managing music on the fly a breeze. It is supplied with a charging stand and rechargeable battery. The MZ-NH900 Hi-MD recorder will be available for about $300.
Like standard MiniDiscs, Hi-MD discs are small, durable and re-recordable up to a million times without degradation in audio quality. Each 1GB disc can hold up to 45 hours of music compressed at 48 kilobits per second (kbps). In addition, Hi-MD media can store PC files, including Microsoft® Word® documents, PowerPoint® presentations and JPEG images. Hi-MD discs are expected to cost about $7 each when they become available in April.
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