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MacRumors
Jan 8, 2004, 04:38 AM
Sony announced (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=musicNews&storyID=4091848) that they would be launching their own online music service later this year.

The 500,000 song service known as "Connect" will be priced similarly to the competition at $1/song. The new service, however, will initially be limited to work with only Sony devices and the songs will come in Sony's proprietary ATRAC3 compression format.

In related news, Sony also announced a high-capacity version of its Mini-Disc (MD) which brings the Mini-Disc capacity to 45 hours.

While the number of online music stores continue to grow, Apple's appears to be the most successful. Apple announced on Tuesday that the iTunes Music store currently has 70% marketshare of the legal music download services according to the latest numbers from SoundScan. Apple also announced that they had sold over 30 million songs from the iTunes Music Store.

MacsRgr8
Jan 8, 2004, 04:42 AM
Won't every label company launch one, eventually?

sw1tcher
Jan 8, 2004, 04:56 AM
Does anyone know if this ATRAC3 format works with any MP3 players out there aside from what Sony has/are planning to release?

As far as i'm aware, nothing supports this. Am I Right?

Anyway, I'm kinda interested in seeing what kind of MP3 player Sony will release to also compete with the iPod and mini. They tend to release some pretty slick hardware, especially in Japan.

hokka
Jan 8, 2004, 04:57 AM
Someone need to get the file format standarized NOW before it's too late, we have what? 4 different incompatable formats now? AAC w/ FairPlay; AAC w/Helix; WMA and now ATRAC

It makes sense to the Sony MD & NET crowd only at the moment, as they do have a huge install base - though this new HiMD (1GB @ $7) will mean all the older equipment would be outdated and it's gonna be a pain-in-the-butt to record or transfer from the computer

Not to mention when the PSP comes out with another disk format

LaughingMan
Jan 8, 2004, 05:01 AM
Maybe this service will be decent in a market like Japan where the minidisc player still has some clout, but in the United States, where the MD has gotten murdered by MP3 players, most significantly the iPod, such a service will tank quickly...

Apple can do what they do with AAC, closing off the format to other MP3 players and not putting in WMA support on the iPod because the iPod is absolutely dominant right now. The closed Fairplay DRM is fine because the iPod is the most popular music player... people don't mind that you can't put it on other players... people buy iPods, so they use the iTunes Music store... conversely, people buy songs on the iTunes store, so they go out and buy an iPod to play those songs on.

The almost universal appeal of the iPod gives Apple the edge on the WMA vs. AAC format war.

What about Sony? They're releasing a store based on their completely proprietary ATRAC format with their own DRM... the only problem is that they do not have a product like the iPod with such universal appeal and established base...

Every other music store has joined the WMA front because at least that format will be a sure runner up to AAC... ATRAC however, and Sony, will come in a distant 3rd, if all they're going to be resting on are their MD players and their ATRAC-only flash based music players....

hokka
Jan 8, 2004, 05:01 AM
Originally posted by sw1tcher
Anyway, I'm kinda interested in seeing what kind of MP3 player Sony will release to also compete with the iPod and mini. They tend to release some pretty slick hardware, especially in Japan.

Here you go: http://www.minidisct.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20006

yawn.. very Sony and nothing special after you've seen 10+ years of MD players (different ****e, same smell)

LaughingMan
Jan 8, 2004, 05:06 AM
Originally posted by sw1tcher
Does anyone know if this ATRAC3 format works with any MP3 players out there aside from what Sony has/are planning to release?

As far as i'm aware, nothing supports this. Am I Right?

Anyway, I'm kinda interested in seeing what kind of MP3 player Sony will release to also compete with the iPod and mini. They tend to release some pretty slick hardware, especially in Japan.

A number of other electronics makers make ATRAC-based MD players other than Sony, but it is important to point out that Sony's "MP3 players" do not play mp3s at all...

Their flash based players play ONLY ATRAC. Also, its not compatible with Mac. It comes with transcoding software for PC that takes MP3, or WAV, or what have you in terms of music files, and change that over to ATRAC (another lossy format, so there is a quality loss) and then transfer it over to the player...

you can't just pop an mp3 file onto the player and expect it to play...

However, Sony's MP3CD players do play true MP3 CDs... they also support ATRAC files on CD also.

desdomg
Jan 8, 2004, 05:10 AM
Originally posted by LaughingMan

What about Sony? They're releasing a store based on their completely proprietary ATRAC format with their own DRM... the only problem is that they do not have a product like the iPod with such universal appeal and established base...


Actually, Sony are able to benefit from an global installed base of MD players that is much larger than the iPod market. From Hi-Fi components to in-car stereos there is a massive selection of MD players on the market. They are a lot cheaper than iPod too. The only advantages to the iPod for me are that the fairplay DRM is more liberal and the iPod looks cooler, holds more songs and doubles as an extra FW drive.

But for an already massive installed base of MD players round the world, for which these new 1 gig disks will be backwards compatible - the emergence of the Sony store will be a force to be reckoned with and serious competition for Apple. Perhaps for the first time.

It was Sony's inactivity that allowed Apple into the market in the first place. Now they seem to be waking up, Apple watch out!

desdomg
Jan 8, 2004, 05:12 AM
Originally posted by LaughingMan
A number of other electronics makers make ATRAC-based MD players other than Sony, but it is important to point out that Sony's "MP3 players" do not play mp3s at all...



Actually, the sony software converts MP3's and any other format you throw at it on the fly into ATRAC - which plays on the MD's. Sound quality of MD is a lot better than iPod.

hokka
Jan 8, 2004, 05:25 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, Sony are able to benefit from an global installed base of MD players that is much larger than the iPod market. From Hi-Fi components to in-car stereos there is a massive selection of MD players on the market.

...

It was Sony's inactivity that allowed Apple into the market in the first place. Now they seem to be waking up, Apple watch out!

I kinda disagrees with you about the Sony Store (Connect) and MD... you see, iPod was designed for/with the internet/computer crowd in mind, where as MD was designed to replace Cassette Tape, the number of people who can actually use the store will be a LOT less than the 70Million of total MD Player sold since what? 1992? Only a small fraction of the MD Players out there can get ATRAC tracks from a computer - the NET version of MD is only a couple of years old and have not been selling well (wonder why).

All my friends who has MD don't even own computers, they just record via the optical cable at x1... it's a pain.

I wonder if people are gonna get a new computer just so they can use a MD player - I think not!

And MD are not that cheap! the top-of-the-line is priced same as a 40Gig iPod! with no added function (than cheaper recording models) but usually smaller (with the typical Sony marketing: smallest MD in the world, or the longest playing MD in the world crap) and nicer looking...

BwanaZulia
Jan 8, 2004, 05:28 AM
As a former MD person (owned three players and a boom box since 1995) I can only say that Sony does not know when to quit.

The MD is long dead. I don't care how many players (crappy) or space alien commercials, the MD as a format is just way too late.

To be fair, it was the best format years ago before MP3 hit the scenes. It was tiny and a great tape replacement. If Sony has not messed around keeping the format to themselves for the first couple of years it could have really taken off.

Now of course, the iPod runs wild. People want 5, 10, 15, 20, 40, 60 GB of space and not just for Music. Don't expect Apple to sit around waiting for everyone to figure out that the iPod can do more than just music.

Sony... remember Beta? :)

BZ

LaughingMan
Jan 8, 2004, 05:37 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, the sony software converts MP3's and any other format you throw at it on the fly into ATRAC - which plays on the MD's. Sound quality of MD is a lot better than iPod.

Read my post. I said that Sony includes software for Windows that transcodes mp3 to atrac...

I highly doubt that MD has better sound than the iPod, especially if you have an existing collection of MP3s. To get those songs onto an MD player, the sony software applies another lossy compression (ATRAC) onto the audio... while the iPod just plays the mp3s as they are...

Plus, if you have the original music CDs in question, you can even rip to AIFF or WAV, two formats that do not add any compression to the signal from the CD, and then just put those lossless files onto the iPod...

The MD *requires* that you put on some lossy compression as even the SP ATRAC codec is about 132 kbits/sec.

iPod, on the other hand, allows for lossless via WAV and AIFF.

Don't believe me? http://www.macminute.com/2003/11/26/ipod

csimmons
Jan 8, 2004, 06:25 AM
...Sony has something Apple doesn't: Sony Music, with a HUGE back catalog of music, possibly including songs (or other content) you can't get on any of the other services, including iTMS.

I'm not saying it will take off; in fact, I think it will die a horrible death:D , but it's something to consider. If they supported AAC, or even WMA, they'd have a better chance.

Vroem
Jan 8, 2004, 06:39 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, Sony are able to benefit from an global installed base of MD players that is much larger than the iPod market.What benefit is there with a car, hifi or portable system that you CAN'T connect to a computer?

But for an already massive installed base of MD players round the world, for which these new 1 gig disks will be backwards compatible The disks will NOT be compatible with old players, that's technically impossible!

It was Sony's inactivity that allowed Apple into the market in the first place. Now they seem to be waking up, Apple watch out! It's true that Sony contributed to many analog and digital formats that have become de-facto standards. But with MD they have made the wrong choice, it will never become a standard because they don't let other companies to benefit from it. (The same story about Memory Stick)

Lancetx
Jan 8, 2004, 07:06 AM
The disks will NOT be compatible with old players, that's technically impossible!

Yeah, everything I've read so far indicates that the new discs will not be backwards compatible at all with current MD players. If this is indeed true, then this won't go too far at all I don't think.

desdomg
Jan 8, 2004, 07:10 AM
Oh well, I'll just shut up then.

jocknerd
Jan 8, 2004, 07:24 AM
Originally posted by hokka
Someone need to get the file format standarized NOW before it's too late, we have what? 4 different incompatable formats now? AAC w/ FairPlay; AAC w/Helix; WMA and now ATRAC

It makes sense to the Sony MD & NET crowd only at the moment, as they do have a huge install base - though this new HiMD (1GB @ $7) will mean all the older equipment would be outdated and it's gonna be a pain-in-the-butt to record or transfer from the computer

Not to mention when the PSP comes out with another disk format

Its simple. Demand Ogg Vorbis. Its the only open-source, patent-free, licensing-free format out there. You could always wrap a DRM around it if you wanted. Plus it sounds better than any of the other lossy formats out there.

jocknerd
Jan 8, 2004, 07:25 AM
Originally posted by Vroem
What benefit is there with a car, hifi or portable system that you CAN'T connect to a computer?

The disks will NOT be compatible with old players, that's technically impossible!

It's true that Sony contributed to many analog and digital formats that have become de-facto standards. But with MD they have made the wrong choice, it will never become a standard because they don't let other companies to benefit from it. (The same story about Memory Stick)

Sony has a history of this. Remember Betamax?

whiskeybravo
Jan 8, 2004, 07:32 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, the sony software converts MP3's and any other format you throw at it on the fly into ATRAC - which plays on the MD's. Sound quality of MD is a lot better than iPod.

You better think about what you are saying. How is it possible to ADD quality to an MP3 or WMA file? Does Sony's compression algorithm fill back in all the information that was tossed out then toss it out again, only better? I seriously doubt it. Now, if you MEANT to say that MD players ship with higher quality headphones and therefore the music sounds better, you may have a point.:rolleyes:

vikingstad
Jan 8, 2004, 07:33 AM
I was thinking, maybe all this competition will be good for Apple in the long run? All these players, promising the latest and greatest will probably confuse consumers a lot.

iTMS has a large market share, and people tend to select the market leader, just out of plain confidence. Just look at Microsoft and Windows. People select it primarily because it has the largest market share. Some people don't even know there is anything else on the market!

So Apple could really pull this off. As long as "downloading legal music on the net" equals iTunes (or the iPod) in the consumer heads that's all that counts. If iTunes can maintain this market share (above the 50% level) during 2004, I think no competition can beat it in the long run. AAC will by then be too dominant. No one wants to risk that the music they buy today will not be playable on the computers or iPods of tomorrow.

I think Apple has a winner on its hands here. A real one!

Tulse
Jan 8, 2004, 08:16 AM
Its simple. Demand Ogg Vorbis.
I thought this was MacRumors, and not Slashdot. :-)

Seriously, the average consumer can't name the format used by their digital music player, much less care about issues of open source. And what would the point be for Apple to use an open source implementation for a system that it wants to keep proprietary?

I do agree, though, that the multiple formats are good for Apple, just as Linux's rise is good for Apple. In both cases, the rise of viable options to Microsoft products provides an opportunity for Apple. If AAC had to compete only against WMA, that might be a fight Apple can't win. But if Sony and Real also propose non-WMA formats, iTMS doesn't seem to unusual.

ipiloot
Jan 8, 2004, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, the sony software converts MP3's and any other format you throw at it on the fly into ATRAC - which plays on the MD's. Sound quality of MD is a lot better than iPod.

Aside from the fact that there's no software that makes a good file (whatever format) out of the bad mp3, i doubt the fact that ATRAC sounds better than AAC.

Afaik ATRAC was developed together with Dolby. AAC is also made by Dolby and includes many similar solutions to ATRAC.

scem0
Jan 8, 2004, 08:45 AM
That sounds like a horrible service.

But who knows until it comes out?

scem0

pcharles
Jan 8, 2004, 08:50 AM
This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. If there is "No money" in online music, why is every dog and pony getting into online music? What I really do not understand is how, all of a sudden, record companies are allowing everyone to sell online music when prior to iTMS there was virtually nothing.

It would not be so bad is there was a little compatibility, but to build an entire music store around and obsolete piece of technology is insane. I only know one person with a Minidisc player and she is upgrading to an iPod this year. So, they are releasing a 45 hour disc to replace their current 8 hour discs? That is still less than an iPod and a LOT more trouble.

I love Sony products, especially their TV's, and I suppose for those who are 100% sony, this is a good thing. However, it is not good for the industry as a whole to be so fragmented.

noverflow
Jan 8, 2004, 08:54 AM
Originally posted by BwanaZulia

Sony... remember Beta? :)

BZ

yes I do. And as a broadcast professional, i can tell you that Beta SP is still the number one tape format used by television broadcasters. If you make a commercial, the cable reps or local stations are going to ask for it in beta SP.


a MD is only 160MB, for a 4min song that comes in at less than 256k!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

im sorry but that is awesome

geerlingguy
Jan 8, 2004, 08:54 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, Sony are able to benefit from an global installed base of MD players that is much larger than the iPod market. From Hi-Fi components to in-car stereos there is a massive selection of MD players on the market. They are a lot cheaper than iPod too. The only advantages to the iPod for me are that the fairplay DRM is more liberal and the iPod looks cooler, holds more songs and doubles as an extra FW drive.

But for an already massive installed base of MD players round the world, for which these new 1 gig disks will be backwards compatible - the emergence of the Sony store will be a force to be reckoned with and serious competition for Apple. Perhaps for the first time.

It was Sony's inactivity that allowed Apple into the market in the first place. Now they seem to be waking up, Apple watch out!

I know one, and only one person who has an MD player. And he thinks it's a pile of crud. The fact is, people who purchase these MD players are usually more the producer and audio editing types -- NOT the kind of people like you and me who will purchase music legally online.

The iPod has universal appeal -- both to young (like me) and older (like my parents, my aunts, etc) alike. The only problem with the iPod right now is that it has no way of recording line-level stereo, 44.1KHz audio in any format. If this feature were introduced, the iPod would gain another market; radio broadcasting (in fact, the company I work for was going to purchase about five iPods per station if the current generation had included a way to record audio).

pcharles
Jan 8, 2004, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by noverflow
yes I do. And as a broadcast professional, i can tell you that Beta SP is still the number one tape format used by television broadcasters. If you make a commercial, the cable reps or local stations are going to ask for it in beta SP.


We are well aware of professional needs, but what about at the Consumer level? I remember betamax as a kid in England. Looking for betamax tapes was like looking for Mac software in Walmart.

JohnStrass
Jan 8, 2004, 09:02 AM
This is just silly. Sony dried to dominate with the menory stick (oh yeah, that really cought on...) and the microMooV (or whatever the hell it is called) format for videocams. Now another propriatary SONG format?

Not only will sony fail, but it will put a bad taste in the mouth of consumers whan they discoover that in a few years their newer/faster/shinier/cheaper electronic gadget cant play their Michael Jackson music.

desdomg
Jan 8, 2004, 09:10 AM
Well whatever your views on on the MD platform it is clear that neither Sony nor it are going away any time soon.

In fact a company the size of Sony for which Walkman type devices have and will continue to be one of its key products and which is such a big player in the music world will be one of the key competitors to Apple in the future.

MD is just one of the techs. they are supporting in this store - the other is Memory Stick, also at 1 gig and with larger capacities reportedly in the pipeline.

I don't need to remind anyone that Memory Stick is very small and can be used literally anywhere. In any device.

Photorun
Jan 8, 2004, 09:26 AM
Hate to see them throw their hat in the ring but ya had to figure with the music companies it was coming. I'm hoping Sony's will be sucktacular though.

If Apple didn't have iTMS they could have made iMusicStore at this point and everyone could have a web music store... er, well if Apple didn't have iTMS there wouldn't BE any of these only music stores.

eazyway
Jan 8, 2004, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by hokka
Someone need to get the file format standarized NOW before it's too late, we have what? 4 different incompatable formats now? AAC w/ FairPlay; AAC w/Helix; WMA and now ATRAC

It makes sense to the Sony MD & NET crowd only at the moment, as they do have a huge install base - though this new HiMD (1GB @ $7) will mean all the older equipment would be outdated and it's gonna be a pain-in-the-butt to record or transfer from the computer

Not to mention when the PSP comes out with another disk format

WHY ? If I am at Apple I am cheering on this diversity of format as Apple now has the big head start and iPod and iTMS are so well known. Apple's products work together so well , they must be snickering at all the competing Music Stores.

So for Apple more priority services are good for them. I mean why would Apple want anyone without an iPod to download songs from the iTMS. (if they don't make any money on them why have extra broad band service used up to support other players)

Mudbug
Jan 8, 2004, 09:46 AM
yay. another format to forget about. :rolleyes:

brywalker
Jan 8, 2004, 10:13 AM
This has the potential to be super cool.

This is where it is critical for Sony. The only thing that this format needs is 2 things. And they are both VERY simple to implement.

1) Native MP3 playing. Just drop them onto the disc, not transcoding.

2) USB2 support. Make this thing transfer hella fast.

I don't think its a matter of the disc not being able to record fast enough, but it may be the case.

They will absolutely have an iPod mini killer if they just get on the ball and add these 2 things.

The players are backwards compatable with older discs and you can take existing discs and reformat them to 300MB instead of the standard 140MB.

Think about how cool it would be to have an iPod mini with removable 1GB microdrives for $7 a disc. Never happen, but I would love to see it. Yeah this disc is my hip hop disc. This is my (insert band name here) full catalog disc. Breaks the 4GB max for the iPod mini and is very small and light. And battery life smokes Apple. Just get a NiMH rechargable AA and it will play well over 30hrs, and last the life of the player.

Sony could really have a winner on their hands. Minidisc are very durable and I haven't had one fail yet, and I have had my home and portables for well over 5 years. Hard disks, on the other hand, will fail. Period. It's just a matter of when...

And for those that are knocking the format, it wouldn't have lasted the past 12 years if they weren't doing something right.

X-Baz
Jan 8, 2004, 10:21 AM
Sony does have one advantage over the Dells and CocaCola's of this world - and it's the same as Apple's .

They control the "whole widget" so can make the user experience very slick and use the music sales to drive hardware sales (and profit). Plus most consumers regard Sony as a "cool" brand - just like Apple.

The (only) advantage they have over Apple is they are also a label.

But it's the pretenders that should really be worried.

ITR 81
Jan 8, 2004, 10:46 AM
This is just a copy of the current Japanese Sony Music store thats been in Japan for yrs but has never really caught on.

I doubt it will do much better in the US.

svenas1
Jan 8, 2004, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by brywalker
This has the potential to be super cool.

[snip]

Think about how cool it would be to have an iPod mini with removable 1GB microdrives for $7 a disc. Never happen, but I would love to see it. Yeah this disc is my hip hop disc. This is my (insert band name here) full catalog disc.


I'm very glad the iPod mini does not have removable discs. There is enough clutter in my life already as it is. That is why the iPod is so much more enjoyable to use. You can't forget / loose / sit on these tiny memory thingies. For me, there is no point in going all digital when I still have these whatnots to carry about.

For those people who like it, fine, but I don't think Apple should go down this route - and am glad they don't.

geerlingguy
Jan 8, 2004, 11:01 AM
Originally posted by desdomg
I don't need to remind anyone that Memory Stick is very small and can be used literally anywhere. In any device.

The key words are "can be" -- nobody but Sony uses Memory sticks in their products because they are expensive, slow, and fragile when compared to other flash products. Sony will not succeed in this area. Example: Sony used to have the Walkman; still, everyone knows what it was - everyone used to have one. But now, nobody cares about the DiscMan, or the MemoryStickMan, or the MiniDiscMan, because they are not the Walkman. Sony needs to strengthen themselves in other sectors of consumer electronics, not fail miserably at one area they already arent shining in...:rolleyes:

P-Worm
Jan 8, 2004, 11:05 AM
Before we get more of these "The whole idea is stupid because it competes with Apple's service," I want to know more about this fomat of theirs. Is it super tiny? Because having a small capacity player that plays files at a really small size could equal or better a high capacity player with somewhat large file sizes. I'm not keen on switching out MD's, but 1GB at something like 500K per song is nothing to laugh at.

P-Worm

BwanaZulia
Jan 8, 2004, 11:13 AM
My father is in broadcast (and has been for 30 years) and yes Beta is the standard. It was, though, a huge consumer flop that Sony hung onto for years and years and years trying to get it to go. Sometimes Sony is just too stubborn for its own good.

Trust me, I loved MD, and I currently have 3 MD players and 2 iPods in my house. The MDs gather dust, the iPods are used every day.

Sony should work WITH Apple on this one, not against.

BZ

Originally posted by noverflow
yes I do. And as a broadcast professional, i can tell you that Beta SP is still the number one tape format used by television broadcasters. If you make a commercial, the cable reps or local stations are going to ask for it in beta SP.


a MD is only 160MB, for a 4min song that comes in at less than 256k!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

im sorry but that is awesome

~Shard~
Jan 8, 2004, 11:30 AM
What company HASN'T announced an online music store yet? Yeesh, good luck Sony, you'll need it...

pcharles
Jan 8, 2004, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by JohnStrass
This is just silly. Sony dried to dominate with the menory stick (oh yeah, that really cought on...) and the microMooV (or whatever the hell it is called) format for videocams. Now another propriatary SONG format?

I think ATRAC has been around for a while on MD. The memory stick is a major problem because it confuses the flash market. there is no good reason for a proprietary storage format except to limit a consumers electronic choices.

My fiance has a sony clie and a vaio at work. They are superb products that work together as well as can be expected. Certainly better than my Gateway ever did. The problem is that Sony cameras, up to very recently, we absolutely awful and we have two Canon cameras that use Compact Flash, so she is stuck. My new Sony HDTV has a memory stick slot for showing jpeg images. NOT JUST ANY JPEG though, they have to be in a special folder and have a special format that can only be done with a Sony camera or Sony Computer. This is just sony who, like Apple, make their products work together. Apple, however, is at least working with others.

Don't even get me started on MicroMV. It is a superb format that only Sony computer users can access. I got so tired of listening to people blaming Apple for their woas with MicroMV and iMovie that I quit reading that forum.

MarcL
Jan 8, 2004, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by noverflow
yes I do. And as a broadcast professional, i can tell you that Beta SP is still the number one tape format used by television broadcasters. If you make a commercial, the cable reps or local stations are going to ask for it in beta SP.

BetacamSP is not the same thing as Betamax. The broadcast Beta and the defunct consumer Beta have nothing to do with each other besides being magnetic tape and in the same-sized shell.

Betacam became a broadcast standard because of its high quality, but mostly because the small tapes were perfect for ENG cameras, even though they only hold 30-minutes of tape. The small-shell Betacam tapes still only hold 30-minutes, but the shell is now the standard for Digital Betacam, BetacamSX, and HDCAM.

These days, at least where I live, most broadcasters ask for Digital Betacam masters, which is even farther in similarity from Betamax.

mdntcallr
Jan 8, 2004, 02:01 PM
"Dubbed Sony Connect, the service will offer some 500,000 tracks at the now de rigueur price of 99 cents per track and $9.95 per album. More to the point, the service is intended to work with Sony electronics; the company is launching several new music gadgets simultaneously."


Perhaps this will be a good notice to Apple to improve pricing coming from SONY. If you look closely, many albums coming from sony labels are priced way higher than 9.99 per album.

So.... one would believe they could want to steer people to their service for better pricing, or perhaps apple can get a better price from them now.

kidA
Jan 8, 2004, 02:52 PM
all i can think of here is BETAMAX.

neutrino23
Jan 8, 2004, 03:06 PM
MD was OK in its day but it is now a format ready to die. The players are fairly pricey and they are extremely slow. I have two. To jump tracks takes like ten seconds. The disks are fairly reliable though I have had a few fail on me over the years.

I do not want a player with removable disks. This is the beauty of the iPod. You put everything there in one place then you don't have to decide what you take with you. It really does simplify your life.

This is just Sony being obstinate. This too will pass.

alandail
Jan 8, 2004, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by desdomg
Actually, Sony are able to benefit from an global installed base of MD players that is much larger than the iPod market. From Hi-Fi components to in-car stereos there is a massive selection of MD players on the market. They are a lot cheaper than iPod too. The only advantages to the iPod for me are that the fairplay DRM is more liberal and the iPod looks cooler, holds more songs and doubles as an extra FW drive.

But for an already massive installed base of MD players round the world, for which these new 1 gig disks will be backwards compatible - the emergence of the Sony store will be a force to be reckoned with and serious competition for Apple. Perhaps for the first time.

It was Sony's inactivity that allowed Apple into the market in the first place. Now they seem to be waking up, Apple watch out!

The iTunes music store targets not just the installed base of iPods, but the installed base of computers capable of running iTunes and the installed base of CD players and DVD players. You buy a song on the iTunes music store and you can burn it to a CD that plays on virtually every CD/DVD player in the world. I bought music from the iTunes store before I had an iPod.

The Apple store has content from all of the lables, including sony music. How is sony going to compete with that?

LaughingMan
Jan 8, 2004, 03:41 PM
Originally posted by jocknerd
Its simple. Demand Ogg Vorbis. Its the only open-source, patent-free, licensing-free format out there. You could always wrap a DRM around it if you wanted. Plus it sounds better than any of the other lossy formats out there.

Its not that simple... the listening public won't "demand" ogg vorbis while they are getting a good experience out of the iTunes Music Store, and all of the other music stores using AAC or WMA...

The whole idea of any of these stores is that the format of the file you are listening to is supposed to be abstracted away... the music is more important...

And really, AAC, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis are clearly a wash in terms of quality... A case can even be made that the Quicktime AAC codec outperforms Vorbis if you look here http://audio.ciara.us/test/128extension/results.html

And finally, the music providers, Apple, Napster, MusicMatch, and all of the others have invested a lot already into the codecs that they've chosen... there is no reason why they would turn their backs on their format of choice when there is not even a small public demand to switch to Ogg...

The problem with Ogg is that the mass public doesn't care. The people who are vocal are only the geeks on Slashdot and etc, and those people are few and far between... most people who are on the Internet don't care, so long as they have their music.

LaughingMan
Jan 8, 2004, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by desdomg
MD is just one of the techs. they are supporting in this store - the other is Memory Stick, also at 1 gig and with larger capacities reportedly in the pipeline.

I don't need to remind anyone that Memory Stick is very small and can be used literally anywhere. In any device.

Yes, well, for the price of a 1 GB Memory Stick Pro, from Amazon...

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00008ZPNT/102-2213513-2686551?v=glance

i can buy a 20 GB iPod... And for $400, i can play music on my iPod, while the memory stick still requires a separate player that supports Memory Stick Pro...

Flash memory has a LONG way to go to get anywhere close to the value of the hard disk players out there now...

Omad0n
Jan 8, 2004, 04:38 PM
A couple things to note I suppose. 1 is that while MD isn't all that popular over here in America, if you go somewhere like Japan you'll find it to be HUGELY popular, due to size. 2 ATRAC is an excellent compression format, which is still being updated, so even though it's quite old, it's still growing. Now, I have no idea if Sony will be successful with this venture, but who knows, I'm still on the fence on what I think of carying MD's over an iPod with me. Oh, one more thing, you can get a MiniDisc player to work with a Mac, though not through Sony's craptacular software.

Also, check out my new sig!! And yes I'm aware it could apply to me.

JohnStrass
Jan 8, 2004, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by pcharles
I think ATRAC has been around for a while on MD. The memory stick is a major problem because it confuses the flash market. there is no good reason for a proprietary storage format except to limit a consumers electronic choices.

My fiance has a sony clie and a vaio at work. They are superb products that work together as well as can be expected. Certainly better than my Gateway ever did. The problem is that Sony cameras, up to very recently, we absolutely awful and we have two Canon cameras that use Compact Flash, so she is stuck. My new Sony HDTV has a memory stick slot for showing jpeg images. NOT JUST ANY JPEG though, they have to be in a special folder and have a special format that can only be done with a Sony camera or Sony Computer. This is just sony who, like Apple, make their products work together. Apple, however, is at least working with others.

Don't even get me started on MicroMV. It is a superb format that only Sony computer users can access. I got so tired of listening to people blaming Apple for their woas with MicroMV and iMovie that I quit reading that forum.

THe MS problem is even worse than that. Using my Sony digicam (photo function) on MS, I can not view them on my Clie. You have to reformat the images on a computer first. I mean, if Sony cant even get that cross-platform going, then why bother again with musing now. I guarantee that soon some SONY branded gadget will in the near future not be able to easily play the SONY downloads.

By the way, Since SONY owns Columbia, will this mean no Columbia music on iTMS?

Skull Leader
Jan 8, 2004, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by BwanaZulia

To be fair, it was the best format years ago before MP3 hit the scenes. It was tiny and a great tape replacement.
Absolutely true. I STILL own my original RZ-50 portable MD recorder that I bought in 1998, it would the take direct digital optical output from my CD player (what else did back then!) to MD at x1, complete with preseved track marks and SEAMLESS GAPS! Yes that's right, something we still don't have on the iPod to this day! (along with recording)

At that time, MP3 encoders were VERY lossy, and CD ripping technology on the PC was a disaster in terms of quality until late 2000. I remember that the first version of EAC (Exact Audio Copy) I tried was the only one that wouldn't produce skips and sparks in rips and was 1/3rd Real Time!

To all the nay-sayers out there, ATRAC is probably the best music compression ever created ( but I'm only referring to the 'SP' or full length codec as I have never used the more compressed ones). At aprox. 1/3rd the size of uncompressed, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between the original (can you REALLY say that about AAC, even 192kps or higher? C'mon). The biggest weakness is that it will not allow you to extract digitaly from the player....but analog capture via Line-In on my PowerBook to AIFF preserves the sound QUITE well. I still consider it 'original' source it's that good. No problem going back down to 192kps AAC without any transcoding artifacts.

Maybe another propreitary format will go nowhere, granted. But PLEASE do not dismiss Sony's technology as you would WMA and the like, ATRAC DOES have much develpoment history behind it and a lot of credibility. I'd put money on ATRAC3 being the best compression codec out there technology-wise, even if their players/Music Store aren't. (Yes, very much like BETA!)

That being said, my entrie MD collection of yore is now safely on my PowerBook in 192kps AAC. ;) But if I COULD import the raw ATRAC tracks into iTunes to be played natively with the rest of my collection, that would be a whole other story. I'd love to see what a newly developed AAC equilvalent version of ATRAC would do...

splashman
Jan 8, 2004, 06:50 PM
Originally posted by Skull Leader
Maybe another propreitary format will go nowhere, granted. But PLEASE do not dismiss Sony's technology as you would WMA and the like, ATRAC DOES have much develpoment history behind it and a lot of credibility. I'd put money on ATRAC3 being the best compression codec out there technology-wise, even if their players/Music Store aren't. (Yes, very much like BETA!)

With the following question, I'm not trying to be rude -- I'm just trying to look at this from the consumer's point of view. So here's the question: WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Why should I care that ATRAC (which I never heard of before today) has impressive specs and an impressive development history and an impressive company behind it? Is that going to improve my listening experience? If I'm Joe consumer, the answer is a big, fat "NO!"

I'm a musician, and I hang out with musicians and non-musicians, but I don't know a SINGLE person who uses an MD player. I know one who owns one, and I just called him to ask if he still uses it. He said he "thinks it's around somewhere."

As has been posted many, many times before, only the geeks care about specs. The music player market as a whole cares about three things (not necessarily in this order):
(a) What's hot
(b) What's easy
(c) What's cheap

MD, as far as the larger market is concerned, is dead. Get over it.

BWhaler
Jan 8, 2004, 06:55 PM
This is going to crash and burn.

Their own proprietary file system?

When will Sony ever learn?

And yes, MD is dead, dead, dead.

~Shard~
Jan 8, 2004, 10:07 PM
Originally posted by BWhaler

And yes, MD is dead, dead, dead.

I'm asking this honestly, and not with sarcasm - is MD dead? I thought it was quite popular in Japan and the UK - has been for years and years and still is. By all means correct me if I'm wrong though. Perhaps a poster from overseas would care to address this as well? I was always under the assumption that MD was still big overseas...

splashman
Jan 8, 2004, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by ~Shard~
I'm asking this honestly, and not with sarcasm - is MD dead? I thought it was quite popular in Japan and the UK - has been for years and years and still is. By all means correct me if I'm wrong though. Perhaps a poster from overseas would care to address this as well? I was always under the assumption that MD was still big overseas...

For myself, I should have clarified that MD is dead in the U.S., and I'm guessing that the other posters meant that as well. I have no idea how the MD is doing elsewhere, and would be interested to know. Sorry about the overly-general generality . . .

banzaiman
Jan 14, 2004, 07:55 AM
Here's Sony's answer to iPod mini (http://www.asahi.com/business/update/0114/103.html) (in Japanese). The article says that it's a HD-based 2GB player and it is the "smallest" and "lightest" in the world (according to Sony, anyway). Estimated street price of 35,000 yen (USD 320). I don't think Apple has announced iPod mini's price for the Japanese market yet.

iPC
Jan 15, 2004, 09:47 AM
I love the assumptions that Americans make. "It's not popular here, so it must be dead." :rolleyes: If you want an idea of how far behind American tech toys are, just look at the Japanese cell phone market. 3G is old news, and 3.5G is coming. In the US, it's all about the picture phone....

MD players are a cool idea. Every MD is just a playlist. Now with the super high density MD's, you can do it all at once if you want (a la iPod).

As to file format, who cares? Sony ho's are the same as Mac ho's. "XXX is the best" and so on. And I think we know who is bigger... as well as SonyMusic.

And it does not have to rule the American market to be popular. In fact, it could be #1 in the world, and never be released for the American market.

GET A CLUE.

the_dalex
Jan 15, 2004, 11:55 AM
Sony is not with the program. They are worse than Microsoft and Apple combined when it comes to incompatible proprietary technology. MD was a good technology, and still is, but it never made it as a consumer product here in the US, mostly because Sony didn't market it well or price the players appropriately. They just put it out there and expected it to sell because of the Sony name or some sort of transcontinental word-of-mouth.

Besides, the MD was best known for full-spectrum audio recording, and that is something most consumers don't want or need to do. It uses what are, IMHO, large discs which are subject to all of those fun problems discs run into (dirt, mechanical difficulties, magnetic storage on the recordable discs). I personally am trying to get away from removable discs of all types, and the consumer market is as well. How many consumers would carry multiple 1GB minidiscs, and how many would just try to fit what they want onto one disc to avoid having to carry extras, swap them out, etc? It's time to let the MD die as a consumer device.

They just announced a product that, in my opinion, is inferior to the mini iPod and costs more, using the most proprietary format available. At least I can play AAC songs with iTunes on a Mac or PC, use those songs in my movie or photo slideshow projects, stream the files to friends on my network, put them on my iPod without any extra steps or restrictions... is Sony going to make me "check out" and "check in" all of my converted MP3s to blindly copyprotect something that may not even be copyrighted in the first place, as they did with all previous network walkmans?

Sony is only going to sell these products to people with Sony computers, as a general rule. I don't expect anybody else would have a pleasant experience with these devices. At least the iPod works on all Windows machines and all Macs, making it the most compatible player out there by default.

the_dalex
Jan 15, 2004, 11:59 AM
Hmmm, am I reading this right? You won't be able to burn purchased Sony music to a CD?

If that is true, they WILL fail.

wombat2
Jan 22, 2004, 10:12 PM
At least the iPod works on all Windows machines and all Macs, making it the most compatible player out there by default.

Depends how you define compatible. My Mac G4 has a DVD-ROM, so I can't burn CDs on it. No problem, my PC has a DVD-RW ... the really popular one by Sony. So I download about 15 songs from iTunes, and try to burn to the disc - only to learn that my Sony DVD-RW isn't recognized. Yes, I have the latest version.

Meanwhile, I downloaded an album last night from walmart.com ... $8.88 and it works fine.

Something that works well with 4% of the market, and works hit and miss with 95% of the market, isn't really "the most compatible" IMO. Better to work well with 95% and not work at all with 4%, in terms of "most compatible".

I wish that the industry would mature to the point where these issues don't exist, and we choose players, music stores etc based on meaningful features rather than what we're locked into or out of.

Sedulous
Jan 22, 2004, 11:23 PM
Heh, as I understand, the iPod is very popular in Japan.

Digital Alchemy
Apr 5, 2004, 09:20 PM
...But for an already massive installed base of MD players round the world, for which these new 1 gig disks will be backwards compatible - the emergence of ...


I just bought a Net MD walkman, and have 30 days to return it if I need to. I must know... where did you get this info? If you are correct in saying that these disks are compatible with my old Net MD player, then I will keep the player, but If not, I am gonna buy a used Ipod or Nomad Zen...

Are you assuming backwards compatability or do you know for a fact that the new 1 GB disc will work with older players?
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