New Sony MiniDisc Players Take on MP3

Sony has expanded its line of MiniDisc players in an effort to better compete with the Apple iPod and other digital music devices. Sony introduced a line of Hi-MD players, which are capable of holding up to 1GB of music on each disc, as well as being able to play MP3, WMA and WAV files.

Also released Wednesday was the MZ-DH10P, a new Hi-MD model that includes a color screen and a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with 4x digital zoom.

"Many musicians, journalists and digital music fans rely on the flexibility and durability of the MiniDisc format," said Allan Jason, vice president for portable audio products at Sony Electronics. "Our latest models increase the utility of the players and bring more advantages to our MD customers."

Sony's moves in recent months are a concession that its proprietary ATRAC format was not desirable to consumers. Last year, the company admitted that its failure to support MP3 in MiniDisc players could have been the reason why sales of the units never met expectations.

The MZ-DH10P will be available in May for around $500. Other players introduced by Sony will range from $100 for the Psyc model to $300 for the MZ-RH10, which sports a six-line, self-emitting organic EL (electroluminescence) display.

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