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A MiniDisc (MD) is a magneto-optical disc-based data storage device initially intended for storage of up to 74 minutes of digitized audio (although 80 minute discs became available subsequently, they were not originally the intention). Today, in the form of Hi-MD, it has developed into a general-purpose storage medium in addition to greatly expanding its audio roots.

MiniDisc was announced by Sony in September 1992 and released that November for sale in Japan and December for the USA and Europe.[1] The music format was originally based exclusively on ATRAC audio data compression, but the option of linear PCM recording was ultimately introduced to attain CD-quality recordings. MiniDiscs were popular in Japan and Asia as a digital upgrade from cassette tapes, but were not as popular elsewhere.[2]


Market history

Sony's MiniDisc was one of two rival digital systems introduced in 1992, that were both targeted as a replacement for the Philips analog cassette audio tape system: the other was Digital Compact Cassette (DCC), created by Philips and Matsushita. Sony had originally intended for DAT to be the dominant home digital audio recording format, replacing the analog cassette. Unfortunately, due to technical delays, DAT didn't get launched until 1989, and by then, the U.S. dollar had fallen so far in relation to the Yen, the introductory DAT machine Sony had intended to market for about $400 in the late 1980s now had to retail for $800 or even $1000 to break even, putting it out of reach for most users.

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