Sony tries MiniDisc again with OLED, live recording, and Mac support

Sony Electronics Japan has recently announced a new version in their Hi-MD Walkman line of MiniDisc players/recorders. The new unit is modeled after the MZ-RH1 which have a few updates to improve on its predecessors including the MZ-NH1 which was introduced at the beginning of Q1 2004.

The MZ-RH1 has a 1-line OLED display on one of the sides instead to display track information, time, and certain setup options which have been moved from the face. The new model plays not only the original MiniDisc format and audio recorded live but has now added MP3 format compatibility. The live recording format allows selection of a few different types of sessions including 'jam' sessions or a business meeting -- creating crystal clear playback sound, according to Sony Electronics Europe.

Additionally, Sony has implemented support for Mac users to communicate with the MZ-RH1 which expands the market and may help the MiniDisc movement.

Sony has been pushing MiniDisc since the early 90's but it has been overshadowed by the introduction of flash and hard drive based personal MP3 players which are compatible with a wider range of audio formats. Sony is known for introducing proprietary media formats such as MiniDisc and, more recently, the UMD format used by its PlayStation Portable handheld gaming console.

The MZ-RH1 is said to retail at about 39,800 - 40,000 ¥ or about $350 USD when it is released in Japan in late April. Prices are expected to lower when the new unit comes to the US later this summer.

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