For the third time already this year, Japanese technology company Sony are to cancel a long-running and well-known brand, as they prepare to dispatch their final shipment of ‘MiniDisc’ portable CD players in March.
According to a report from Ashai, the company announced that the brand would be closing last September, and are said to be close enough to the removal of their current stock to make a more informed announcement on when the format will become much harder to obtain.
The MiniDisc brand began life in 1992 with the Sony’s MZ1 MiniDisc, and in the 21 years that followed, the small cased disc format (able to play back 80 minutes of audio (up to 45 hours with a 1GB Hi-MD extension)) saw a number of stationary and portable players/recorders released, though the storage method has always faced an uphill battle with rival physical formats such as CD and DVD, amongst many others, with the specific ‘MD’ discs naturally less convenient for consumers.
A further nail in MiniDisc’s coffin came after the turn of the millenium, as digital music and video began to take off and left lesser-used disc formats in the shade due to the functionality of completly media-free playlists.
Much like the Walkman, however, the MiniDisc has retained popularity throughout its run in its home country of Japan, but similar to its counterpart will send out its final batch of devices this spring.
Although rival companies such as Onkyo are thought to be continuing their efforts in the market with similar technology, the leaders of miniature discs are now choosing to pack up and focus on other ventures, but will the ‘MiniDisc’ be remembered fondly in history? A 1996 advert promoting a product that combined two soon-to-be obsolete Sony brands can be seen below, along with a price that sounds laughable in hindsight: