Thursday, July 11, 2013

RIP MiniDisc

An early 90s example of technological failure.
Sony has long been a company known for its high-technology and sexy, high-priced products and for the most part, they've been extremely successful at hawking their wares to the American public. However, when it comes to promoting technology industry standards or introducing new media formats, they've always had a pretty weak record. Rarely has Sony seen any of their top-tier technologies take over the world (I still can't believe Blu-Ray beat out HD-DVD) and if you don't recall any other fails than BetaMax (1975), let me refresh your memory: DAT (1987), MemoryStick (1998) and UMD (2005) are just a few of Sony's more well-known media formats which failed to take hold with the public. Now Sony has recently announced that as of 2013, they will finally cease production of their MiniDisc (MD) format which was introduced as the successor to analog audio cassettes some 20 years ago. "They still make those?" you shockingly ask. Yes indeedy-doddily-dew. Apparently, the customers in Sony's homebase market, Japan, took more of a liking to the MD format than anyone over on this side of the globe ever did and have tenaciously supported the mostly-ignored format for the last two decades. Sony stopped producing their portable MD players in 2011 but continued to sell and support MD home stereo systems to the remaining hold-outs and aficionados, squeezing out the last few drops of profit from that revenue stream. Now it appears that even those stalwart retro-techies who didn't move on to the iPod ten years ago will be forced to look elsewhere to store their digital data and music files. These folks won't be completely out of luck, however, as Onkyo and a few other electronics manufacturers have stated that they will continue to produce MD equipment for what is left of this increasingly anemic niche market. However without any further support from the original creators of the format, who knows how long that will last? So, for all intents and purposes, the MD is finally dead. RIP you expensive bitch.


1 comment:

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