Saying goodbye to Sony MiniDisc players

Posted by Shane McGlaun

If you were a huge music fan back in the early 90's, you might remember when Sony proudly rolled out its MiniDisc audio format and associated players.

The MiniDisc itself was sort of like a small CD inside of a plastic enclosure, with one discs boasting approximately 80 minutes of audio capacity.

Sony had hoped that MiniDisc would become the format of choice in the battle with the normal CD, although the latter format clearly won that war. Nevertheless, the MiniDisc was reportedly very popular in Japan, even if it saw only limited adoption in the United States and other countries.

Sony was really the only manufacturer to ever heavily produce MiniDisc players and hardware, and has now confirmed it will be stopping the production of Walkman music players that support the MiniDisc format. Honestly, I think most of you will be surprised that Sony was still producing players for the format at all, as I personally haven't come across a MiniDisc since 1993.

It's impressive to me that a piece of technology I believed was extinct decades ago actually lived on for roughly 20 years. Some of the blame for the format declining has been aimed at Apple and its incredibly popular iPod for moving music fans to digital audio formats. As you may recall, when the iPod was released in 2000, sales for MiniDisc media and hardware begin to decline, and fast.

Still, fans of the format can take solace in the fact that a company known as Onkyo will reportedly continue to manufacture hardware in support of the beloved MiniDisc.