Original Sony MiniDisc Announcement from CES 1991

News and Information

Sony Corporation of America
Corporate Communications Department
Sony Drive
Park Ridge, New Jersey 07656
Telephone (201) 930-5432


        Predicts New Age of Personal Listening Enjoyment

     NEW YORK, May 16, 1991 -- Sony today proposed the Mini Disc

(MD) system as a format for personal listening enjoyment.

Capable of providing more than one hour of recording and playback

on a 2.5-inch (diameter) disc, MD is a truly portable digital

audio system that marks an important step in the evolution of new 

music media.

     Targeted by Sony for market introduction in late 1992, the

Mini Disc's unique combination of features are designed to meet

consumer needs not currently satisfied by any single audio

format.  Offering the sound quality, quick random access and

durability of optical disc media along with the portability and

shock resistance of magnetic cassette, the Mini Disc promises to

further expand the audio hardware and software markets.

     "We understand consumer needs, and we put our technology to

work to meet those needs," said Norio Ohga, president and CEO,

Sony Corporation.  "We also recognize the importance of software.

MD pre-recorded discs can be manufactured using existing CD

production facilities."
                Other Sony Successes Create MD Market

     It was the success of two earlier Sony-driven audio

developments that created the need for MD. First was Sony's

creation of the personal listening concept with the introduction

of the Sony Walkman® personal stereo cassette player. The

Walkman cassette player for the first time provided millions of

consumers the opportunity to enjoy their favorite music anytime,

anywhere.  In 1990 alone, more than 60 million personal stereos

were sold worldwide.  The Walkman cassette player appeals

particularly to the younger music customer, a consumer segment

responsible for purchasing nearly 40 percent of all music sold

today, according to Sony Music Entertainment.

     The success of the cassette-based Walkman personal stereo

also helped drive the popularity of both blank and prerecorded

compact cassettes. The cassette format proved ideal for personal

audio use because it was small, easily stored an LP's-worth or

more of music, was shock-resistant, and affordable.

     The second significant development was Compact Disc Digital

Audio, first introduced in 1982 by Sony, which ultimately became

the successor to the LP record. The Compact Disc launched the

digital era for consumers by offering high quality sound and 

rapid random access in a durable, convenient format. This disc-

based format had inherent "high-tech" appeal and in less than a

decade it became the preferred home music source and raised the

quality standard for prerecorded music.

     According to Mr. Ohga, "The success and benefits of CD and

analog compact cassette led to a new need -- a need based on

satisfaction with CD's wonderful sound, durability and quick

random access, and a need based on the portability, recordability

and shock resistance of the analog cassette. It is a need for

Mini Disc."

     The Mini Disc format will provide the following benefits and


      o    A 2.5-inch diameter disc that can store up to 74

           minutes of digital audio sound;

      o    Disc housed in a protective caddy; disc/caddy weights

           0.6 oz.;

      o    MD System employs different media for playback and


           -    CD-type Optical media for pre-recorded software;
           -    Magneto-optical (MO) media for recording;

      o    Direct access to any musical selection in less than a


      o    Resistant to shock and vibration;

      o    Prerecorded software manufacturing process similar to

           today's CDs.

     Sony is planning to incorporate into the Mini Disc system

the Serial Copy Management System (SCMS).
     "The announcement of this important new technology for

personal listening supports our view that no single audio format

can meet every consumer's needs," noted Ron Sommer, president and

COO, Sony Corporation of America.  "We do not see MD displacing

any current formats.  Instead, we expect it to co-exist with CD,

DAT and other cassette formats, each of which meets specific

consumer requirements."

     Commenting on the growth opportunities presented by MD, Sony

Software President Michael Schulhof said Mini Disc will offer

"new momentum for the software industry."  He added, "The digital

era of consumer audio has been firmly established by CD, and the

MD format will provide consumers with another digital

entertainment option."

     According to Sony, CD will remain the standard for home high

fidelity music playback because it provides the ultimate sound

quality.  Digital Audio Tape (DAT) will complement CD and MD as

the ultimate record/playback format for high end music

enthusiasts, audiophiles and musicians.

     MD is envisioned as the ideal digital record/playback format

to meet the portable application requirements of the mass market.

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