Half a decade has passed since Sony introduced MiniDisc and Philips the Digital Compact Cassette, both hailed as the successor to the almighty analog cassette. Of course, DCC has since fallen by the wayside, and while MD has found a respectable niche in radio braodcasting, it hasn't caught on as a home recording format here in the US. Still, Sony is far from giving up on MiniDisc. Spurred by the format's rousing success in Japan and declining cassette sales, Sony is bolstering its 1998 MD lineup with ten new models and plans to spend millions to promote the format this year.
Meanwhile, other well-known audio companies are taking a second look at MD. Denon, Kenwood, JVC, Sharp, Aiwa and Sanyo are beefing up their MD offerings, and Pioneer and Yamaha will roll out their first home recorders.
On the media side, Maxell is pushing MD in its advertising and offering its MD74 discs in four-packs that sell for as low as $20 in some stores. TDK's new MD-XG blanks, in 60- and 74- minute lengths, sell for about $7 and $9 each, while Sony MDs are available at list prices ranging from $13 for a two-pack to $55 for a ten pack.