I am in a small band and bought this device to help us to write songs and rehearse. I also organise school musical events and intended to record these.
I specifically bought the most expensive model to obtain both the mic recording input and the Net MD capability as my laptop is the centre of my recording, digital photo, etc world.
I also recommended it to my neighbour on the same basis (she's in a jazz band). She was concerened about having to move to analog and back to digital and I actually told her that the Net MD would avoid all that.
We both bought machines and no-one in the Sony shop warned us about this limitation. In fact it was only several weeks later when I first recorded my band and tried to transfer the files to my laptop that I realised the limitation.
I feel very let down by Sony both for myself and in terms of my recommending it to a friend.
I also cannot understand the reasoning. Assuming that it is based on not wanting to encourage pirating music, I would have thought that vast vast majority of that is based on copying already recorded music from a computer CD or downloaded files, both of which are supported (indeed are the very basis of the Net MD idea) although with some restrictions.
Diabling the download of files recorded on the minidisc itself, however, has very little impact on the amount of music pirated, but interferes with key functionality that people will have bought the mic recording models for.
This really does need to rectified, or I for one will think very carefully before buying any Sony products in the future.