Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Aug 2012 12:48 UTC
In the News "We all know about the gadgets that get showered with constant praise - the icons, the segment leaders, and the game changers. Tech history will never forget the Altair 8800, the Walkman, the BlackBerry, and the iPhone. But people do forget - and quickly - about the devices that failed to change the world: the great ideas doomed by mediocre execution, the gadgets that arrived before the market was really ready, or the technologies that found their stride just as the world was pivoting to something else." I was a heavy user of BeOS, Zip drives, and MiniDisc (I was an MD user up until about 2 years ago). I'm starting to see a pattern here.
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RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis
by zima on Fri 24th Aug 2012 03:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by drcouzelis"
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

> I had a minidisc player too. I always thought it was a the perfect blend of "CD quality audio" and "record anything anywhere any time" like an audio casette.
What I did like about Minidiscs was the form factor. They were quite handy [...]
You can also see a certain trend in computer media with a "step backward": tape reels, 8" disks, 5.25" disks, 3.5" disks, minidiscs, but then: CDs and DVDs again at 5.25"-like form factor [...]
I'd like to see that form factor (and cartridge!) instead of today's CD and DVD formats. But people want cheap, they get cheap.

Though MD never really was a computer medium - I believe the early plans for dedicated data storage drives never materialised, and the later (larger in capacity, and IIRC seen as storage by computers) MD variant was just... too late, when flash-based mp3 players and USB pendrives were already taking over - oh, and those do have a smaller form factor (but also not too small, usually)

And the Minidisc faced a still very strong, similarly handy, entrenched competitor - the Compact Cassette. With "inexpensive" being also a very important feature, especially in a portable audio player (easily lost, stolen, or broken - still, WRT the last one, cassette players were probably most rugged and resistant), don't brush it off.
Meanwhile, MD tended to be silly expensive for what it offered, throughout most of the 90s (especially the portables which could record). And we have to put it in the context of the times - those were the years when the CD not only already enjoyed major network effects, also still had plenty of room for growth in getting really widespread. Between those two, grabbing a CD player was a clearly better choice (and subsequently to that, it was harder to swallow the cost of MD player, especially with very inexpensive portable cassette players around).
When the prices of MD tech finally became acceptable, the world already started the move to MP3.

(and it's not really a "CD quality audio" - uses quite sub-par lossy codec; not that it matters too much in portable scenarios...)

> Oh well, that was before I realized just how proprietary the format was. :/
Proprietary stuff will die, sooner or later. That killed many formats with potential. Anyone remember CDi? I still have lots of CDi gear here, because I'm a living museum. :-)

But the Red Book CD is also a proprietary standard, as are DVDs... (or MP3 and AAC; even Compact Cassettes, I think - at least in conjunction with Dolby noise reduction, which kinda made using them for music practical) MD doesn't seem that much out of the ordinary.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by drcouzelis
by Johann Chua on Fri 24th Aug 2012 11:24 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

"> Oh well, that was before I realized just how proprietary the format was. :/
Proprietary stuff will die, sooner or later. That killed many formats with potential. Anyone remember CDi? I still have lots of CDi gear here, because I'm a living museum. :-)

But the Red Book CD is also a proprietary standard, as are DVDs... (or MP3 and AAC; even Compact Cassettes, I think - at least in conjunction with Dolby noise reduction, which kinda made using them for music practical) MD doesn't seem that much out of the ordinary.
"

Maybe "non-widespread standard" would be a better term?

I know there were non-Sony Beta VCRs, but I've only ever seen Betamaxes in person. Checking Wikipedia, I see that other manufacturers made MDs, but did anyone else make the players and recorders? Basically, MD seemed to be a case of Sony vs. the rest of the world.

Edited 2012-08-24 11:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by drcouzelis
by zima on Fri 24th Aug 2012 16:14 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by drcouzelis"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

did anyone else make the players and recorders?

Yes, I remember at least some Sharp portable units. Keep in mind that, in practice, MD was mostly confined to Japan; was quite widespread there - and the place is, in some regards ...unique ;p & who knows what goes around over there.

And "non-widespread standards will die, sooner or later. That killed many formats with potential" veers way into the area of truisms, is not a very revealing thing to say ;) (also with "MD doesn't seem that much out of the ordinary" - I think it's safe to say that most introduced standards never really manage to gain the required momentum)

PS. Also checking Wiki ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiniDisc ): "JVC, Sharp, Pioneer, Panasonic and others all producing their own MD systems" (and some of those Sharp units in: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:MD_players ); and it seems that MD Data was released after all.

Edited 2012-08-24 16:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2