Sony's iPod killer (again)

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At CES Sony unveiled its iPod killer. Yet those hoping for a hard disk audio device to rival Apple’s player were disappointed. Instead Sony unveiled an enhancement to its MiniDisc format which enables users to store up to 45 hours of music a one Gigabyte £5 MD.

While undoubtedly impressive that figure refers to tracks encoded at 48kbps. So a fair comparison with 128kbps MP3 music would be 30 hours on one MD.

The new version of MD, dubbed HiMD, will be rolled out on a range of players including Sony’s top end model, the MZ-NH1. It is slated to launch in April for around £300.

Sony emphasised MD’s other major advantage over the iPod and its rivals is that the MD players offer 50 hours of playback from its batteries – significantly more than the iPod’s eight hours.

Sony also announced the impending arrival of its music download service Connect, which is expected to launch in Europe and the UK in late spring and offer tracks for around $1 a download.

Other highlights from Sony included a12-inch portable broadband touch screen LCD TV with the industry’s first dual-band wireless connection for location- and PC-free TV viewing or Internet browsing.

In addition to streaming video, accessing email and displaying digital photos, the unit can control A/V components throughout the home.

Later in the year a personal video player with a four-inch screen will be launched. Its USP is that will include integrated Wi-Fi to enable users to stream video/audio or take part in video messaging

For news of new camcorders, DVD recorders and PCs go to Sony’s website.

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