Press Release


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June 27, 2001




Net MD logo "Net MD" New Application Interface Connects PC to MD
- Will Support High Speed Transfer of Copyright Protected Music Content -



Tokyo, Japan, June 27, 2001 - Sony Corporation today announced a new application interface called "Net MD" to connect PC and MD players via Universal Serial Bus (USB). By employing a number of security technologies, the Net MD interface will make it possible to transfer music data at high speeds from PC to MD products while protecting copyrighted material.

The Net MD interface will include specifications that address secure data transfer through USB as well as authentication between PC and MD. Based on the security technologies that Net MD will employ, music data recorded from CDs or Net MD-compliant electronic music distribution services can be easily transferred from a PC to the authorized MD product. Because Net MD will accept current MiniDiscs and will be compatible with both ATRAC and ATRAC3 audio codecs, Net MD recordings can also be played on existing MD products.

"We anticipate Net MD to help further expand the MD market by increasing PC connectivity," said Shizuo Takashino, Corporate Senior Executive Vice President of Sony Corporation. "We also believe Net MD with security technologies will significantly contribute to the vitalization of music distribution business."

Since the MD format was first commercialized in 1992, the format has been widely accepted based on its easy editing and random access operation, and approximately 54 million MD hardware units cumulative world-wide are expected to be sold by the end of 2001. In addition, the market size of recording MiniDiscs is expected to reach 270 million for the year 2001 (source: Japan Recording-Media Industries Association.) Sony aims to further expand the MD market by actively promoting the new Net MD application interface.

Key Benefits of Net MD
1) Convenient PC connectivity:
By employing a standard "USB" interface, music data can be transferred from a PC to a Net MD product at high speed. In addition, the Net MD protocol will enable a PC to control a Net MD product while editing music that has been recorded on a MiniDisc.
2) Compatibility with the existing MD hardware:
To ensure backward compatibility with existing MD products, Net MD will support both ATRAC and ATRAC3 audio compression technologies. Music recorded in ATRAC3 must be played in ATRAC3 compliant devices.
3) Secure data transmission:
Net MD can securely transfer music data from an authenticated PC hard drive to an authenticated Net MD player. The Net MD interface is also designed to support Serial Copy Management System (SCMS) to prevent second-generation music data digital copying.
MD Hardware Licensees
Accuphase Laboratory, Inc., Aiwa Co., Ltd, Akai Electric Co., Ltd, Alco Electronics Ltd., Alpine Electronics Inc., Anam Electronics Co., Ltd., Asahi Corporation, Becker Autoradioweak GMBH, Clarion Co., Ltd, Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd., Etronics Corporation, Foster Electric Co., Ltd., Fujitsu Ten Limited, Funai Electric Co., Ltd, Goldstar Co., Ltd., HHB Communications Ltd., Hitachi, Ltd., Kenwood Corporation, Lotte Electronic Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Mitsumi Electric Co., Ltd., Nakamichi Corporation, Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation, Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd., Onkyo Corporation, Pioneer Electronic Corporation, Ricoh Company, Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, Sansui Electronic Co., Ltd., Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation, Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation, Tae Kwang Industrial Co., Ltd., Teac Corporation, Tonic Industries Holdings Ltd., Toshiba Corporation, Victor Company of Japan, Limited, Welton Electronics Limited, Ya Horng Electronics Co., Ltd., Yamaha Corporation
"Net MD" endorsing companies
Fujitsu Limited, Kenwood Geobit Corporation, Liquid Audio, Inc., NEC Corporation, RealNetworks, Inc.