Sony Corporation has announced the development of "Hi-MD," an adaptation of the MD format that also can deliver PC data such as images and text file recording capabilities, while maintaining playback compatibility with the current MD products and ensuring copyright security.
"Hi-MD" will allow existing MDs to be formatted into the "Hi-MD" format, allowing the density to be increased to almost double the current maximum capacity. In addition, a 1GB (gigabyte) "Hi-MD" disc has been newly developed, realizing a maximum recording time of up to approximately 45 hours of music by incorporating the first Domain Wall Displacement Detection (DWDD) technology.
The new technology--DWDD-- applies a kind of Magnetic Super Resolution (MSR) technology that utilizes the temperature variation created by an irradiating laser on a disc surface in order to temporarily expand recording marks smaller than a laser beam spot and read out the stored information.
Furthermore, the new format uses ATRAC3plus audio compression technology, which delivers high data compression while maintaining quality of sound. "Hi-MD" also enables linear PCM recordings, resulting in the recording and playback of CD quality sound.
"Hi-MD" also incorporates OpenMG and MagicGate copy protection technology already adopted in Memory Stick and Net MD. In addition, "Hi-MD" music recordings preserve encryptions contained within the original source.
In addition Hi-MD" uses the FAT file system, making it possible to use "Hi-MD" formatted MDs and 1GB "Hi-MD" discs as versatile media for recording PC data files, such as images and text. Furthermore, as portable, rewritable PC media, "Hi-MD" complies with USB format's Mass Storage Class, ensuring that simply by connecting a "Hi-MD" product to a PC it is immediately recognized as an external storage device.
"Hi-MD" products will be compatible with current MD format discs, users will also be able to play back their existing MDs.
The MD format is licensed by approximately 80 hardware/media manufacturing companies. Cumulative shipments of MD media and compatible products are expected to reach approximately 1.1 billion and 80 million respectively as of the end of fiscal year 2003.