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Sony ditching proprietary ATRAC format, Connect store, in favor of Windows Media Player

Sony ditching proprietary ATRAC format, Connect store, in favor of Windows Media Player

Acknowledging that its own proprietary audio format failed to match the use of MP3s or Windows audio, Sony Corp. on Thursday said it would close its Connect digital music store and make its new breed of digital media players open to more formats.
The Japanese pioneer of personal music players unveiled a pair of new digital Walkmans at the International Funkausstellung, or IFA, the world's largest consumer electronics trade fair, in Berlin, that will can play a variety of formats, including Windows Media Audio, along with MP3 and advanced audio coding, or AAC.
And like some models put out by rivals, particularly Apple Inc.'s line of iPods, the new NWZ-A810 and NWZ-S610 models can also play video and display photographs. They also include an FM tuner.
The Walkman video players store up to 1,850 songs on the eight gigabyte models, 925 songs on the four gigabyte models, and 440 songs on the two gigabyte models, for songs an average of four minutes in length at 128kbps in the MP3 format.
Sony said that the new Walkman video players come with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player 11 to manage digital libraries, too. The players will also be compatible with MPEG-4 encoded video and AVC
"With this initiative, Sony is debuting an important option for digital media players as it opens new doors for a rich digital experience," said Dave Wascha, director of Windows Client Product Management at Microsoft Corp.
Because of the decision to use MP3, AAC and other formats, Sony said it would phase out operations of its struggling Connect online retailer.
"With these new Walkman players, Sony has widened its digital music environment to support Windows Media technology. This gives customers greater flexibility in their music software approach," the company said in a statement. "As a result, Sony will be phasing out the Connect Music Services based on Sony's ATRAC audio format in North America and Europe."
In an e-mail sent to Connect users, the service said the timing of the closure would happen based on market demand, but not before March 2008. The company's Connect e-book service for its Sony Reader is not affected.
In June, Sony Connect Inc. said it was eliminating some positions as part of a restructuring plan to shift resources to other online services, but had denied reports it was related to a planned shutdown.
Instead, the company said it was shifting its emphasis other network services, specifically one for users of the PlayStation game console, the company said.
Sony Connect launched in 2004, but like other online music services, it has had a tough time competing against Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store, which is tied to the market-leading iPod portable player.
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On the Net:
http://www.connect.com


Updated : 2021-03-09 16:57 GMT+08:00