New Minidisc Units Starting Ship & Why Photo MD Is Just 1.3 MP

Despite the fact that I write about such potentially ire-raising counter-cultural things as pirate radio and express an anarchist attitude about media and politics, the thing I get more e-mail about is actually minidisc. Within the last few months I’ve gotten more than a dozen questions about the new Hi-MDs asking for advice on buying and using them. A good portion apperently come from people who’ve read my review of the MZ-NH1 2004 flagship model over at Epinions.

So I thought I’d alert everyone that the new and somewhat-improved 2005 models are starting to ship. The new ones have native MP3 support, which I reckon is their biggest improvement. My favorite on-line MD retailer, Minidisco, has in stock the MZ-RH910, the least expensive model with a microphone input. Apparently, they’ve already sold out of the next model up.

The new MD recorder with the built-in camera and full-color LCD, the MZ-DH10P, is reported to be shipping in May.

The MZ-DH10P only has a 1.3 MP camera, which I said earlier seems pretty paltry by todays mutli-megapixel standards. has a translation of an interview with three Sony minidisc engineers and designers who explain why only 1.3 mega-pixels:

There is a prevalent prejudice in maintaining existing size of the MD Walkman due to standards set by its predecessors. The MZDH10P unit that I could show at the end of 2003 was still a prototype with a 3 mega pixels camera then considered as a prerequisite. When you employ a higher mega pixels camera module, the size of the unit inevitably increases – thus, the tremendous size in comparison to existing MD Walkman. Although the concept of this new MD Walkman has the ability to take pictures it is not a digital camera, so to speak.

If you’re looking to move up to Hi-MD and also looking for a bargain, I would keep an eye on, which seems to get a lot of just-discontinued minidisc recorders these days. I’ve bought at least 3 from them in the last few years and been pretty satisfied with price and service, though service is not the best around. It’s an auction site, so all the usual caveats about auctions apply — don’t get bid up too close to what regular on-line sellers are pricing your item at. They also have a “buy it now” price which is sometimes pretty reasonable.

This isn’t a ringing endorsement or advertisement for Ubid — just a recommendation based upon bargain-hunting experience.