MiniDisc (MD) is a magneto-optical disc-based data storage format offering a capacity of 60, 74, and later, 80 minutes of digitized audio. Sony brand audio players went on the market in September 1992.[1]

MiniDisc by TDK, with AA-battery to compare size (height of AA-battery approx. 50 mm)
Media typeMagneto-optical disc
Capacity60, 74, and 80 min
Read mechanism780 nm semiconductor laser diode
Write mechanismMagnetic field modulation
Developed bySony
UsageAudio storage
Extended fromCompact Cassette
Compact disc
Extended toMD Data
ReleasedSeptember 1992
The Sony MZ1, the first MiniDisc player, released in 1992.

Sony announced the MiniDisc in September 1992 and released it in November of that year for sale in Japan and in December in Europe, North America, and other countries.[2] The music format was based on ATRAC audio data compression, Sony's own proprietary compression code. Its successor, Hi-MD, would later introduce the option of linear PCM digital recording to meet audio quality comparable to that of a compact disc. MiniDiscs were very popular in Japan and found moderate success in Europe.[3]

By March 2011 Sony had sold 22 million MD players.[4] Sony has ceased development of MD devices, with the last of the players sold by March 2013.[5]

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