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Is Sony's NW-HD1 really an MP3 player?

Gareth Edwards
07.01.04
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Sony Network Walkman

There seem to be conflicting signals flying around on whether Sony's latest Network Walkman, the 20GB NW-HD1, actually plays back MP3 and WMA files or not. The English press release states that "It plays back ATRAC3(R) and ATRAC3plus files and supports the most popular Internet audio formats, including MP3, WAV and WMA files"—note the difference between "plays back" and "supports". A comb through the Japanese specs released by the Sony mothership yields what looks to be the truth: under "supported audio compression formats", ATRAC3 and ATRAC3plus are listed, followed by "audio formats supported by SonicStage software: ATRAC3, ATRAC3plus, MP3, WAV, WMA". In short, it looks like you'll need to convert MP3 files to ATRAC3 using Sony's software in order to transfer them to the NW-HD1 and play them back. You have to admire Sony's persistence, if nothing else.

[Thanks, Kakyou]

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