Sony has announced its first hard disk drive-based portable media player to support both audio and video.
It will go on sale in Japan in late June and could be Sony's best chance yet at taking a slice of the market for digital music players, while also helping to create a new category of players that support both audio and video.
Unusually for a Sony product, the HMP-A1 supports MP3 audio and does not require users to transcode their music into the company's Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding for MiniDisc format.
Transcoding involves converting from one format to another and usually results in some loss of quality. MP3 is the format used in most hardware digital music players and one of the most popular formats among PC users.
Support for popular standards is extended to the video player function, which is compatible with MPEG2 and MPEG4 format video.