Sony Phasing out Connect Music Service and ATRAC Codec

Sony have released official news this morning that they are to phase out the Connect music download service (available through SonicStage) in favour of a Microsoft Windows Media scheme in the US, Canada and Europe.

The move has been rumoured in the past week with details of a new Walkman; the NWZ-A810 series (very close to the European NW-A800 series) detailed on the US Sony Style website. This new Walkman comes bundled with a copy of Windows Media Player 11 to place music on the device and fully supports Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM scheme (complete with subcription services (Napster etc)).

Link: NWZ-A810 Series
News source: Connect Team Email

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23 Comments

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once again the arrogance of sony to steer consumers with "sony only" BS ends with a wimper . i wonder if the ps3 didnt have blu ray , would it be dead by now also ?

Bugger - I just sold my Sony 20Gb HDD Walkman entirely due to the fact that SonicStage ****ed me off so much with it's horrible clunky interface and lack of useability. Users have only been telling Sony how crap it is for, ooh, 18 months or so. Mind you, I wouldn't put it past them to conveniently not update the old devices to work with PlaysForSure to encourage people to buy new ones.

madkingsoup said,
I wouldn't put it past them to conveniently not update the old devices to work with PlaysForSure to encourage people to buy new ones.

People won't buy new a new Sony device, they'd buy an iPod (or similar). So it would be in Sony's interest to update their install base or lose it.

this is all well and good, but will they allow for AAC playback (and h.264/263 / mpeg) for ipod converters? if they do then I can see sony finally pulling out something that can compete with ipod

kitchenutensils said,
this is all well and good, but will they allow for AAC playback (and h.264/263 / mpeg) for ipod converters? if they do then I can see sony finally pulling out something that can compete with ipod

I believe all Sony Walkmen support .m4a AAC. Both the PS3 and PSP do.

Oh damn, I bought my A800 just a few weeks back, I hope they release a firmware update for the A800 (400, 200) sometime soon, I'd love not to use Sonic Stage. My main love would be to use Napster 2Go.

Elite_graphix said,
announcing tomorow by Sony:

ATRAC II

The latest version is ATRAC3pro which is used by the latest Hi-MD devices along with their flash media device range.

Anything to get rid of the damn sonicstage.
Crappy software was really killing an awesome piece of hardware.
Battery life and sound quality is unbelievable.

I have an NW-A3000 and I would love a firmware update to allow it to be linked to WMP rather than Cronic-Stage.

They really should look after the existing Sony NW-A install base if they want us to buy stuff from whatever replaces Sony Connect.

Bought a NW-A806 a couple of days ago and returned it immediately because of sonicstage. It was the most horrible piece of software I have ever seen... somehow it converts music to an unreadable format that only player can handle. Music managment was terrible. Lasted 3 hours in my hands and returned it.

Player seemed very cool and functional... nevertheless, its useless with sonicstage.

BTW - got a Zen V plus instead and im glad i did it!

I stand corrected about my grammar! And yes, I REALLY Hope they issue updates to the NW-A800 series as I've owned one for around only two months! And I've only just (last week) bought my partner one! So they will be going back if no update is available!

This is a very wise move on Sony's part, because SonicStage is a horirble piece of software that has prevented many, many sales of their MP3 players. Hopefully new firmware will be released for their old players to support Windows Media Player.

ahhell said,
Sony adopting someone else's standard????? Hell has frozen over!!!

We're all doomed!!

They did this before in their VCR. Though not official, they abandoned miniDisc as well.

Sony have released official news...

Sony has released official news...

Sony is a company. One. Singular. Takes the singular verb: has.

And there you have it, folks! Your Grammar Nazi comment of the day!

Octol said,

Sony has released official news...

Sony is a company. One. Singular. Takes the singular verb: has.

And there you have it, folks! Your Grammar Nazi comment of the day! :D

Actually in UK English it is acceptable to refer to a company using the terms are/have which are normally reserved for 'more than one'.

kaiwai said,

Actually in UK English it is acceptable to refer to a company using the terms are/have which are normally reserved for 'more than one'.

Yay! Someone thinks I was right all along! woot!

one less codec and poorly writtne piece of software to worry about. its good to know that in future i will be able to buy a sony mp3 player and connect it to wmp, so much easier.

Although I welcome this news, I actually quite like SonicStage (especially when comparing it to rival software, WMP, iTunes, Napster, MediaSource, etc.) for easy management of music to CDR, PSP, NW-MS9 and MZ-N1. I like two features in particluar ripping Audio CDs without DRM to ATRAC (which provides quickest transfer to Sony devices and great audio quality) and burning/reading CDRs with CD-Text. Also the software worked great in XP and Vista (both 32-bit and 64-bit). Only downside I can think of right now is that there is still NO 64-bit driver for NetMD.
I hope Sony still continues to support ATRAC conversion or have a good workaround (example, firmware updates) for older devices. I have no intention of upgrading/replacing my music devices.

pjak said,
Although I welcome this news, I actually quite like SonicStage (especially when comparing it to rival software, WMP, iTunes, Napster, etc.) for easy management of music to CDR, PSP, NW-MS9 and MZ-N1. I like two features in particluar ripping Audio CDs without DRM to ATRAC and burning/reading CDRs with CD-Text. Also the software worked great in XP and Vista (both 32-bit and 64-bit). Only downside I can think of right now is that there is still NO 64-bit driver for NetMD.
I hope Sony still continue to support ATRAC conversion or have a good workaround (example, firmware updates) for older devices. I have no intention of upgrading/replacing my music devices.

Agreed. For me, I won't upgrade my device until I see a flash device that is fast and reliable. So far the hard disk ones are fragile and unreliable, flash based ones are slow and buggy (from my experience with Sansa). Oh well, maybe a in a few years things will improve.