Mini CDs, or “pocket CDs” are CD
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...
s with a smaller diameter and one third the capacity.
FormatsAmongst the various formats are the
- Mini CD single, a small disc. The format is mainly used for audio CD singles in certain regions (singles are sold on normal 120 mm CDs in many countries), much like the old vinyl single. An 80 mm disc can hold up to 24 minutes of music, or 210 MBMegabyteThe megabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage or transmission with two different values depending on context: bytes generally for computer memory; and one million bytes generally for computer storage. The IEEE Standards Board has decided that "Mega will mean 1 000...
(210 × 220 bytes) of data. They are often referred to as Maxi CDs in some countries.
- The low density version holds 18 minutes, or 155 MB.
- Other formats are 185 MB (21 mins), which has the same data density as a 650 MB full-sized CD, and 210 MB (24 mins), with the same data density as a 700 MB full sized CD, used for "Pocket" data storage. (see also miniDVDMiniDVDMiniDVD is a DVD disc having 8 cm in diameter.The 8 cm optical disc format was originally used for music CD singles, hence the commonly used names CD single and miniCD...
- An enhanced density version of the 80 mm disc that holds 34 minutes, or 300 MB has been created but is not readily available.
- Business card CD (or "b-card"), a truncated (to the shape and size of a business cardBusiness cardBusiness cards are cards bearing business information about a company or individual. They are shared during formal introductions as a convenience and a memory aid. A business card typically includes the giver's name, company affiliation and contact information such as street addresses, telephone...
) 80 mm disc with a storage capacity from 30 MB to 100 MB.
- The long axis is 80 mm while the short axis (from flat side to flat side) is generally between 58 and 68 mm
- The disc may be rectangular with wings added on, to square off the rounded 80 mm disc.
- 60 mm disc, a round version of the business card, with comparable capacity (50 MB)
When Mini CDs were first introduced in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
, they were initially marketed as CD3, in reference to their approximate size in inches; larger CDs were called CD5, despite the fact that both CD specifications are defined solely in terms of metric
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...
CompatibilityMost tray-loading CD devices have 2 'wells'; one sized for a regular 120 mm CD, and a smaller, deeper well for MiniCDs to fit into.
Devices that feature a spindle also support MiniCDs, as the disc can simply be placed onto the spindle as with a normal CD.
Some vertically aligned tray-loading devices, such as the older pre-slimline PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...
consoles when placed vertically, require an adapter for use with 80 mm CDs.
Most slot-loading CD drives are generally incompatible (the PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...
is an exception), but adapters are available into which one can snap an 80 mm round miniCD in order to extend the width to match that of a 120 mm CD, and thus work in many slot-loading devices. There are no adapters for business-card sized CDs.
A popular adapter model, Memorex 30183001, was discontinued in 2006.
Most CD players in the late 1980s and early 1990s didn't handle the CD3 well and required the use of an adapter, or very careful placement of the CD in the exact middle of the tray. Not until after the major record labels discontinued them, did the CD Players start to have the CD3 wells as standard.
Since the mid 1990s, all tray loading players have wells for the CD3.
Retail availabilityMini CD-R, Mini CD-RW: As of 2007, many manufacturers offer 80 mm CD-R and CD-RW discs for sale in retail electronics and office supply stores. These are sometimes marketed as "Pocket CD-R/CD-RW" (Memorex) or "Mini CD-R" (TDK). Most of the blank discs available in retail hold either 185 MB (21 minutes) or 210 MB (24 minutes) of data. The mini discs, despite having less weight and plastic, are generally more expensive than full size CD-R/CD-RW discs.
Mini CD Replication Manufacturing: Custom-manufactured Mini CDs with integral data are available to the retail market. There are two variations on how the finished product is created:
- Replicated to its finished size and shape: Through a single-step replication process http://www.predisc.com/mini_cd.htm the Mini CD is injection-molded to its finished size and shape and imprinted with data in exactly the same manner as full-size Audio CD or CDROM discs.
- Replicated and machine-cut to its finished size and shape: Some CD replication companies make Mini CDs by taking full-size Audio CD or CDROM discs and machine-cutting them down to their finished size and shape.
The short lived "Lid Rock" promotion that gave away CD singles on the underside of soda lids from Regal Movie Theaters used Mini CDs.
Devices that use MiniCDWhile almost any spindle-based or tray-based CD device can utilize mini CD media, some devices have been designed expressly to use the smaller format, usually for portability reasons.
Sony D-88The first shirt-pocket CD player was the Sony D-88 (ca. 1990). It only played standard PCM audio (Red Book
Red Book (audio CD standard)
Red Book is the standard for audio CDs . It is named after one of the Rainbow Books, a series of books that contain the technical specifications for all CD and CD-ROM formats.The first edition of the Red Book was released in 1980 by Philips and Sony; it was adopted by the Digital Audio Disc...
) CDs. It could play 120 mm discs if a guard was moved to allow the disc to protrude from the unit.
Compaq iPaq PM-1 Mini CD MP3 PlayerIn 2002, Compaq offered a compact, lightweight Mini CD player which made up for the capacity difference between 12 cm and 8 cm audio CDs by using MP3 compression, resulting in 1.1x to 3.5x the capacity of a standard audio CD, depending on compression ratio.
Memorex 8081 Mini CD MP3 PlayerMemorex offered a portable CD player that matched the form factor for the 80 mm CD (Model MPD8081). The player was marketed as an MP3 device, and the user was encouraged to burn MP3 music files to a mini CD, and then play them in the player, which was noticeably smaller than a standard portable CD player. The player could also play Red Book audio content burned onto mini CDs. It can play both CD-R and CD-RW media, as well as pressed mini CDs.
Sony MavicaSony's Mavica line of digital cameras also offered some cameras that record directly to mini CD media. There were two models, the CD350 and the CD500, which offered 3.2 megapixels and 5.0 megapixels, respectively. These cameras could also record MPEG video directly to the Mini CD - a sort of precursor to mini DVD camcorders. The media size for these devices was quoted at 156 MB, rather than 185 MB. It is possible that these devices used a packet writing format which took away some available disk space for use by formatting information. A common problem for Mavica owners has been incorrect disc size. If a disc size other than 156 MB is used, the camera will appear to work, but data loss will likely occur.
Imation RipGoThe Imation RipGo! was a portable CD-R burner that was a similar form factor to that of the Memorex Mini CD player. Again, it was marketed as an MP3 device, and it could play MP3 and WMA files burned onto Mini CD media. It was powered by an internal lithium ion battery that could power the unit for five hours of playback. The device suffered some setbacks, most notably a slow CD initialize time (the time during which the drive analyzes the contents of an MP3 CD), maximum of 4X burning speed (due to the device using USB 1.1 to connect to its host computer), and no support for CD-RW media. Some people have also reported issues using the device with 24 minute (210 MB) mini CD media; the device was shipped with 21 minute (185 MB) media and seemed unreliable when burning on the slightly higher density media.
Sony Photo VaultSony also manufactured a mini CD burning device, designed to be "PC-free." The device allowed the user to directly burn images from a Memory Stick or a USB flash drive or camera to a mini CD. It was a precursor to modern "media vaults" such as the iPod photo
The iPod Photo was a portable media player designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It was the top-of-the-line model in Apple's iPod family. It was positioned as a premium higher-end spin-off of the fourth-generation iPod on October 26, 2004...
adapters and various other hard disk based photo storage units.
- Bootable business cardBootable business cardA bootable business card is a CD-ROM that has been cut, pressed, or molded to the size and shape of a business card . Alternative names for this form factor include "credit card", "hockey rink", and "wallet-size". The cards are designed to hold about 50 MB...
- Compact DiscCompact DiscThe Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...
- Mini CD single
- DataPlayDataPlayDataPlay is an optical disc system developed by DataPlay Inc. and released to the consumer market in 2002. Using very small disks enclosed in a protective cartridge storing 250MB per side, DataPlay was intended primarily for portable music playback, including both pre-recorded disks and...
, a proprietary write-once mini optical disc format which is even smaller than mini CD media
- DVD CardDVD CardA DVD card, also called Business Card DVD, is a DVD with the size and shape of a business card. Much like a traditional DVD, is an optical based media whose primary function is DVD-video playback and data storage. In recent years the DVD card format has been used in the retail market to distribute...
, the equivalent to the business card CD
- MiniDiscMiniDiscThe disc is permanently housed in a cartridge with a sliding door, similar to the casing of a 3.5" floppy disk. This shutter is opened automatically by a mechanism upon insertion. The audio discs can either be recordable or premastered. Recordable MiniDiscs use a magneto-optical system to record...
, the popular proprietary Sony mini optical media
- MiniDVDMiniDVDMiniDVD is a DVD disc having 8 cm in diameter.The 8 cm optical disc format was originally used for music CD singles, hence the commonly used names CD single and miniCD...
, the 80 mm DVDDVDA DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....
format, for video-singles
- Shaped CDShaped CDA shaped CD is a non-circular compact disc. Examples include business card CDs, CDs in the shape of a star, a map of a country, and more. These disks are usually made for marketing purposes and are properly read by most CD-ROM drives...