Disney is jumping on the portable-video bandwagon, expanding its line of media players and offering movies on memory cards.
On Tuesday it announced an upgraded version of the Disney Mix Stick music player, which features more memory; a mini version called the Disney Mix Micro; and a multimedia version, the Disney Mix Max Player, which plays music and movies and displays photos.
Disney has taken SanDisk's approach to media players by offering expansion slots for memory cards to increase device capacity rather than equipping the devices with large internal memories. And the company is selling postage-stamp-size cards with Disney content already on them.
The $20 Disney Max Clips memory cards, for example, contain full-length movies from Buena Vista Entertainment, including "Cheetah Girls," "Ella Enchanted" and "Lizzie McGuire." The Disney Mix Clips line of music cards, which cost $15 each, has been expanded to include Disney-produced music like Hilary Duff's "Most Wanted" and the "High School Musical" sound track. Both the movie line and the new audio titles will be available this fall, with more released in 2007.
As with Disney's new line of digicams, the players are colorful, stripped-down easy-to-use versions of players designed for adults. Many are based on Disney entertainment themes (though a sleek chrome version is available). All three players being released this October have expansion slots for multimedia or secure digital cards (up to 2GB capacity), in addition to the audio Disney cards. They support Windows Media Audio (WMA) or MP3 audio files and have USB ports for downloading music from a PC or Mac.
The $100 Disney Mix Max media player has a 2.2-inch LCD screen and 512MB of internal memory. The device will display JPEG photos and play Windows Media Video and WMA or MP3 audio content downloaded via its USB port. It can also play Disney Mix audio cards and Disney Max film cards. It holds 240 songs or five hours of video and comes with earbuds and a wrist strap. The built-in rechargeable battery is good for a two-hour movie or eight hours of music.
Disney has also introduced a mini version of its audio player called the Disney Mix Micro for $20. It comes with earbuds and a lanyard and operates on one AAA battery. The original Disney Mix Stick ($50) has been upgraded to include 512MB of internal storage and a "MixIt" feature that creates random playlists, or randomly skips to another song when pressed.
Both the players and content cards will be available at DisneyShopping.com in addition to several retail outlets. All are compatible with the Disney Jam Stand Max, a currently available cradle with speakers and battery-charging capabilities.