Your player will still continue to function after they shut down the Connect Music Service, no? You just wont be able to purchase any more music off from there. You are still able to rip CDs and use non-protected wma, non-protected aacs and mp3 on your NW-S205F. And, the music that you currently have on your computer will still be playable. But to protect your investment in all the tracks you've purchased from connect, you should burn audio cds as backups so you can rerip them into any format you want to in the future.
I own about 10 network walkmans and 3 NetMDs, so I can sympathize with your sentiments. I personally didn't have much problem with sonicstage myself, i ripped all my cds into atrac, so i guess my library was less problematic as other people's.
The newest sonicstage (4.3) is Vista compatible, so you should have a few more years before worrying about whether or not it will be supported in the new version of windows.
But for now, your 'old' player is FAAARRRR from useless
I went out and purchased a NWZ-A818 in black the other day, and i must say, it's a real nice player. Killing off sonicstage and connect was needed in order to gain more marketshare. I don't think it was possible for them to utilize both OpenMG and PlayForSure DRM technologies onto one player, so they had to pick and choose. Must have been hard for Sony too, wasting a lot of money and countless hours on the ATRAC format...
And even though the new players explicitly say they're for Windows, you can drag and drop files into it using the Windows browser, so in theory it should work with all operating systems. I'll stick with WMP11 though to get all my album art and stuff
With Sony getting rid of SonicStage that leaves me with a big question.
What do I do with my player? Since I can only use Atrac or DRM-free music on the thing? Atrac is gone and despite all the news I don't see a large selection of DRM-free music yet.
Is there any way to change the firmware on the player, NW-S203F?
From the press release, I get the impression that no firmware change is coming.
When is the store closing?
Specific timing will vary by region depending on market demand, but it will not be before March 2008. Connect customers will be informed of relevant details in advance.
Why is the store closing?
We are moving to the open Windows Media