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Discman logo used until 2000.
CD Walkman logo used from 1997 until 2000. Later models bear the Walkman logo.
Discman D-145 (1995)
CD Walkman D-E330 (2002)

Discman was Sony's brand name for portable CD players. The first Discman, the Sony D-50 or D-5 (depending on region), was launched in 1984. The brand name changed to CD Walkman, initially for Japanese lineups launched between October 1997 and March 1998,[1] and then entirely in 2000. Today, Discman and CD Walkman players are no longer produced.


Prior to the development of the Compact Disc, cassette tapes were the dominant form of audio storage in regards to the then-fledgling portable audio industry. In 1979, Sony had introduced the Walkman in Japan.[2] As Sony began to realize the potential of the CD, executives pushed for a means to give the CD player market momentum, moving it from audio enthusiasts to the mainstream.

Original development[edit]

Building on the design of the CDP-101 CD player, which was launched in 1982, Sony worked towards both improving the design of the player, reducing the power and number of parts needed while decreasing the overall size of the player, as well as reducing the cost of the player to a 50,000 to 60,000 yen range in what was called the "CD CD Project", which stood for Compact Disc Cost Down Project. With the ability to produce a CD player one-tenth the size of its first unit by August 1983, there became potential for a portable player.[citation needed]

The original goal was to create a player that was the equivalent size of four CD cases stacked on top of each other. A piece of wood 13.4 cm across and about 4 cm thick was shown to the staff to illustrate the physical dimensions for which they were aiming.

The finalized design did not incorporate a power source and so had a 9-volt (positive outer) coaxial jack on the rear. This allowed for the use of an EBP-9LC wall adapter, a carrying sleeve which held 6 primary C cells or rechargeable cells with the ability to charge in-situ. Alternatively, the AC-D50 AC adapter was available which attached to the rear of the D-50/D-5 and allowed it to be powered from AC input at 110, 120, 220, or 240 V, 50 or 60 Hz, 9 W with a DC output of up to 500 mA . The AC-D50 also allowed line level audio out, presented as two RCA jacks.[citation needed]


Sony D-50/D-5 Discman

The D-50/D-5 was launched in November 1984, two years after mass production of CDs began. The unit offered the same functionality as the full-size CDP-101 player, but came without a remote and the repeat functionality of the full-size unit. The D-50/D-5 retailed for 49,800 yen[3] (US$350 in 1984), approximately half the cost price of the CDP-101. The unit successfully sparked public interest in CDs, boosting their popularity, and within a year and a half the D-50/D-5 became profitable.[citation needed]

Early production units of the D-50/D-5 do not bear the Discman brand and were instead referred to as "CD Compact Player".[4] The Discman brand was then given because of its portable nature and similarity to the Walkman. From then, the brand name was used to refer to Sony's portable CD players until 2000.


The release of the D-50/D-5 sparked public interest in CDs as an audio format and in the audio industry in general. A portable CD market was created and the price of competing CD players from other manufacturers dropped. The CD industry experienced sudden growth with the number of CD titles available dramatically increasing.[citation needed]


ATRAC CD Walkman[edit]

ATRAC CD Walkman D-NE301 with remote (2004).

An ATRAC CD Walkman plays ATRAC CDs in addition to audio CDs. An ATRAC CD contains audio encoded in ATRAC3 or ATRAC3plus. Most if not all models also play MP3s. The D-NE1 from 2003 was one of the earliest models.[5]

Video CD Discman[edit]

A Sony D-V500 portable video CD player.
A Sony D-V500 portable video CD player from 1996. Note that it does not bear the Discman brand.

Video CD Discman, later rebranded as VCD Walkman, was a line of portable Video CD players. They are able to output the audio from video CDs as usual, but are also equipped with an additional 3.5mm audio/video-to-RCA connector output.[6][7][8]


  • Intelligent Discman was a line of Discman players that played CD-i format discs.[9]
  • CD-ROM Discman: Both Sony and Panasonic have released few portable CD players with a PCMCIA card connector for use as an external CD-ROM drive on a computer, though with a lower speed than dedicated computer drives.[10][11]
  • DVD Discman, later rebranded as DVD Walkman, was a line of portable DVD players.[citation needed]


Sony D-50/D-5[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sony Celebrates Walkman(R) 20th Anniversary". Sony. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Sony Celebrates Walkman(R) 20th Anniversary". Sony. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  3. ^ Sony D-50 Brochure (PDF). November 1984. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  4. ^ Sony D-50 Brochure (PDF). November 1984. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  5. ^ "週刊 デバイス・バイキング".
  6. ^ "Sony D-VJ85 Portable Video CD Player Manual". HiFi Engine. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Sony D-V55 Portable Video CD Player Manual". HiFi Engine. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  8. ^ "[…] Sony Video CD Discman D-VJ85 CD Player Portable VCD in box […]". SonyPortableCDplayer.com. Archived from the original on 2020-08-05. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Sony Portable CD-i Player - The intelligent discman". Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Panasonic CD-ROM PCMCIA KXL-D720". Tietokone Museo (in Finnish). 18 March 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  11. ^ "SONY DISCMAN 索尼CD随身听图鉴(三)". 知乎专栏 (in Chinese). Retrieved 27 January 2022. PRD-650

External links[edit]