Disney has had some success with its digital music products aimed at kids, so now the company is setting its sights on digital video with the Mix Max, a new personal media player which supports digital music, video, and even full-length movies.
“With the Disney Mix Stick, we proved that kids were ready for digital music,” said Chris Heatherly, Disney Consumer Products’ VP of global electronics, in a statement. “The plug-and-play experience also proved to be a winning feature for parents who welcomed the idea of not having to download music for their kids. We saw an opportunity to do for video what the Mix Stick did for audio—make it accessible, easy, and designed for kids with a unique sense of personal style.”
The Disney Mix Max sports a 2.2-inch LCD screen, supports WMV video, JPEG images, and MP3/WMA audio (including support for DRM-protected music from commercial download and subscription services), and a built-in rechargeable battery which offers up to two hours of video playback or eight hours of music listening on a single charge. The Mix Max will be available in a avarity of Disney-themed designs, including two High School Musical models, and designed built around Tinker Bell, Forever Princess, Princess Flowers, Cheetah Girls, and a funk ‘Tween Bling style—and for folks not hip to the Disney universe, unisex chrome and ice blue models will be available as well.
But here’s the catch: the Mix Max systems only include 512 MB of RAM. While that’s enough to hold a good bit of music and a smidgen of video, users will mainly be accessing media via the microSD/MMC card slot, or—even better, from Disney’s point of view—buying music and video directly from Disney in the form of Max Clips full-length movies or Mix Clips music selections. Max Clips are memory cards pre-loaded with full-length films from Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment unit: initial titles available as Max Clips will include High School Musical,Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,Lizzie McGuire,Cadet Kelly, and Ella Enchanted, with additional titles planned for 2007. Disney Mix Clips music cards have been on the market since 2005, and feature full-length albums from Walt Disney Records and tween-oriented Hollywood Records; selections include the High School Musical soundtrack and selections from Disney tween stars Hillary Duff and Jesse McCartney.
Disney Mix Max units offer a 3.5 mm headphone jack, USB 2.0 connectivity, and ships with a Windows Media software CD. The Mix Max will be available in October for $99 from a variety of traditional and online retailers.