The Rio PMP300 is one of the first portable consumer MP3
digital audio player
A portable media player (PMP) (also including the related digital audio player (DAP)) is a portable consumer electronics device capable of storing and playing digital media such as audio, images, and video files. The data is typically stored o ...
s, and the first commercially successful one. Produced by
Diamond Multimedia is an American company that specializes in many forms of multimedia technology. They have produced graphics cards, motherboards, modems, sound cards and MP3 players, however the company began with the production of the Trac ...
, it was introduced September 15, 1998 as the first in the "Rio" series
of digital audio players, and it shipped later that year.
Roughly the dimensions of a deck of cards (3.5
Measuring tape with inches
The inch (symbol: in or ″) is a unit of length in the British imperial and the United States customary systems of measurement. It is equal to yard or of a foot. Derived from the Roman uncia ("twelf ...
es by 2.5 inches and 0.625 inches thick), the Rio is black, and features an LCD screen and a circular pad with control buttons. The device has controls for skipping tracks forwards or backwards, repeat, random play and four preset equalizer
settings. The LCD displays the track number being played and the track play time. It can play MP2
format audio files, and has support for a variety of bitrates, including MP3 variable-bitrate (VBR) support.
It shipped with 32 MB
of internal memory and has a SmartMedia
slot, allowing users to add additional memory. It is powered by a single AA battery
, which provides between 8 and 12 hours of playback time. Connection to a personal computer is through the computer's
In computing, a parallel port is a type of interface found on early computers ( personal and otherwise) for connecting peripherals. The name refers to the way the data is sent; parallel ports send multiple bits of data at once ( parall ...
, with a proprietary connector on the Rio's edge.
The Rio retailed for US $200 with the ability to hold around 30 minutes of music at a bitrate of 128 kbit
/s. An upgraded version was later released, which is colored translucent green and equipped with a larger 64 MB internal memory, at a cost of $250. The Rio also spawned one of the first Digital Music service providers (ASP or SaaS Cloud Service), RioPort
. RioPort was the first digital music service to license secure, single-track commercial downloads from major record labels.
The Rio PMP300 was supplied with a copy of the "Music Match" software for managing the user's MP3 library. A selection of folk/country/blues MP3s were also provided, the metadata for which was in a Music Match specific format rather than as ID3
The Rio PMP300 suffered from a few design flaws. The battery compartment door flap is notorious for breaking. The battery cover is difficult to repair due to the stress caused by the spring-loaded battery compartment and the fragile plastic used for the door clips. The metal hinge used to hold the compartment to the base of the unit would put strain on the plastic casing, causing cracks around the SmartMedia slot. The silver colored coating on the main central control button in the original 32 MB unit would often peel and flake off with use. The control disc would commonly fall off.
On October 8, 1998, the
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the music recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors that the RIAA says "create, manufacture, and/ ...
, filed suit and asked for a temporary restraining order
to prevent the sale of the Rio player in the Central District Court of California, claiming the player violated the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act
. See '' RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia
Judge Andrea Collins issued the temporary order on October 16, but required the RIAA to post a $500,000 bond that would be used to compensate Diamond for damages incurred in the delay if Diamond eventually prevailed in court. Diamond then announced that it would temporarily delay shipment of the Rio.
On October 26, Judge Collins denied the RIAA's application.
On appeal, the Ninth Circuit
held that the Rio's space shifting
Fair use is a doctrine in United States law that permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder. Fair use is one of the limitations to copyright intended to balance the intere ...
and not a copyright infringement.
After the lawsuit ended, Diamond sold 200,000 players.
Diamond no longer provides support for the Rio, and the last version of Microsoft Windows
to work with Diamond's Rio software was Windows 98. Independently produced freeware programs such as "Dreaming of Brazil" or "RIOsitude" can still be used to upload audio files to the player. Similarly, limited
Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged as a Linux distribution, wh ...
command-line based support for the Rio is provided by the "rioutils" package.
Market rivals of the Diamond Rio included the original RCA Lyra
and the Creative Nomad
* Eiger Labs MPMan F10
– the first portable MP3 player
A review of Rio PMP300
at ''The Adrenaline Vault''
Original Rio PMP300 product page
from Archive.org, mentioning two of the first digital music services: Goodnoise and MP3.com
Original Rio PMP300 MP3 Music Sampler disc
from Archive.org, containing the selection of songs included with the player
Audiovisual introductions in 1998
Digital audio players