Digital Video Articles, Tutorials, Guides & Q & A Since 2007

Audio, DVD

What is a mini-CD? How Do You Play It?


Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:30 am


A mini-CD performs the same function as a CD, albeit on a ‘smaller scale’. As its name suggests, it’s a miniature version of a CD.

It is 80mm in diameter (3 1/8-inch )(3.125 inches) as opposed to a regular CD which measures 120 mm in diameter.

mini- Audio CD

A mini-audio CD is also known as CD-3. The 3 refers to its diameter in inches.

A mini-CD (CD-DA) can hold up to 20 minutes of audio data. A regular audio CD holds 75 minutes of audio.

But then most mini audio CDs don’t always hold 20 minutes of music. For example, a Bruce Springstein CD-3 holds only two songs – One Step Up and Roulette. The total playtime is 8 minutes and 12 seconds.


A mini-DVD has the same dimensions as a mini-CD. It only differs in storage capacity.

A standard DVD holds 4.7GB of data. A mini-DVD holds 1.4GB of data.

Business Card CD

A business card CD is a mini-CD-ROM cut into the shape of a business card. It can hold up to 50MB of data.

Business Card 24X CD-R 50MB Shiny Silver /w Vinyl Sleeves - 50 Pack

You can use it to promote your business. For example, you can put an auto-run PowerPoint presentation that promotes your business.

Check out the blank business card mini-CDs.

How to Play a mini-CD

When it was first released in the late 1980s mini-CD or CD-3 required an adapter to play on your CD player.

But then if you were buying an audio CD, the adapter was included.

mini-audio CD with adapter - mini-CD adapter

Newer players supported mini-Disc though.

Sony Pocket Discman

Sony introduced this personal CD player exclusively for mini-CD playback. It is also called a mini-CD Walkman. With a size of about 4 square inches, it comes with a rechargeable battery lasting 2 hours back in the late 1980s.

Back in 1988, it cost $360. It was Sony’s attempt to provide a disc version of its popular cassette Walkman.

Modern Day CD/DVD Players

You don’t need a special player to play a mini-CD these days. A mini-CD can fit into a regular disc tray of a CD/DVD player or a computer CD/DVD drive.

It is designed to sit on the inner ‘well’ of the tray.

CD tray with mini-CD well

mini-CD Camera

Sony MVCCD250 2MP CD Mavica Digital Camera

This camera captures only still images. It uses a standard mini-CD as the storage medium.

 Equipped with a 2-megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom lens, it sports a 2.5-inch display. For uninterrupted shooting a rechargeable lithium-ion battery is provided.

You can playback a recorded mini-CD through PC or Mac disc drives.

Check out the Sony mini-CD Mavica Digital Camera.

Blank mini-CD

CDs may not be popular in this age of USB flash drives. Still, they’re available for sale.

You may want to buy them to store a small amount of data like software programs or drivers or even images. Those wanting to send press releases or media kits may find mini-CDs useful.

Also, they’re easier to mail. You may also want to use a mini-CD to send your resume to a prospective employer.

SpinX mini-CD-R

This silver mini-CD-R pack comes with 100 discs including sleeves. Each stores about 190MB of data with a run time of up to 22 minutes.

Check out the Spin-X mini-CD-R pack.

Free Video Workshop