MP3 Players & File Compatability

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Dan Mertz, May 15, 2005.

  1. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    I am interested in buying my first MP3 player but I'm not sure how to know what different file types will play on what type of MP3 player. I imagine all players will play music that I download directly off of my store-bought CDs...is this correct? I have also noticed that Walmart's music-dowload website says that "the Apple iPod will not play Wal-Mart Music Downloads files. Our files are in the WMA format with Digital Rights Management (DRM) encryption. Many other media players will play our files." Is this also a problem with files from other music download sites?

    Will iPods not play any WMA files? What files can an iPod play and not play? Is there anything I need to know about other MP3 players when it comes to file compatability?

    Please help me know what to look out for on this issue, and remember I'm a newbie to MP3 players and am not completely familiar with all the different file types.
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    iPods will not play WMA.

    Non-Shuffle iPods will play AAC (protected tracks from iTunes as well as AAC's that are unprotected), MP3, Apple Lossless, WAV, and AIFF.

    I seem to recall that Shuffle won't do Apple Lossless, maybe a few others.

    BGL
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    There are two competing formats for "protected" music files (i.e. with digital rights management) -- WMA (Microsoft) and AAC (Apple). Most new MP3 players will handle one or the other, but not both. These protected file formats are only an issue for music purchased online -- anything you rip yourself from your own CD's will not have any digital rights management included.
     
  4. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    What about radio shows that I record as they are broadcast as streaming-audio, or shows that are "podcasts"? They end up with a file extension of .mp3 but how do I know if they'll play on a certain MP3 player?
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    If the files are in MP3 format, they should play on any MP3 player. It's the "other" compressed formats, such as AAC, OGG and WMA, that will only play on certain players.

    Personally, I encode all my CD's in MP3 for that very reason -- compatibility.
     

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