Hear It in Digits


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Music downloads are off the charts! We're listening to digital music in the digital era.

The driving force behind the phenonmena is the technonolgy called MP3. This is the technology that has changed the music industry. MP3 is an acronym for Motion Pictures Expert Group Audio Layer III. MPEG is the standard for audio or video compression that makes any files smaller with no loss of quality. The standards were set in 1992 by the Industry Standards Organisation, beginning with MPEG-1 which was used primarily for video compression.

MPEG-2 which uses higher bandwith for both audio and video compression has found suitable uses in DVD technology. MPEG Layer III or MP3 involves only audio compression. MP3 technology was developed by a German company Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, who now licenses the patent rights to the multitude of companies that now use the technology common in your MP3 players.

There are several alternatives to the Ipod that all use the same MP3 technology. The Ipod uses flash storage which means there are no moving parts One prominent name that is often mentioned as the father of MP3 is Karlheinz Brandeburg, a math and electronics specialist who led Franuanhofer research team. Brandeburg cites that the project almost died when in 1991 , when the encoding procedure did not function during tests.

Luckily for us, MP3 is alive and kicking and is seen by many to be the area of concentration in digitising sound.

A Precusor to todays popular MP3 players is the Win Amp, develop when Two university students, Justin Frankel and Dmirtry Boldev attached an Advanced Multimedia Products player to Windows operating system, creating the WinAmp.

The WinAmp is till alive an operational in a much improved form today.

The MP3 technology has opened up can of worms with file sharing, which appears to pose a real challenge to the recording industry Due to the ease of transmission, and the fact that there is no loss in transmission, illegal distribution of copyrighted material is easy and inexpensive and so the culture of piracy flourishes.

Mp3 is changing the world of audio works, in particular the CD distribution and there is now some spillover into DVD arena, The challenge to the music and movie industry is to determine the threshold for respecting copyrights while utilising the technology. There are not yet, any easy solutions, as there are laws and treaties that allow the duplication of copyrighted material for private use. Several cases have arisen around the issue of privacy.

Public discussion continues with the development of more sophisticated systems for file sharing. There are now sites numbering in the hundreds of thousands that list music that be can be downloaded with a single click.

The legality is still in question There have been convictions for listing and offering MP3 files. The Liability of Internet Service Providers has also

been brought under the spotlight. Napster has re-emerged, but the popularity and effectiveness may be questionable.

The internet has brought us into untravelled territory, and there is most likely to be different and improved related uses of services using MP3 in

the future. Perhaps more litigation can be expected as the technology gets more sophisticated, the question of legal control becomes a more serious issue. . .

A new culture has emerged around the phenom of the Ipod which is fuelled bt the technology called MP3 No one yet owns the internet, and as new technoloy emerges, there is usually a period of discovery, where a blend of usage and legality blend with the ethics. We are not there yet, however we urge all to come along for the ride, for we are just beginning. . . The arena of digital audio and video is seen by many to be the wave of the future so enjoy it.

to get some of the best values in digital players, amd MP3, check us out at http://www.eConsumershop.com

Dale Davidson is the publisher of an on-line newsletter “Deal_news" that provides free info, products and services to on-line consumers. With an extensive background in electronics, and membership in the IEEE, ASME among others, the newsletter provides regular info on consumer electronics products. Can be reached via email or visit website: http://www.eConsumershop.com


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