“Owners of Apple’s popular iPod are finding that music encoded in the format, or codec, known as WMA, for Windows Media Audio by Microsoft, will not play on the iPod, which performs best with music encoded with a format called AAC, for Advanced Audio Coding,” Michel Marriott writes for TechNewsWorld.
“The codec confusion needs to get resolved before we see dramatic changes in the market, said Van Baker, vice president of GartnerG2, a research service from Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut.
The variety, and the difficulty of choosing, may only increase in the short term. On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a smaller iPod called the iPod Mini, and digital-music announcements by other manufacturers are planned over the next few days at the Consumer Electronics Show, a major trade event in Las Vegas,” Marriott writes.
“Hyder Rabbani, president and chief operating officer at Archos, a maker of portable digital storage devices and music players, compares today’s digital audio environment to the dawn of the cellular telephone industry, when there was a confounding mix of competing systems and formats.
It stalled the entire adoption of the industry, Rabbani said, noting that many consumers waited until the formats shook out to a dominant few before they bought a cellphone. There’s a similar challenge today,” Marriott writes. “In addition to the hardware, a dizzying array of software is required to manage digital music, including the formats used for storage and playback. For starters, there are MP3, MP3 Pro, WMA, AAC and a format called Atrac that is used almost exclusively by Sony. Each format has its advantages and peculiarities, and not all players read all formats.”
“At the big DataVision Computer Video store in Manhattan, personal digital audio players were one of best-sellers of the holiday season, said John Griffin, the store’s sales manager, and iPods were clearly the players of choice. For every one of the other players we sold, people bought 70 to 80 iPods, Griffin said recently as shoppers ogled a store display of more than 50 different models of players ranging in size from cigarette lighters to small jewelry boxes,” Marriott writes.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The format shakeout will continue, but if we were to bet, we’d be betting on AAC/Fairplay. That’s the format served up by the market-dominating Apple iTunes Music Store and also the format the leading digital music player, Apple’s iPod, uses (along with MP3 (up to 320 kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR) and WAV). In addition, the announcement that HP will rebrand Apple’s iPod and the upcoming Apple/Pepsi 100 million song promotion will futher cement AAC/Fairplay as the defacto legit digital music format.