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Old 16 September 2005, 09:14 pm   #6
Shy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 372

You said it yourself, "wanna buy an mp3 player."
The main issue nowdays is not the ability to add support, it's the willingness, not necessarily of the hardware developers, but of the guys who make the decisions, usually based on what sells best. Portable players now contain better hardware than in the past and are able to run multiple formats.
MP3 is "the good old" format everyone knows and everything supports. Most people don't even know of any lossy audio compression format other than MP3. It's like a synonym for "digital music" to people.
By far, most of the companies aren't concerned with quality of their products, not when it comes to what formats their products support AND not when it comes to the quality of the components and especially the audio output of their ridiculously low quality players. Even my lousy, big, cheap, ancient CD player has a headphone output better and stronger than any portable player's and most sound cards'.
More recently the issue of who's more big and powerful starts to show. AAC definitely doesn't get support just due to it being better than MP3, but mainly due to the fact that some of the world's most powerful multimedia companies are pushing the format. So manufacturers of hardware often don't care how popular a completely open audio format like Musepack or Ogg Vorbis is, or how high quality, the biggest consideration for them is 100% safe money.
iRiver recently dropped Ogg Vorbis support in their latest hard drive player, even though there's big demand for it. That's not encouraging at all. Let's not forget Apple, which is a main MPEG-4 company and only wants to promote mutilated DRM "protected" AAC music through its iTunes store, they don't want to support anything new other than AAC and ALAC, no matter if you like it or not. And on the other hand there are smaller companies like Neuros Audio, who listen to the public's demand and intend to support open formats like Musepack, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC in their upcoming products.
The fact stays, people must push the formats they wish to have support for, write to companies, make the word known, even protest. That's the only way free open formats can succeed in the monopoly ridden multimedia market. It has proven to be effective before, it will prove to be even more effective as the open public demand grows.
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