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A Bird’s Eye View Of The World Of MP3 Players

By Samuel Morgan

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 or MP3 for short has become a common audio format that is deployed to transfer and playback music on digital audio player. It was designed by the Moving Picture Experts Group which included amongst others, Fraunhofer of Germany, Thomson-Brandt, AT&T-Bell Labs of USA, and CCETT. It obtained an ISO/IEC standard in 1991.

MP3 reduces the amount of data for recording and yet it maintains the original quality of the uncompressed audio. The MP3 can compress a CD file to one-tenth its size with a mid-range bit rate setting of 128 kbits/s. This compression is done by auditory masking. The first MP3 software encoder was released in 1994. The file extension name was initially .bit which was changed to .mp3 in 1995. Winplay3 was the first real time software released in the same year. Audio files began to be converted to MP3 files and played back in personal computers. MP3 soon spread on the Internet. The release of Winamp in 1997 and the Unix audio player mpg123 in 1998 further popularized MP3. By the later part of 1997, MP3 was being offered free at Peer to peer transferring of music files that are ripped from compact discs rapidly increased. Napster, launched in 1999, assisted large scale peer to peer file sharing. No doubt there was an outcry of violations of copyright leading to loss to recording companies. This was also followed by a spate of allegations and litigations.

MP3 players are mainly of three categories. There are those that are based on hard drives, micro hard drives and flash based. The larger and heavier amongst them is the hard drive based MP3 players. They have a large capacity of ten gigabytes or more comprising some 2,900 MP3 files. The micro hard rive based players are similar but compact and smaller in size and internal storage capacity. They typically have six gigabytes holding about 1,700 MP3 files. Both these categories of players have rechargeable batteries. The flash based MP3 players are very compact without any moving parts, use minimal power but having a low capacity ranging from 32 megabytes to two gigabytes. WiFi connectivity was introduced to enable download of music from the Internet and the first one to be introduced was Sandisk Sansa Connect 4GB MP3 player.

Unauthorized sharing of music files is extensive. There are also many companies that sell music in MP3 format such as, Juno Records, Bleep, eMusic, Beatport, Zune Marketplace and Disputes relating to patent and licensing over MP3 involve Thomson Consumer Electronics, Sisvel S.p.A., Fraunhofer Institute, Texas MP3 Technologies, SanDisk, Samsung Electronics, Apple, Alcatel-Lucent and Texas MP3 Technologies, besides others.

MP3 players have really evolved a lot and so music lovers can enjoy as much as they want to. In the past, you need to purchase expensive music albums but today, it’s a different musical scenario already.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Morgan, Samuel "A Bird’s Eye View Of The World Of MP3 Players." A Bird’s Eye View Of The World Of MP3 Players. 9 Jul. 2010. 6 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Morgan, S (2010, July 9). A Bird’s Eye View Of The World Of MP3 Players. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Morgan, Samuel "A Bird’s Eye View Of The World Of MP3 Players"

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