So you've heard all about MP3 players and MP4 players, you must have been wondering what these are all about and how they are different from each other?
MP3 - The blossoming of portable media era
In the early 1990s, we saw the birth of MP3 audio format, which was a real revolution in the portable media world dominated by walkmans and CD walkmans. Shortly after it became the standard internet audio format which allowed easy storage and transportation of audio files (motsly music). As a result, we saw a massive influx of MP3 player devices being introduced and soon became dominant in the portable media world. The obvious advantages of these MP3 players are: compact size, light weight, high storage capacity (due to the compression in MP3 audio format), longer playing time and better design.
Until today, MP3 (and other equivalent formats such as WAV, WMA, ASF, etc.) are still very much the dominant audio formats and still widely used worldwide.
But as the world evolved, the need for portable media did not restrict itself in audio, but expanded into video, text and images. This has resulted in a new format - the MP4 format.
MP4 - Portable media evolved
MP4 can be seen simply as an audio-video format, which allows the capacity of viewing video such as movies, TV shows, music videos, etc together with audio. As the industry of MP4 player devices evolved, more features such as FM turner, voice recorder, text reader, photo browser, email, internet browser and others were added making them a desirable product among electronic users. The capacity of MP4 player to deliver audio and video at the same time offers so many features that enable them to be used for professional purposes, besides entertainment.
Besides the advancement in built-in features, MP4 players still retains and evolves from the advantages of MP3 players of light weight, high storage capacity and brilliant design. We have seen an evolution of design in MP4 players such that they incorporate a large and high resolution screen for best video quality. The storage capacity has also expanded from few hundreds megabytes in the past to up to 60 gigabytes or more with the use of internal flash drive or hard drive together with the use of external memory cards. Yet, they still remain relatively light weight which enable them to be as portable as ever.
Don't be fooled by the name MP4 players in a way that they are restricted to only one particular audio-video format. In fact, think of MP4 basically as a container where it can provide multimedia solutions with a variety of audio-video formats. As MP4 player format became more popular, many Internet sites started to offer audio-video download services which allow MP4 users to download their favourite music and/or video at affordable prices. Also available on the Internet are files called Podcasts, which include information programs, news broadcasts, comedy, and entertainment programs. Although Podcasting is relatively new, it will become a mainstream communication medium in the near future.
From 2008 onwards, be prepared to observe a real revolution in the industry of MP4 players. Not only MP4 players will become more sophisticatedly packed with new features, we will see the other sides of MP4 player development such as better chipset that delivers the best quality audio and video, better screen technology which increases resolution (up to 800x600) and colour matrix (supports up to 16 or 32 millions colours) allowing DVD quality movies to be viewed, higher storage capacity (8GB - 64GB), and better design. Also, there will be MP4 players with game emulation and digital camera capability, wi-fi and Internet connectivity, etc.
As electronics users, we all wish to keep up with modern technology and definitely MP4 players will be among the most wanted products both now and in the near future. Let's look out for the evolution of MP4 players and be prepared to be thrilled by what they can offer. And remember also that Apple is not the only company which produce high quality MP4 devices (iPods). There are many many companies out there who make very high quality at more competitive prices. Even China, which have long been regarded as producers of low end replica products, are now starting to produce their own brands of high quality MP4 players utilising latest chipset technology exactly as those used in the Apple iPods. So, it's the matter of considering your own desire and budget in order to get the best deal of modern technology. Be sure to do research before you buy and don't be RIPPED OFF by those scammers out there.
Thank you for reading and please say YES if you find this helpful. See you at my next guide.
The evolution of MP4 players
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13 February 2008
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