It’s not about iPod, it’s about standards | iLounge News


It’s not about iPod, it’s about standards

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Sorry Adam - you are wrong.

“There might be AAC player out there like Panasonic player, Nokia NGage and both of them plays AAC but they dont play DRM AAC from iTunes music store. You are blinded by your (iPod) zealotry.”

I went by what a friend was telling me. He download’s MP3 files to his iPod. What I didn’t hear or he didn’t mention (I just got done calling him) is that he still uses MusicMatch to buy music from Apple’s Music Store which surprised me. I just assumed (made an ass of myself didn’t I) that he had switched over. I also assumed that you couldn’t connect to Apple’s Music Store using MusicMatch anymore. So there is an option.

As for DRM. No problem. You can burn the songs onto a CD and then import them into anything else as it had to be converted to CD format to play in any CD player. That is how you can by pass the DRM issue.

Posted by Sabon on February 19, 2004 at 2:43 PM (CST)


As for supporting WMA. Just say NO! If people think they have problems with AAC they should take that and multiply it by 1,000 times.

It would be very silly to support AAIF on an iPod. People would start screaming about now being able to have more than 1,000 songs (or less?) on their 30 or 40 GB iPods.

Posted by Sabon on February 19, 2004 at 3:01 PM (CST)


Sabon you wrote “It would be very silly to support AAIF on an iPod. People would start screaming about now being able to have more than 1,000 songs (or less?) on their 30 or 40 GB iPods.”

AAIF IS already supported on the ipod.

Posted by crl on February 19, 2004 at 3:50 PM (CST)


AIFF works on the iPod, but because it’s uncompressed it taxes the hard disk and the battery. You know how people complain about the Belkin Media Reader sucking their battery dry double-quick? Same effect with AIFF.

Posted by bad example on February 19, 2004 at 3:56 PM (CST)


burning a 128kb song to bypass drm only to re-rip it back to non drm’d music is ridiculous and a time wasting excercise. I wont go into the value of itunes music but a 128k song file is not great, at least 192 is good for my ears. However burning a 128 as cd audio only to rip it back is going to cause some quality degradation, and by the time you have spent the money on cd’s for this purpose (burnt to cd-audio so about 20 trakcs per disc) it is a complete waste of money and time - just by the actual cd people - much better vfm.

Posted by dmeineck on February 19, 2004 at 4:09 PM (CST)


You know the same guy who showed how to bypass the lockout on playing DVDs on Linux PCs also showed how to bypass the Fairplay lockout to play FairPlay-hobbled AAC files on any platform?

Basically, using Quicktime DLLs on any platform, you can hook into the output stream before it plays through your audio hardware and redirect it to be saved into a non-DRM file.

So there is no re-encoding or loss of quality.

His program uses the same bypass as “MyTunes” but is open-sourced so anyone can use it. Expect many, many FairPlay AAC rippers to appear over the next few months…

QuickTime for Windows AAC memory dumper

Posted by DVDJon on February 19, 2004 at 4:40 PM (CST)


Just include WMA support for god’s sake.

Posted by MeshAir on February 19, 2004 at 5:09 PM (CST)


Several misconceptions to reply to here:

* iTunes is an APPLICATION.  The iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is a WEB SITE.  I know Apple’s marketing doesn’t really help to make that distinction, but it’s an important one.  While the iTMS only sells FairPlay-encrypted AAC files, iTunes and the iPod can play unencrypted AAC files, MP3s, AIFFs, WAVs, and more.  Also, the iTMS is only available in the USA; if iTunes was dependent on it then we here in Europe would be in trouble indeed!

* Another important distinction is that of DRM.  Plain AAC files (.m4a) are unencrypted; the format is about as open as MP3 is—in fact, it’s the audio layer from MPEG-4, just as MP3 was the audio layer from MPEG-1.  You can rip CDs to AAC yourself, and they can play anywhere.

What iTMS sells are AAC files that have been wrapped in an encryption layer called FairPlay.  It’s this encryption layer that’s Apple’s own, and is why files from iTMS currently work only on iTunes and iPod.

* You can’t compare bitrates between different types of files.  AAC files have substantially better quality than MP3 at a given bitrate; don’t complain about the quality of the 128kbps AAC files that the iTMS is selling until you’ve heard them, because they’re roughly equivalent to 192kbps MP3.  (It depends who you speak to, of course, but for me, 128kbps AAC is pretty indistinguishable from CD, so it’s what I use.)

* Yes, maybe you can ‘convert’ encrypted files into plain MP3 or whatever by burning to CD and ripping.  But this is a) awkward, and b) loses quality.  Compressing the original audio stream into AAC, WMA, or whatever loses quality; recompressing into MP3 or whatever loses more, giving a worse result than if you’d ripped straight to MP3.  That’s why many people don’t want to be stuck with a format they can’t play directly.

* The issue with WMA vs AAC isn’t about how many players support each (though that’s a symptom); the issue is control.  AAC is an open, published standard.  You have to license it, but Fraunhofer don’t have any axes to grind, and terms are fair.  WMA, on the other hand, is Microsoft’s own format, and they’ve shown time and time again how they’ll use their ownership of file formats to their advantage, locking other companies out of the market, forcing their changes on people, locking them into upgrade cycles, tying products together, &c.  Do we trust M$?  Do we want to hand over another market monopoly to them?

Posted by Gidds in UK on February 19, 2004 at 8:58 PM (CST)


Sabon, every time you post you get it wrong:

1. I am a Windows iPod user.


I buy AAC files from ITMS, and I don’t want to buy WMA.  But the many levelheaded concerns raised about the future of DRM wrapped AAC, and whether it is prudent to invest in it are well founded.  For now all we can do is watch it unfold, and hope that we’ve minimized our exposure to the risk of losing our investment.

Those who would blindly support every move Apple makes on this front are just zealots.  Apple has had a history of turning gold into lead.  One time they hit a homerun with the iPod and all of the zealots think Jobs has the wisdom of Solomon.  They’ll need to string together two successes in a row before I even begin to become a believer.

And don’t give me the argument about how “They must be doing OK, because they’ve been in business for 20 years.”  Fact is, they took their position as the first maker of consumer PCs, and parlayed it into a whopping 5% market share 20 years later.  And most of that 5% are just zealots, who would buy anything that the Church of Steve sells.

Posted by rdlink in Denver on February 19, 2004 at 9:15 PM (CST)


AAC is license-ware - to make hardware or software to play or encode it you have to pay. It only pretends to be “open” when it fact it is proprietary and hedged in by restrictive patents.

Ogg Vorbis is a next-generation, truly open standard that is royalty free, and whose quality exceeds AAC on double-blind tests.

“Ogg Vorbis is a fully open, non-proprietary, patent-and-royalty-free, general-purpose compressed audio format for mid to high quality (8kHz-48.0kHz, 16+ bit, polyphonic) audio and music at fixed and variable bitrates from 16 to 128 kbps/channel. This places Vorbis in the same competitive class as audio representations such as MPEG-4 (AAC), and similar to, but higher performance than MPEG-1/2 audio layer 3, MPEG-4 audio (TwinVQ), WMA and PAC.”

iPods can play Oggs, but only using the alpha Linux for iPods. Many other advanced audio handhelds play Oggs.

Posted by AAC is About Control on February 19, 2004 at 9:37 PM (CST)


Ogg vs AAC and Others

Posted by Dare to Compare on February 19, 2004 at 9:38 PM (CST)


Some people are so wrong… It’s not the iTMS format that counts, it’s the MP3 format. Most people who bought iPods have done so not for the iTMS, but for other MP3 files they have, whether ripped from their CDs or downloaded illegally.

As for the future, AAC at 128 is not bad, considering most people are buying rap/pop/rock, where the difference would only be apparent on a home stereo (not on a portable).

And history has shown, no matter what, that it is not the standard that matterls. Remember betamax?

Posted by Kirk McElhearn on February 20, 2004 at 1:33 AM (CST)


everyone that is here obviously loves music it dosent matter what format or whatever you use you all have i pods and i mean really even if you have 5000 or 10000 songs or whatever i bet you cant get through them all before you either get sick of them or get to a computer to change what you got in there. its a ridiculous and over meticulous argument that no one will ever win. my only complaint with ipods is that you cant make a playlist anywhere but in itunes.

Posted by moom7 on May 13, 2004 at 5:07 PM (CDT)

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