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MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,031
17,414
According to DanceFrontDoor.co.uk the PortalPlayer chip used in the Apple iPod (PB5502B-C) is capable of decoding WMA (Windows Media Audio) by default.

Certainly, Apple's decision not to allow the iPod to play WMA-formatted songs is a strategic one rather than a technical hurdle.

With HP's recent adoption of the iPod, there was some speculation that the iPod would support the Windows format, but HP clearly stated that WMA support was not planned. As well, reliable sources had indicated the same.
 

jeffgarden

macrumors member
Dec 28, 2003
75
0
Miami
I kinda want more music stores, i guess like Sony and Real, to come out using their own proprietary formats just because it'll make it seem less like Apple vs. The World.

Right now everyone but Apple uses WMA and a lot of articles make it seem like Apple's not playing nice.

I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, but does anyone know if the WMA files from all the music stores that use them play on each other's MP3 players ? Like can you download from Napster and put the songs on the Dell DJ ?
 

Spagolli94

macrumors member
May 22, 2002
77
0
Philadelphia, PA
I am getting sick of all this iPod news...

iPod this, iPod that.

Yet, it's still silent when it comes to any hardware updates. As a creative professional, Apple has been completely stagnant for almost a year now.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
16,268
5,477
Originally posted by jeffgarden

I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, but does anyone know if the WMA files from all the music stores that use them play on each other's MP3 players ? Like can you download from Napster and put the songs on the Dell DJ ?

Yep... all players that support _Protected WMA_ work with each other's songs...

the list of players that specifically support Protected WMA is a much shorter list than those that support regular WMA... but should be growing.

arn
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
16,268
5,477
Originally posted by Spagolli94
Yet, it's still silent when it comes to any hardware updates. As a creative professional, Apple has been completely stagnant for almost a year now.

Maybe there's nothing coming out in the immediate future?

Would you rather there had been (incorrect) daily claims of PowerMac G5 updates throughout January and February?

arn
 

mustang_dvs

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2003
694
13
Durham, NC
Personally, I see no problem in Apple's decision to leave WMA support out of the iPod specifications. The iPod supports MP3 and AAC, both of which are industry-standard and have numerous encoder products available.
 

pkradd

macrumors regular
Dec 1, 2001
184
0
This information is not new. It was reported over a year ago before iTunes was introduced. A software upgrade would give WMA compatibility. But why bother now? Anyone who has a bunch of WMA files can burn them to a CD as MP3 then load them into the iTunes "jukebox" and then into an iPod. Duh.......................
 

jakeludington

macrumors newbie
Feb 20, 2004
4
0
WMA works everywhere but the iPod

PortalPlayer is also used in the Rio Karma, which supports WMA, MP3, and OGG. The PortalPlayer platform supports all four formats.

If you purchase WMA format music from *any* of the online stores, like MusicMatch.com, BuyMusic.com, Napster, etc, it will work on *any* player supporting WMA format audio.

Love or hate either Apple or Microsoft, the player shouldn't dictate which formats will work. Apple admits to making no money on music, so why not support every format and just concentrate on making great players?
 

Photorun

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2003
1,216
0
NYC
If Apple went with WMA it be the nails in the coffin for AAC. People are lemmings, as I've said repeated in these forums, people are pretty dumb, they're sheep, they just hear buzz words and go "oh, well, if everyone else is drinking the Koolaid, guess I'll drink it too." WMA is that Koolaid. It's sh**ty and, much like the company that came out with it, lackluster and crappy and people just assume it's standard. To accept this format just champions mediocrity even more and allows Microsh** more power and influence over the industry... it's that simple. No WMA is a good thing.
 

Photorun

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2003
1,216
0
NYC
Originally posted by AirUncleP
FYI. This article on CNN talks about the same thing and how most consumers don't realize this.

http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/18/technology/ipods_0403/index.htm

Wow, and the person who wrote that article is a complete and total DUMBASS!!! He should wake the f*** up and smell the java, does he use a peecee?!? Has he no idea how locked into EVERYTHING he is on that WIntel piece of crap he's using?!? What a moron!!! Proves nothing except just how CLUELESS people are!
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
Truth be told the music industry screwed the pooch by not defining one music codec to rule them all. This is by far their biggest gaffe. They should have sanctioned only one format with appropriate DRM. Instead they're letting every Tom Dick and Harry with digital aspiration create a music store with their own format. Very messy.


As for today. No the iPod should not support WMA. Just because the chipset plays it doesn't mean the licensing is free. Apple should remain the course with aac but they also need to start licensing out the protected AAC format(with fairplay of course) to select 3rd parties like Roku Labs, Phatnoise and some other high-end companies like Request and Escient. Don't get greedy Apple get smart.

Adding WMA only supports your competitor and being that Apple has 56% share of the total online stores the questions begs...why aren't the other portable players chomping at the bit to add AAC support? We're confusing things here by asking the majority to bend to the will of the minority.
 

jakeludington

macrumors newbie
Feb 20, 2004
4
0
Originally posted by Photorun
WMA is that Koolaid. It's sh**ty and, much like the company that came out with it, lackluster and crappy and people just assume it's standard. To accept this format just champions mediocrity even more and allows Microsh** more power and influence over the industry... it's that simple. No WMA is a good thing.

While Microsoft is still perfecting the DRM scheme for WMA on Mac OS X, the format is technically as good as or better than AAC at all comparable bitrates.

Honestly, who cares which format survives as long as I can play it on any player of my choosing. With AAC/Fairplay, I can listen to the music on any player, as long as it is an iPod. That's not choice.

AAC/Fairplay won't work with my Rio Karma, or my Dell DJ, or the cheap flash-based player I take to the gym so I don't have to risk losing a $300 device in the locker room.

If you want the AAC format to thrive, don't blame Microsoft. Convince the powers that be at Apple to do a hard sell on other device manufacturers. Of course that won't happen. If other players supported AAC, people wouldn't buy as many iPods, because the could get a "good enough" player for a fraction of the cost.
 

0 and A ai

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2004
171
0
Originally posted by Spagolli94
I am getting sick of all this iPod news...

iPod this, iPod that.

Yet, it's still silent when it comes to any hardware updates. As a creative professional, Apple has been completely stagnant for almost a year now.

lol can u say troll:p
 

j33pd0g

macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2003
471
8
Central NY
...that CNN article

So what, you can buy a few decent players for under $100; most hold only 30 or so songs at a time. Following this logic you would have to buy 100 devices to hold up to 3,000 tunes. 100 devices will cost you 10,000 bucks. You're better off buying a 15gb iPod for $299.00 that can hold 3,700 songs. You would save 9,701 dollars.

Also I think that if M$ had made their own winPod, devices from Creative, Dell, iRiver, Rio and Samsung would not have been allowed to support the WMA format. They would be forced to use only the mp3 or ogg.
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
From
http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/18/technology/ipods_0403/index.htm

Go Apple and you'll own what's still the best-designed player on the market, working in tandem with the best combination of software and an online music catalogue. But you'll also pay more and have fewer choices. (Hey, longtime Mac users -- ring a bell?)

The Author makes an assumption that he doesn't back up. The assumption are Apple is always more expensive and choices are limited. I'm failing to see the limitation. Fairplay DRM allows me to move my songs amongst 3 computers, burn playlists up to 10 times unchanged and send to ipod unlimited amount of times. In fact my choices are pretty damn vast.


With WMA, your costs go down as your options go up.

If they are it hasn't been proven. My choice is Protected WMA from a few other stores...some with varying levels of Fair Usage. I have choice in portable players but not all will support Protected WMA so I must be careful.

I think what's happening right now is that many writers simply aren't capturing what readers really need to know. Fair Usage and what they can do with the music upfront. There is too much pressure to align with Microsoft tech...simply because they're microsoft.
 

siliconjones

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2004
66
0
actually…

If you think about it logically the music industry would most likely champion codec non-interoperability when it comes to the distribution of music. Interoperability facilitates easy SHARING and we all know they don't want that. As far as WMA goes, blechhh!! If quicktime doesn't play I don't want it. I would N E V E R install Windows media on my machine. E V E R. I do use VLC to play the occasional WMV though.
 

fixyourthinking

macrumors 6502a
Oct 24, 2002
665
0
Greenville SC
Not entirely accurate

Originally posted by pkradd
This information is not new. It was reported over a year ago before iTunes was introduced. A software upgrade would give WMA compatibility. But why bother now? Anyone who has a bunch of WMA files can burn them to a CD as MP3 then load them into the iTunes "jukebox" and then into an iPod. Duh.......................

The previous chips in 1st and 2nd gen iPods were exclusive to the iPod. The 3rd gen iPods use a chip by portal player (PB5502B-C chip) that is found in at LEAST 8 other players.

The previous rumors weren't really all that possible - adding WMA to the iPod is now plausible.

I had posted this in my slashdot journal a few days ago:

So, the question here is, if people have access to the firmware updates that Apple has already released and people have knowledge of this chip at OTHER companies (like Samsung and Creative) why would it be so difficult to release an underground WMA firmware update for the iPod?
 

Cochrane

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2003
45
0
Germany
That WMA is in there ain't new. Portal Player has been claiming "all chips with WMA support" for two years and more, so even if Apple had an own chip only for themselves it wouldn't be a surprise if it supports WMA and it does.

What I think is interesting, is the OGG support mentioned above. Why isn't that active? Maybe because Apple would then have a rival to AAC.
 

jakeludington

macrumors newbie
Feb 20, 2004
4
0
Originally posted by nuckinfutz
The Author makes an assumption that he doesn't back up. The assumption are Apple is always more expensive and choices are limited. I'm failing to see the limitation. Fairplay DRM allows me to move my songs amongst 3 computers, burn playlists up to 10 times unchanged and send to ipod unlimited amount of times. In fact my choices are pretty damn vast.

Compare the 20GB iPod to the 20GB Dell DJ, or 20GB Rio Karma. Both are cheaper than the iPod.

Choices are limited to playing songs in iTunes or playing them on an iPod. What if I want to play a song in RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, MusicMatch, or WinAMP? What if my company gives me a Dell DJ as a bonus for sales performance? Do I sell it on eBay so I can keep buying songs from iTunes? That's not choice, that's Ford's Model T in any color as long as it's black.


Originally posted by nuckinfutz
If they are it hasn't been proven. My choice is Protected WMA from a few other stores...some with varying levels of Fair Usage. I have choice in portable players but not all will support Protected WMA so I must be careful.

Name a player that doesn't support Protected WMA besides the iPod.

Creative, iRiver, Rio, Napster, Gateway, Dell, Archos, Audivox, Audible, Casio, CenDyne, Bantam, Intel, Samsung, TDK, Sanyo, and many others all support protected WMA.

Yes, many of those players suck. The first 6 companies on that list all make players that are good enough to compete with the iPod at better price points.

Originally posted by nuckinfutz
I think what's happening right now is that many writers simply aren't capturing what readers really need to know. Fair Usage and what they can do with the music upfront. There is too much pressure to align with Microsoft tech...simply because they're microsoft.

Buyers shouldn't have to think about what they can do with files upfront. We don't want to read the label to see where the files will work. If I have a CD, I know it will play in a CD player. If I have a DVD, I know it will play in a DVD player. If I have a VHS tape, I know it plays in my VCR. If I have a digital music file, who knows where it will play.
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
While Microsoft is still perfecting the DRM scheme for WMA on Mac OS X, the format is technically as good as or better than AAC at all comparable bitrates.

Subjective statement. Plenty of people could say the exact opposite.

Honestly, who cares which format survives as long as I can play it on any player of my choosing. With AAC/Fairplay, I can listen to the music on any player, as long as it is an iPod. That's not choice

No you can Burn a CD and then re-rip to any format you want. Meaning you can make your investment portable. If you really cared about buying non "lossy" you wouldn't be buying compressed music anyways. This arguement is based on laziness moreso that actual limitations.

Again a unified format would have been most preferrable but instead we have people trying to justify why WMA should be it over AAC and vice versa.
 

jakeludington

macrumors newbie
Feb 20, 2004
4
0
Originally posted by nuckinfutz
Again a unified format would have been most preferrable but instead we have people trying to justify why WMA should be it over AAC and vice versa.

This isn't a WMA vs. AAC arguement, it's a discussion of portability. WMA is irrelevant. A unified format isn't necessary either.

Apple currently restricts usage of iTunes files to very narrowly defined parameters, because they fear competition from other hardware vendors.

For the sake of arguement, say I purchase 10,000 songs from iTunes. I probably have twice that many songs on CD, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

I certainly could burn all 10,000 to CD and then rip them to WMA or MP3 so that I can listen to them on a device other than an iPod.

The average CD takes somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes to burn, with another 5-10 minutes to rip the tracks to WMA or MP3. On the low side, that's 10 minutes per CD, with the average CD containing 10 tracks, or 1,000 CDs. I can think of better ways to spend a week of my time.

After investing $9,900 in music, that seems to be a rather high price to pay for being able to use my songs where I want.
 
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