Actually, Microsoft has been pretty cool lately with formats. Take a look at the Xbox 360, before you could only play wmv, wma, mp3, and wav. Now you can play xvid, divx, wmv, mp4 (h.264/mpeg), mp3, and mp4/m4a (unprotected aac).
That’s very interesting, actually! I don’t own a 360 personally, so this is the kind of thing I’m not personally aware of. I made some assumptions for the sake of my argument. That’s good to hear, and you’re right, it sounds like Microsoft’s being pretty good about this. I’ll talk more about Microsoft codecs vs. Apple codecs later.
You also have to realize no-one-uses FLAC from Microsoft’s perspective.
And why is this? Because nothing supports it! Why would I use FLAC instead of WMA lossless if nothing I want to play my media files on supports FLAC?
Now Apple on the other hand… They are fucking bastards, they don’t support SHIT. No divx, no xvid – the only formats/codecs they really support are AAC and mp3 for audio and H.264 for video.
You’re absolutely right. After going over my post again, and thinking about it more, Microsoft is much better with codecs and library organization for letting you keep your music. Media players that support Microsoft’s “Plays for Sure” often support quite a few codecs. (Note: I don’t have Windows running currently, so I can’t double-check this!) When you import music into Media Player, it can move it to the My Music folder, and keep it organized, or leave it where it is. Apple on the other hand… supports very few codecs on its media players. When you import music into iTunes, it can move it to My Music/iTunes Library/iTunes Music, and keep it organized there (a strange path for people who want their music files), or leave it where it is. (continue reading…)
There’s been a bit of news about Microsoft’s newest addition to it’s Zune PMP line, the Zune HD lately. It’s a device created to directly compete with the iPod touch, carrying a capacitive touch screen, and giving the ability to play HD video, listen to HD radio, and browse the web. Oh, yeah, it plays music, too. A recent review on CNET makes the device sound quite enticing. This review was posted on digg, where I saw it, and proceeded to read the comments.
I noticed a couple people requesting a feature that I immediately knew wouldn’t be in the Zune HD: the ability to play FLAC. To me, this seemed kind of silly. Why would a product made by a big-name company like Microsoft or Apple, be able to play a free and open audio format, when they’ve already invented their own? As I started to think about it, that should be precisely the reason a device SHOULD be able to play FLAC: it’s free and open, and therefore, easy to implement. But, this is a move Microsoft and Apple will never make, because they’re fighting for more than your pocket.
They’re fighting for your audio format. (continue reading…)