Traveling to your office, doing household chores, driving your car, working on the computer, or at any other place, people are hooked on to their MP3 and MP4 music and video players. If you are traveling in an airplane or a bus you will find over 50% of the people having small headphones stuck into their ears.
What has made these small devices enter our lives so quickly that everybody, young or old, is now hooked on to it? MP3 music format, first introduced in 1993, started the era of compressed internet audio format. With the advent of broadband connectivity people freely uploaded and downloaded music from the web. This gave rise to pocket MP3 players.
There are two types of MP3 players or digital audio devices: flash-based players and digital hard drive-based players. Flash-based players hold files in the internal memory or external memory cards, and so they can hold up to 8 GB of files. While the hard drive-based players can connect to a hard drive that can hold up to 160 GB of audio and video files based on the hard drive technology. This means that you can store your entire music collection in your pocket!
MP3 players became very popular with the introduction of iPod, a convenient MP3 player with long battery life and storage space. The best part was that iPod can be connected to your computer and you can transfer your music directly from it. You can even make play lists, favorite folders, and arrange your files in many ways according to your convenience. Being among the pioneers, the iPod brand name has become synonymous with MP3 or MP4 digital players.
MP3 players are so well-liked that people have found many other uses for it. The most popular use is for podcasting. Podcasting lets the user automatically download radio-like programs, or TV-like video feeds, and other audio inputs, etc., directly from the net into the device. These could be downloaded and played at the owners` convenience.
MP4 players are even more advanced. They can play audio as well as video files. Apart from the MP3 and MP4 formats these players have capability to play WMA/PlaysForSure (from Microsoft), AAC (from Apple) and ATRAC (from Sony), AVI, ATV, ACT, SMV, MPEG4, MTV, DMV, MPV and AMV, etc.
Most MP4 players can also open in JPEG and GIF formats. They play videos in AMV or MTV formats that are converted easily through conversion software from other popular formats. These MP4 players also support plain text viewer (ASCII format) so that you can read e-books. A lot of enhancements like FM radio player, phone books, camera and voice recorders, video games, etc. are also coming today to make it a complete digital device.
There are many brands available in the portable audio/video player market but the market leader is Apple iPod. All major brands like Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Olympus, etc., have made their own versions of MP3 and MP4 players. These players are available in various shapes, sizes, colors, storage space, battery life, and more.
If you are looking to buy an MP3 or MP4 player check for all the features mentioned above. The most important attribute is the battery life as these portable players are mostly used on the move, so it would be difficult to charge them. iPod boasts the highest battery life among all other players. There are a lot of accessories that you can purchase along with your MP3 or MP4 player. Though all the brands provide headphones along with the player, it`s a good idea to buy the ones that you like.