MP3 is simply another format of listening to music and should not be feared. MP3 is short for MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group) Layer 3.
MP3 files are similar to WAV files but are compressed to 1/10th the size yet maintain high sound quality. A typical 3 minute song file is about 3.5MB, can be downloaded in less than 10 minutes over a 56K modem connection. Even if you don't understand what a Megabyte is, understand that 1/10th the size:
= 1/10th the time to download
Since MP3 files are small and high-fidelity, they are easy to transfer by downloading and e-mailing. This is also the controversy since songs are copyrighted and distributing these files is illegal. However there are legal ways to use and enjoy MP3s. Using software such as RealNetwork's RealJukebox, you can convert, or RIP, your CDs to MP3 files. The software allows you to easily organize music by album, genre, artist, etc. You can listen to these files using your computer, which have been shipping with very high quality speaker/amplifier systems.
It may seem like overkill using a computer to play the latest Weezer release, but investing in a portable MP3 player takes full advantage of this format. Portable MP3 players, like the Rio500, have no moving parts. Because of this, there is NO skipping. The player is about the size of a deck of cards, runs about 10 hours on 1 AA battery, and can hold hours of music. Many have detailed displays which show the song title and artist. You organize and store your music on your computer and transfer the music you wish to take with you. The only limit is the amount of memory in your player, and you can upgrade by purchasing auxiliary memory cards.
Many new CD players are now supporting the MP3 format. This means that with
burner, you will be able to fit about 10 CDs worth of MP3 files on a
single Compact Disc.
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