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Thomson launches mp3PRO
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Thomson Multimedia and the Fraunhofer Institute today (Thursday) released mp3PRO, an mp3 upgrade with a new ripper and player and offering 128kbs performance at a 64kbs-encoding rate.

That translates into twice as much music on the same amount of disc space and with it, Thomson hopes to leave Microsoft et al choking in the dust. But it's by no means certain that it'll achieve that - in the 'legal' market, at least.

Called mp3PRO, it contains the data found in ordinary mp3's, "to maintain complete compatibility with original version players", says Thomson, while new, or upgraded, players supporting mp3PRO also, "tap into another stream that holds high audio frequencies, putting them together to make a higher-quality sound".

Mp3PRO was launched in Paris and Indianapolis simultaneously and is available in a free demo version from the websites of Thomson Multimedia and RCA; as well as the site of Coding Technologies which developed mp3PRO.

Thomson says the new app works with Windows 9X, 2000, NT, and Millennium, encodes .WAV files into mp3PRO files at 64 kbps and plays back all mp3 and mp3PRO files. "Availability of other mp3PRO software products supporting other mp3PRO bit rates and mp3PRO-compatible portable devices is expected later," says the company.

However, mp3PRO is mp3 on roller skates and the mp3 format has an evil rep with mainstream concerns because of the online epidemic of pirated music which is still going on, the demise of Napster and lack of recent media attention notwithstanding.

Mp3PRO will be a lot more expensive to license than the straight mp3 and some record companies, sensitized to the word 'pirate', are listing markedly towards formats such as Microsoft's Windows Media which, unlike mp3PRO, has at least some protection and is moreover an integral component of Microsoft's technology base.

And don't forget the 'shadow' developers like the royalty free Ogg Vorbis.

In the meanwhile, what's mp3PRO like? Not bad, actually. I ripped a 27,654kb .WAV and it boiled down to 1,256kb.

There's a lot of chat about mp3 being 'lossy' but frankly, I don't think online music lovers care that much about whether a digital audio file is brilliant in terms of fidelity, or just pretty damn good. And mp3PRO IS pretty damn good. On top of that, it's here, it's now, it's free - while it lasts - and it produces files half the size of mp3.


Coding Technologies -
Fraunhofer Institute -
Ogg Vorbis -
Thomson Multimedia -
Windows Media -

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» the mp3 way: Ogg Vorbis (2001-05-29)
» the mp3 way: mp3PRO - the .WAV of the future? (2001-04-25)

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