A friend told me recently that he does not like iTunes and iPods because it uses non-standard formats. A little research later and here’s my response ( I borrowed heavily from Wikipedia.com ).
.MP4 and .M4V, AAC are the video formats Apple co-developed with Microsoft and others back starting back in 1997. AAC ( also used in iTunes, RIM BlackBerry, Sony Ericson Phones, Zen and other MP3 players ) is also a standard format. So when he says iTunes does not use standard formats he is really saying “iTunes does not use a format I like”.
- Banshee Music Player
- GOM Player
- J.River Media Jukebox
- J.River Media Center
- The KMPlayer
- KSP Sound Player
- Media Player Classic
- Nero Burning ROM (Nero ShowTime)
- Nokia PC Suite
- Photo Channel (Wii)
- QuickTime Player
- Songbird (software)
- VLC media player
- Xbox Media Center
- Zune Marketplace
- AT&T Tilt
- BlackBerry 8100 | 8300 | 8800
- Creative Zen
- Motorola SLVR L9
- Neuros MPEG 4 Recorder | Neuros MPEG 4 Recorder 2 | Neuros OSD
- Nokia N Series, Nokia 5300, Nokia 5700 and Nokia 6300
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation Portable
- Sansa Connect (with firmware upgrade)
- Sony Ericsson
- Some Sony Walkman models
- Wii (with system software update, available early December 2007)
- Xbox 360
AAC compatible devices and software.
Other Portable Players
- Creative Zen Portable
- Microsoft Zune
- SanDisk Sansa
- Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) with firmware 2.0 or greater
- Sony Walkman A and S Series
- SonyEricsson Walkman Phones-W series, e.g. W890i
For a number of years, many mobile phones from manufacturers such as Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, BenQ-Siemens and Philips have supported AAC playback. The first such phone was the Nokia 5510 released in 2002 which also plays MP3s. However this phone was a commercial failure and such phones with integrated music players did not gain mainstream popularity until 2005 when the trend of having AAC as well as MP3 support continued. Most new smartphones and music-themed phones support playback of these formats.
- Sony Ericsson phones support various AAC formats in MP4 container. AAC-LC is supported in all phones beginning with K700, phones beginning with W550 have support of HE-AAC. The latest devices such as the P990, K610, W890i and later support HE-AAC v2.
- Nokia XpressMusic and other new generation Nokia multimedia phones: also support AAC format.
- BlackBerry: RIM’s latest series of Smartphones such as the 8100 (“Pearl”) and 8800 support AAC.
- Apple‘s iPhone supports AAC and FairPlay protected AAC files used as the default encoding format in the iTunes store.
- Palm OS PDAs: Many Palm OS based PDAs and smartphones can play AAC and HE-AAC with the 3rd party software Pocket Tunes. Version 4.0, released in December 2006, added support for native AAC and HE-AAC files. The AAC codec for TCPMP, a popular video player, was withdrawn after version 0.66 due to patent issues, but can still be downloaded from sites other than corecodec.org. CorePlayer, the commercial follow-on to TCPMP, includes AAC support. Other PalmOS programs supporting AAC include Kinoma Player and AeroPlayer.
- Microsoft Windows Mobile platforms support AAC either by the native Windows Media Player or by third-party products (TCPMP, CorePlayer)
- Epson supports AAC playback in the P-2000 and P-4000 Multimedia/Photo Storage Viewers. This support is not available with their older models, however.
- Vosonic supports AAC recording and playback in the VP8350, VP8360 and VP8390 MultiMedia Viewers.
- The Sony Reader portable eBook plays M4A files containing AAC, and displays metadata created by iTunes. Other Sony products, including the A and E series Network Walkmans, support AAC with firmware updates (released May 2006) while the S series supports it out of the box.
- Nearly every major car stereo manufacturer offers models that will play back .m4a files recorded onto CD in a data format. This includes Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, Kenwood, Clarion, Panasonic, and JVC.
- The Sonos Digital Media Player supports playback of AAC files.
- The Roku SoundBridge network audio player supports playback of AAC encoded files.
- The Squeezebox network audio player (made by Slim Devices, a Logitech company) supports playback of AAC files.
- The PlayStation 3 supports encoding and decoding of AAC files.
- The Xbox 360 supports streaming of AAC through the Zune software, and off supported iPods connected through the USB port
- The Wii video game console supports AAC files through version 1.1 of the Photo Channel as of December 11, 2007. All AAC profiles and bitrates are supported as long as it is in the .m4a file extension. This update removed MP3 compatibility, but users who have installed this may freely downgrade to the old version if they wish.
Other software media players
Almost all current computer media players include built-in decoders for AAC, or can utilize a library to decode it. On Microsoft Windows, DirectShow can be utilized this way with the corresponding filters to enable AAC playback in any DirectShow based player. Software player applications of particular note include:
- Easy CD-DA Extractor for Windows, CD Ripper and audio converter, which includes an AAC encoder that supports LC and HE AAC.
- ffdshow is a free open source DirectShow filter for Microsoft Windows operating systems that uses FAAD2 to support AAC decoding.
- foobar2000 is a freeware audio player for Windows that supports LC and HE AAC.
- Jetaudio is a free media player for Microsoft Windows that plays a large array of formats, including AAC.
- The KMPlayer also supports AAC.
- KSP Sound Player also supports AAC.
- Media Player Classic
- MPlayer or xine are often used as AAC decoders on Linux.
- RealPlayer includes RealNetworks’s RealAudio 10 AAC encoder.
- Songbird (software) for Windows, Linux and Apple Macintosh supports AAC, including the DRM rights management encoding used for purchased music from the iTunes Store, with a plug-in.
- Sony SonicStage also support AAC.
- VLC media player supports playback of MP4 and AAC files.
- Winamp for Windows, which includes an AAC encoder that supports LC and HE AAC;
- Another Real product, Rhapsody supports the RealAudio AAC codec, in addition to offering subscription tracks encoded with AAC.
- XBMC (XBox Media Center) supports both AAC (LC and HE) on modified Xbox game-consoles.
- XMMS supports mp4 playback using a plugin provided by the faad2 library.
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