Does new WMA support change landscape?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple's iTMS and iPod is number one in it's respective markets. But with an upcoming music store of it's own, the MS machine could pose a threat.



Does this added feature of WMA support to iTunes 4.5 lock up the market for Apple?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by satchmo

    Apple's iTMS and iPod is number one in it's respective markets. But with an upcoming music store of it's own, the MS machine could pose a threat.



    Does this added feature of WMA support to iTunes 4.5 lock up the market for Apple?




    Not really -- iTunes 4.5 only converts unprotected WMAs into AAC. It just lowers the barrier for people who've been using WMA as their storage format to switch over to iTunes. All the people purchasing music from Napster, WalMart, and so forth are still locked into using a DRM-WMA jukebox / music store.



    Still, the WMA conversion option is a good idea, considering Apple's position.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    ensoniqensoniq Posts: 128member
    All the new WMA import support does is allow Windows users to convert WMA songs (downloaded for free or imported from CDs using Windows Media Player) into a format the iPod can understand (AAC/MP3).



    So if you are new to iTunes and have a library of WMA files, the new import feature lets you quickly convert them for use with your iPod. That is what Apple wants...users to convert their WMA files to AAC and then start using the iTMS for new purchases. Basically, saying goodbye to WMA/MS hell.



    This new feature won't let users buy songs from other online Music Stores, because it won't let you import DRM protected WMA files. So it doesn't do anything to help makes iTunes/iPod more compatible with other online music stores...it just is a nice courtesy to Windows users with lots of unprotected WMA files.



    (Edit: Looks like Hobbes beat me to it...)



    -- Ensoniq
  • Reply 3 of 20
    cosmocosmo Posts: 662member
    does converting from WMA (lossy) to ACC (lossy) result in an even lossier file?

    I would imagine that converting to the new lossless format would keep the converted WMA files at the highest possible quality, but it seems that converting to ACC would create a very lossy file. The same occurs when one converts an mp3 to acc.



    Back OT: perhaps apple could work something out with the other companies who use DRM files. If they could convert protected WMA files to fairplay protected ACC files, the iPod would be truely compatable. Somehow i don't see this happening, but the WMA->ACC encoder is the first step.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    smirclesmircle Posts: 1,035member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Cosmo

    does converting from WMA (lossy) to ACC (lossy) result in an even lossier file?



    Absolutely yes.

    There is no known way of transcoding between lossy formats which does not degrade the quality at least a bit.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Cosmo

    Back OT: perhaps apple could work something out with the other companies who use DRM files. If they could convert protected WMA files to fairplay protected ACC files, the iPod would be truely compatable. Somehow i don't see this happening, but the WMA->ACC encoder is the first step.



    The biggest problem here is licensing: The songs were sold with a particular set of restrictions (almost always stricter than FairPlay), and such a conversion would effectively discard that license and impose a new, more liberal one. This is a feature that end users would probably love, but you can guess what the labels would think of it.



    Now, on the other hand, if iTunes was able to ID each track, phone the store to see if it was being sold under the FairPlay license there, and convert it if it was... Apple might be able to work that out. But in any case, they'd have to have their lawyers talk to everyone else's lawyers before they could do something like that.



    Certainly, it would torpedo the "Soviet economy" criticism once and for all...
  • Reply 6 of 20
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Hobbes

    iTunes 4.5 only converts unprotected WMAs into AAC. It just lowers the barrier for people who've been using WMA as their storage format to switch over to iTunes. All the people purchasing music from Napster, WalMart, and so forth are still locked into using a DRM-WMA jukebox / music store.



    Still, the WMA conversion option is a good idea, considering Apple's position.




    OTOH, there appears to be software on the loose that strips DRM off WMA if you have the key - just like Fairplay. (Google for "cracking wma drm".) People can first use that software to de-DRM their WMA files and Apple's converter does the rest. Dunno if the tags are preserved properly..
  • Reply 7 of 20
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Well the I'm not big on piracy, and this will have nothing to do with piracy, but there are WMA DRM removal applications out there, So a windows user could easily decode a batch of protected WMA files , render them unprotected, and convert the whole batch into iTunes 4.5 now.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Wow iTunes plays WMA? I think this is probably good. I still want to see MP3 freakin die and people universally upgrade to .mp4. Instead of WMA!
  • Reply 9 of 20
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    We need a freakin' FAQ item on this already.



    iTunes 4.5 does *NOT*, repeat, does *NOT* play WMA files.



    The iPod does *NOT*, repeat, does *NOT* play WMA files.





    iTunes 4.5 on Windows has the capability of *converting* WMA files to AAC or MP3, at which point the *converted* file will be playable in iTunes or on the iPod.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aquatic

    Wow iTunes plays WMA? I think this is probably good. I still want to see MP3 freakin die and people universally upgrade to .mp4. Instead of WMA!



    Kickaha is correct. I should have been more descriptive in my post. When I said "render them unprotected, and convert the whole batch" I meant convert to AAC. Actually I wasn't aware that it would convert to mp3 from WMA, but it makes sense. And again it's only on windows. Actually I don't think that most mac users have a PC, but I'm sure many of them do, and the WMA converter will probably show up in the Mac version at some point because people will biach about it until it is. If they need it or not.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by tonton

    Wait a minute...



    Doesn't everybody say that AAC is just a wrapper for media files, like quicktime, and can support playback of all kinds of files, depending on the codecs installed? Maybe Apple did in fact license WMA and just wrapped it in an AAC wrapper. Only a listening test can prove whether double lossy is actually the result of the "conversion".




    GAH!



    The MPEG-4 file format is like the QuickTime file format that it can be a container for all sorts of codecs.



    AAC is short for Advanced Audio Coding, a *shock* advanced audio coding standard.



    Apple developed its own AAC encoder/decoder. So have many other developers.



    AAC in its purest form is a raw bitstream, which can be stored as a file (with the extension .aac)



    Most commonly, you'll find AAC encased in an MPEG-4 file. (extension .mp4)
  • Reply 12 of 20
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Ah my bad Kickaha. I don't have any Windoze media songs. I mean honestly, who does that? I've seen a few people with songs in that format and they are all bigger/crappier sounding than even MP3.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Eugene

    GAH!



    The MPEG-4 file format is like the QuickTime file format that it can be a container for all sorts of codecs.




    MPEG-4 *IS* the QuickTime file format, for all intents and purposes. Apple offered up QT containers to the standards group, and with just a few tweaks, they adopted it. QT added native support for it with 6.0.



    I think the most important point is that AAC is *just another codec*, like Sorenson, Cinepak, Indeo, what have you. An MPEG-4 file can contain anything, AAC is just one of the *kinds* of data it can hold.



    You *could* have an MPEG-4 file contain a WMA file... but that'd be silly. Not to mention that the open and flexible nature of MPEG-4 has MS nervous... rather like XML. They'll make gestures and lots of noise about supporting it, but when push comes to shove, they'll do what they can to kill it.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    oldmacfanoldmacfan Posts: 501member
    Didn't one of the Mac news sites just run a story (or a link to a story) about the fact that Mpeg-4 was dying?



    I know I read the story in the last three weeks or so.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    MPEG-4 'dying'... iTMS 'dying'...



    Having issues with mortality these days?
  • Reply 16 of 20
    oldmacfanoldmacfan Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    MPEG-4 'dying'... iTMS 'dying'...



    Having issues with mortality these days?




    If I don't find a job soon I will.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    oldmacfanoldmacfan Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    MPEG-4 'dying'... iTMS 'dying'...



    Having issues with mortality these days?




    I found that link about MPEG-4.



    http://www.streamingmedia.com/article.asp?id=8605



    It's an opinion piece, I missed that part the first time. I found it linked on Macbytes.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    You know, the author completely destroys their own credibility with the following:



    Quote:

    Contrast this to the current streaming media environment. Before MPEG-4 was introduced, three streaming technologies enjoyed widespread use: RealVideo, Microsoft's Windows Media Video, and Sorenson Video. MPEG-4 offers lower quality than any of them.



    MPEG-4 is a container, not a codec.



    Sorenson is not a streaming codec.



    The person is an idiot. Ignore, move along, nothing to see here citizens.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    oldmacfanoldmacfan Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    The person is an idiot. Ignore, move along, nothing to see here citizens.



    Like I said, I didn't see that it was an OP-Ed piece. As for the specifics, I read 100 or so articles a day, and retain very little of it. Thanks for the low-down.
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