What is a MP3 Player


What is a MP3 Player?  MP3 stands for MPEG-Layer3, which is the technical term for digital audio formats.  MP3 (or MPEG Layer 3) has become the standard for playing audio video files on portable devices.   An MP3 Player refers to the digital audio player which is usually a portable electronics device that stores, organizes and plays the audio files.  They are also referred to as portable media players and some may have image-viewing and video-playing capabilities.  The portable MP3 Player is a new genre of products that has superseded the portable cassette player.  MP3 support has been added into other products that include Car Radios, CD Players, Cellphones, GPS Navigation Systems, PDAs, Video Game Consoles and Home Theater Systems.

Types of MP3 Players

There are several different types of MP3 Players and most are also associated with their Manufactured Brands such as, iPod and Zune.  The major brands include Apple, Archos, Cowon, Creative Labs, iRiver, Microsoft, Phillips, RCA, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony and Toshiba.  Several other brands exists as well, but may not have the popularity as these brands.  Some even make generic mp3 players that introduce the child to the market, just as other manufacturers make play cell phones. 

Flash-Memory MP3 Players

Flash-memory MP3 Players are the smallest and lightest because they do not have any moving parts.  They are about the size of a stick of gum.  The storage capacity is in the ranges from 512mb to 8gb.  This relates to about 120 to 2,000 songs based on standard CD quality.  By compressing the songs, you will be able to store more songs, but the quality will be lower and not sound as good.  A few flash-memory units may have expansion slots that will give you more added memory if you want to use compact memory.


You can use Compact Flash, Multi-Media, Secure Digital and Smart-Media memory formats as added memory.  Memory card storage will add about 32mb to 2gb in extra storage.  What you need to consider is the added price if you want to use a memory card with your flash player but one good aspect of using a memory card is that you can share your music with other mp3 players.

Hard-Disk MP3 Players

A hard-disk mp3 player is about the size of an adults palm and weighs about 4-6 ounces.  You can compare these to little bricks and some may not be portable, but will be found in Video Game Players and Home Theater Systems.  They usually hold about 1,000 to 40,000 songs depending on the hard-drive size.  Expect to pay more than $150 for a good hard-disk mp3 player.

Satellite Radios

Satellite radio players, made by XM Radio and Sirius, are pocket-sized and portable.  There are several models that let you have different capabilities when it comes to enjoying your own music or listening to live radio.  The radio station signals are broadcast by satellite and this allows you to listen to live programming from around world anytime you want.  Depending on the satellite radio model, you can plug it into your Home Theater System, your Car Radio, or if it is a stand alone player you can listen anywhere.  Some models even give you the capability to add your own MP3 files or record live radio so you can listen at your own convenience.  For live programming services you will have to pay a subscription based fee, but you will be able to listen to what you want without any commercials.

MP3 CD Players

The most common MP3 Player is the Flash-Drive and the Hard-Disk players, followed by the Satellite Radio because of the live radio programming and duel functions they provide.  However, do not dismiss the fact that many CD Players can also play MP3 audio files that are saved on disc.  To play MP3 audio files on a CD Player you will need to obtain software and a cd burner.  Most commonly, to create a MP3 CD you will use your computer for copying the MP3 files to the CD. 

Cellphone MP3 Players

In order to be competitive, many cellphone providers are including MP3 playing capabilities on some cellphone models.  The storage compacity may be lower than a pure mp3 player, but it will give you enough songs to satisfy a leisurely routine workout or a walk in the mall while you shop.  If you want more storage, most cellphones have a slot for a memory card, some require a memory card to play mp3s.  Sprint, Att, Verizon and some other providers let you download music over the wireless phone networks for a small fee. 


If you still need help with your shopping, you can find some similar mp3 players on sale and compare their prices online.

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