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Audio / Video Applications For Compressed Media Formats

If you're not sure how to download sound files, follow this link.

The audio and video featured at EarthStation1.com have all been encoded in a variety of the latest compressed formats. These include the RealAudio / RealVideo streaming media format, the latest Windows Media ("layer 3") wav format, the Microsoft or Apple IMA ADPCM wav format or the TrueSpeech streaming audio wav format.

With so many different sound formats, it can be difficult to know what software you might need to play a given file if you're one of the few whose system is not set up to play them. This page will make it possible for most of you to play such wavs (sorry Linux folks & AOL browser users!).

However, you can play *all* the audio AND video media at EarthStation1.com using the *new* Windows Media Player. Make sure you install it on your computer if you have not already done so. The program will install every wav codec currently in use, as explained below.

The Windows Media format (formerly known as the "Layer 3" wav format) utilizes a unique modification of mp3 technology, adapted for .wav playback. It offers compression rates of up to as high as 101:1 [utilizing certain techniques ;-)], offering much better compression than ADPCM wavs at comparable sampling rates and superior fidelity in most cases. To play and encode wavs in this format, you will need to install on to your system the Windows Media Player, Microsoft's latest audio/video media player which replaces both their standard media player and their NetShow (now called "Windows Media") layer 3 wav player. It will install the codec necessary for you to play all types of layer 3 wavs, while allowing you to encode wavs up to to 24kHz in sampling rate and 56 kbps in playback using this freeware version of the program. The program will also install every other wav codec in use today. The Windows Media wav format is the hottest & most promising new wav format, and you can expect more wavs on the net encoded in this format in the future. All wavs featured at EarthStation1.com can be played with this program.

ADPCM format wavs, in either the Microsoft or IMA formats, take 1/4 the time to upload & download and 1/4 the space on your hard drive as a comparable wav in the 16 bit PCM wav format, and 1/2 the time & space of a comparable 8 bit PCM format wav. The new Windows Media Player will play any wavs encoded in this format.

Mac users can play ADPCM wavs using the freeware SoundApp ver 2.2.3., the most capable Sound File Player/Helper App there is for Macintoshes. Use this in lieu of a plugin to listen to sound files on the internet.

Streaming RealAudio and RealVideo format files can stream audio and video realtime to your computer so that you can see or hear the file play immediately upon demand. To access them, you need to setup the *new* Windows Media Player onto your system. You can also encode streaming media in this format using the freeware RealEncoder.

The DSP Group's TrueSpeech wav format allows a wav to be heard while it downloads when it occurs via the World Wide Web. To hear such wavs during downloading, you must have the DSP Group's Freeware TrueSpeech Player embedded into your Web Browser. If you do not already have it, you will need to download the TrueSpeech Player in order to hear these wavs during downloading.

Downloading wavs is easy. Windows users need simply click the right button of your mouse as you place your pointer or cursor over the selection you wish to download and select the "save link as" option of your particular web browser's menu. If you use a Mac, click your mouse button over the selection and select the same "save links as" option of your browser (NOTE: RealAudio files are not downloadable.

To simply play wavs without downloading them, just double click on the selection with the left button of your mouse. This will launch the sound program your browser uses and play it when it's loaded the entire file. If, after having heard it, you decide that you want to keep it, you don't have to download it again - it's already on your hard drive! Just go to the temporary directory your browser uses (listed under "options") using File Manager, Windows Explorer or similar file managament program, and you'll find it, although it'll have a funny name (like "M1i5s89p.wav" or somesuch). Rename it to the same name that's listed on the page you downloaded it from, then move it to another directory BEFORE you close your browser (if you close it first, it'll kill the file!). If you're using a plug-in to listen to files with your browser, you can also right click over the plug-in & select "Save as", though sometimes this damages the file.

The above should get you up & running with playing & downloading these wavs. If after you try these methods you still can't play them, either your browser isn't able to access them (which problem has signifigantly lessened over time), or your sound card isn't able to play them, in which case there's little else to do other than obtaining a better one. You can be certain that all these media work, work well and properly. If nonetheless you continue to have problems or have any other questions regarding media formats, you can drop me a line.

J. C. Kaelin, Jr.
Webmaster & Digitizer

© 1996-2014, J. C. Kaelin, Jr.. All Rights Reserved.

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