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MP3 codec retired, licensing program ends

by Mark Tyson on 15 May 2017, 12:01

Tags: Fraunhofer, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

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Germany's Fraunhofer IIS and Technicolor software have issued a statement regarding the MP3 codec. Late last month patents and software support for MP3 officially came to an end. In a note about the retiring of the MP3 codec, Fraunhofer IIS said that although the MP3 format is still popular today there are several more featureful and more efficient codecs available which are now a better choice.

MP3 development started back in the late 1980s and became the defacto portable/web audio format by the late 90s. It famously facilitated the rise of Napster and mass online music sharing, changing the music industry forever. Without the impact of MP3 on the music and tech industry we might never have witnessed a reenergised Apple release its iconic mobile devices; breaking the ice with the iPod, following through with the iPhone and iPad.

Now it's 2017 and many people still listen to, download and even create new MP3s for their portable listening pleasure. However the MP3 codec is less featured and less efficient than many a rival codec available to those encoding music nowadays.

In its news post noting the termination of patents and software support for MP3, Fraunhofer thanks licenses for the past two decades of support. It goes on to suggest state-of-the-art media services, such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting, "use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H". Popular modern codecs offer features such as many more channels, and greater encoding efficiency delivering better quality audio at smaller file sizes. With reference to AAC in particular, licenses or payments have never been required to be able to stream or distribute content in AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format.



HEXUS Forums :: 27 Comments

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Makes sense to use other, more efficient codecs. Saying that 99% of my music and what I download from bandcamp is mp3 320. Is ACC as universal and as well supported on devices?
Wowzers, quite surprised by this.
shaithis
Wowzers, quite surprised by this.

Same here, I'm quite fond of VBR V0. Plays on ANYTHING.
chj
Makes sense to use other, more efficient codecs. Saying that 99% of my music and what I download from bandcamp is mp3 320. Is ACC as universal and as well supported on devices?

not on windows media player that's for sure!
With the death of MP3 patents it's finally free to use it for encoding (previously it was only free for decoding). It's nice to have a completely free format. I looked at some of the patents, and they seem to imply that it's possible to store many channels in an MP3 (although that many not be compatible with players, I haven't researched it further). Far as quality is concerned, given the amount of storage space and bandwidth available these days, I don't think that using a less efficient audio codec is a big issue.

bledd
I'm quite fond of VBR V0. Plays on ANYTHING.


My car audio system plays VBR but won't keep the right place in it (when turning off and on), so I convert audiobooks to CBR.