Digital Hard Drive Music Players and Multimedia Storage Viewers
Digital music players, also referred to as hard drive players or portable audio players, are mp3 players that use a portable hard drive on which to store files. Hard drive capacities these days can be anything from 10 GB up to 100 GB and more - big enough to store not only your entire music collection, but also photos and videos, if the player you have bought offers these features.
Although iPod is the best known name in the digital music player market, launching the second generation iPods in 2002 which had capacities of 10 and 20 GB respectively, there are now many more manufacturers on the market, including Creatjve (check out the Creative Zen Vision:M), Philips, Sony, iRiver, Toshiba, Epson, Vosonic and others.
- iPods including 3rd generation, 4th generation, shuffle, nano, photo and video, together with loads of accessories such as speaker docks and systems, cases and skins, the Griffin iTrip FM transmitter and ac chargers.
The Apple iPod is now in its fifth generation, and these models offer music and video playback, photo slideshows and storage. However, the iPods are currently not compatible with the WMA format (Microsoft's proprietary music file compression system) and not compatible with Windows Media Player. The only movie files the iPod is compatible with have the extensions .m4v, .mp4 and .mov, which is inadequate for PC users needing to play files with different extensions. However, convertors are available - see Videora iPod Video Convertor if you need to convert your videos.
If you really want to be able to play video in addition to audio files, then the Creative Zen Vision:M is a good option. It plays the compressed video formats DivX and XviD, in addition to being compatible with Windows Media Player. It will store photos, has a voice recorder and even an FM radio. However, it is bulkier and less sexy than the iPod.
Features to compare when choosing a portable audio player
Reviewing every audio player on the market today is beyond the scope of this article. In addition, technology moves on quickly so it would quickly become outdated. So... here is a list of questions to ask about the players you are interested in, so you can make an informed choice.
The following acronyms, abbreviations and features are used in relation to digital music players: