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Multimedia Players.. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Multimedia Players.. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Anyone who has read my blog knows my feelings regarding Microsoft and that one paradigm for me is the 100% Microsoft PC from OS to software.
That said, there are sometimes applications that need to be on your PC; one example of this is the field of Multimedia. Why? Because like anything else business is generated by competition and in the field of Computers that is done with proprietary file formats.
As time has progressed we have seen the advent of a greater number of formats (ASF, WMV, MPG, MPEG4, RM, RAM, AVI and so on) the list is almost infinite and this doesn’t even factor in the number of different codecs that hide under various formats.
The three main contenders in the field seem to be Windows Media Player, Quicktime and Real Player. Each on installation tries to encourage you to default as many file formats to them as possible. Each has a component that sits silently in your processes even when unused (from Startup) and eats one more bite of your CPU and RAM (what doesn’t though?). Todays’ current versions of each are slick, well designed, stable and feel and look good. Each allows the user access to a variety of tools and functions beyond simply viewing local media.
I tend to default to using Windows Media Player first for most things but probably the best look and feel goes to Quicktime which integrates nicely with their website. If you love watching trailers of coming movies then I recommend Quicktime .
Quicktime also offers me one more nice feature. This summer I traded up my cellular phone for one with a video camera. Having migrated the videos of my son, Eitan to my PC I discovered the need to install yet another player to support this format *.3GP and yes the player comes on the Nokia CD with the phone.
Even more complicated was explaining to family how to view these videos as I have yet to find a tool to convert *.3GP to MPG or AVI. I decided to try playing the videos with each player and see what happended and to my delight Quicktime played them flawlessly.
So each does something the other doesn’t, each is stable and each sits on my computer but hey, competition is healthy even when it eats a little disk space.
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