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what is wma file

Discussion in 'Video - Software discussion' started by ceb59, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. ceb59

    ceb59 Guest

    what is this file wma, it want let me drop downloaded movies into nero, it say`s i need author to open this file. can anyone help on this topic.
  2. andmerr

    andmerr Guest

    heres some light reading for you but simply its a windows media audio format

    Question: I know MP3 files are music files, but can you tell me how they came to be, how to use them and where to get them?

    Answer: Here's a primer on digital music files on your computer. MP3 files are digital audio files and are most commonly used to store and playback music.

    But before we discuss further what these files are how to get them and how to listen to them perhaps it's worth discussing why they came to be in the first place.

    In the mid-1980s the recording industry changed the process in which they recorded music. They started recording music in digital format, instead of using an analog method.

    Digital music is quite literally songs recorded into a data file instead of to a tape.

    In music's pure digital form these files are very large, somewhere in the order of 10 megabytes of file size per minute of music. As you might imagine songs which run four to five minutes can be around 50 Mb in size.

    It made sense to use Compact Discs to distribute these files. The average Compact Disc can store 650 Mb of data or roughly 70 minutes of music which is ideal for albums.

    As digital music took hold, home computing also began to take off. By the early 1990s computers were coming equipped with CD-ROM drives that were capable of playing audio CDs.

    With the arrival of modems it became possible to transfer files from one computer to another. However, early modems were slow, so it was impractical to transfer huge audio files from one computer to another. For example, an average 50 Mb song would take over eight hours to move between computers using a 14.4 Kbps modem.

    Soon technology was developed to shrink large audio files into smaller files, so they could be more easily transferred. MP3 file technology was developed in Germany between 1987 and 1992 by the Fraunhofer Institute. It was quickly adopted through the mid-1990s and the era of MP3 music was born.

    Today an average five minute song stored in MP3 format is only five or six megabytes in size. Such a file can be transferred using a 56Kbps modem in 12 to 15 minutes rather than hours. (a fun calculator to figure out data transfer times can be found by clicking here)

    This is achieved because the data in the music file is compressed. In this process the file is made smaller by removing some audio data. Also repetitive patterns of data in a file can be removed temporarily and replaced by a tiny marker. When the song is played this marker is then pulled out and the original data pattern is put back in.

    While MP3 is the most used compressed digital file format, you may also encounter WMA files. This technology is also a digital audio file format. It was developed by Microsoft.

    Using these two file formats, music can be shrunk to a more manageable size without compromising a great amount of its sound quality.

    The main difference between the two is WMA files have the ability to program the file so it cannot be copied. This rights management feature allows the creator of the music to control how the music is consumed. It stops unlimited copying of the music file and enforces a scheme whereby they can be paid for their work.

    For more information on the history and specifics of WMA and MP3 check out this page: http://www.litexmedia.com/article/audio_formats.html

    So now you know where they came from and what they are. Now here's where you can get these files from:

    First, you should know that you can can create your own using your computer and special software, but let's leave that for a future column.

    Meanwhile, there are a variety of Web sites on the Internet where you can get MP3 and WMA files. Here's a list:

    File swapping services and peer-to-peer networks: These popular sites connect computers to each other so that they can trade digital music files. You connect your computer to the service via the Web as do thousands of others. All the digital audio files on your computer are index and listed on the service. Other people on the service can select the music and download them from your computer onto theirs, for free. You in turn can obtain music from their computers. However, finding files this way can violate artists' copyright. Sites that take this approach include:

    Free music sites: You can also legally obtain music in MP3 and WMA formats from some digital music sites. Some musicians offer some of their music for free download to promote themselves. Both unknowns and established artists do this. You can find these royalty-free files from such Web sites as:

    Pay sites: There are also sites which offer music that you can pay for. These sites collect royalties for the downloaded files and distribute them to the artists that created the music. These sites include

    Once you've downloaded an MP3 or WMA file you're going to want to play them on your computer.

    Most PCs with versions of Windows 98 through Windows XP already have that capability with Windows Media Player. (Click your Start button, then go to Programs, Accessories and Entertainment). Updates for Windows Media Player can be found on Microsoft.com, click here.

    However if you choose to look for other software that might offer more advanced features you might want to look at programs such as:

    Winamp: www.winamp.com
    also check out the book and CD:
    Ultraplayer: www.ultraplayer.com
    Sonique: www.sonique.com
    Musicmatch Jukebox: for Windows

    (By Andy Walker, Cyberwalker Media Syndicate,
    with files from Jonathan Walker)
    I eat ipod spammers for breakfasfast
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2004
  3. Veblin

    Veblin Active member

    Feb 27, 2003
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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2004

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