May
18
2009

Who invented the MP3 Player

MP3 players are different in some ways to portable music players, and shouldn’t be confused. Before the mp3 technology existed it was still possible to have digital audio files stored on portable players, but the invention of the mp3 standard paved the way for a great volume of music to be stored on a single small device, typically each mp3 is about 8 times smaller than the original uncompressed file.

Music compression had been a holy grail of digital audio for many years, and in 1987 the Fraunhofer Institut from Germany started researching a compressed form of audio that could be used for digital TV broadcast, and in 1991 the company finally succeeded in inventing audio music in compressed form. MP3 is an acronym of MPEG Audio Layer III, and the MPEG part means Motion Pictures Expert Group.

karl heinz brandenburg Who invented the MP3 Player

The patent for the mp3 compression format names Karl-Heinz Brandenburg, Ernst Eberlein, Bernhard Grill, Bernd Kurten, and Thomas Sporer as the inventors of mp3, though Brandenburg had been researching a method of compressing digital audio since 1977 so is usually considered the most influential of the group who invented mp3.

For several years the mp3 format was used only in research institutes and amongst musicians who needed a compressed format for storing music compositions.By the middle of the 1990s home users were encoding music and swapping albums over the Internet, and by 1998 the Winamp player for Windows had been invented.

In the summer of 1998 a solid state mp3 player with a 32mb storage chip made by Saehan of South Korea, and marketed as the Eiger Labs MPMan, was the very first mp3 player to be sold. It wasn’t well received because it was limited to 32mb and could only be upgraded by sending the device back to Saehan.

mp3 player Who invented the MP3 Player

A few months later Diamond Multimedia started shipping a much smarter looking mp3 player they called the Rio PMP300 which also shipped with 32mb but could be expanded using SmartMedia cards allowing users to buy several cards and fill them with music. The Rio PMP300 was only available for a few weeks before the RIAA forced Diamond to suspend sales pending a decision by the Central District Court of California.

On October 26th 1998 Judge Andrea Collins denied the claim by the RIAA that the Rio PMP300 breached the Audio Home Recording Act, allowing Diamond to resume sales, and by the middle of 1999 over 200,000 units had been sold.

Check also who invented the iPod.

About the Author:

Sam Reese is a web enthusiasts and blogger. He is a history student and loves to write and read histories of different things.

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