Music Compression

In the very early days of the digital music revolution, cries of "I want my MTV!" could be heard. This century, they have been replaced by an even more widespread sentiment of "I want my MP3!"
iPod Nano Short for the unwieldy term MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, MP3 is a format that allows for the compression of high-quality digital music files by a factor of 10 or more. The upside is that a 30-megabyte CD quality song, once run through MP3, can become a much more portable and easily transferable 3-MB or smaller item. The downside is that in the process, some of the outer-edge audio quality is lost, leading High-Fidelity buffs to grumble about MP3 being "lossy."

But the wonderful world of HD has changed all that. For starters, there is now a new compression format, MP3HD, which – along with the standard old MP3 song – separately stores the previously lost portions of the audio track. The beauty of this new format is that, until you have it outputting to an HDTV or playing on an HD-enabled MP3 player, it will simply key onto the old MP3 song. A great majority of today's HDTVs and home theater systems come with USB ports and/or wireless capabilities that can accommodate iPods, iPhones, MP3 players and SmartPhones.

In conjunction with the MP3HD format, there are free, downloadable playback plug-ins as well as software toolkits available for Windows and other computer operating systems, which allow you to convert your standard MP3 files. These can be found at the must-bookmark website All4MP3.com, which was created by Technicolor, together with a German co-originator of the original MP3 format. The only negative to MP3HD is that the file sizes are closer to those of standard CD quality recordings, so a great amount of storage space on your device(s) is needed.
For the past four years, Samsung has been the top-ranked U.S. seller of high-definition televisions , so it's no surprise that in a March 5th, 2010 ranking of top HDTV models, CNET picked the company's UNB8500 and PNB850/860 series as the top two models. Another way to minimize the lossy-ness of MP3 is to align your HDTV to play MP3 Surround, which allows for multi-channel (5.1) surround-quality sound. Like every other enhancement to the original MP3 format, which became a de facto standard in 1993, the MP3 Surround option is a “backwards compatible” one, which means it works fluidly with any library of standard MP3 files.

In a separate February 10th write-up listing the top MP3 player models for 2010, Digital Trends chose the 8 GB Apple iPod Nano, which actually offers up to 16 gigs of storage capability. So that device, for example, or the 16 GB Microsoft Zune HD, both yield enough storage capability to work effectively with the MP3HD format. As if all this weren't enough, there are two more ways to guard against the loss of music compression sound quality when relaxing in a home theater environment. The easy-to-use and adjusted MP3HD is designed to enhance surround sound quality when listening to music on headphones, while MP3SX (MP3 Stereo Extended) upgrades standard MP3 files from stereo, to surround sound.

This brings us to the Samsung Ice Touch, the world's first MP3HD player. Unveiled at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it will be available a little later this year. It features 5.1 channel sound enhancement technology, supports both MP3 and MP3HD files, and even has an algorithm that constantly analyzes the song playing, so as to adjust audio levels to reflect a producer’s intended sound.