1. sauce_a_poutine's Avatar
    Entertainement Media. The "why" and motives of how you use it.

    How and why I use media the way I do..

    Over the years, software players have come and gone, and though many have been good, they've all had a few problems. Many players use playlists and song classification by type of music, album or artist to avoid duplicate files when organizing music . This is a holdover from a time when both storage and bandwidth was expensive/slow. The fast uptake of this sorting system was propelled by a decade of furious peer-to-peer music piracy, the advent of small footprint lossy codecs and ID tags.

    Disorganized mass downloading using P2P favored this solution's development, and it took over the world. From then on, many devs overlooked the needs of the audiophiles who stilled paid for hard copy when coding media players; By then, player software was all about being "cool" and MP3 oriented with fancy visuals to accompany music playback. People became accustomed to lame-sounding 192Kbps MP3 files, using a still buggy ID tag system, and support for folder view/browsing all but disappeared from most media players.

    While that happened, a breed of hardcore sound quality enthusiasts tried to get around the difficulties of using FLAC, APE and other lossless CODECs to work decently on our favored players. FLAC (Ditto for MKV video) has come of age only very recently, and though it is now mature enough to be supported by many players and devices, until recently, FLAC and MKV use was a lot of trouble.

    Software allowing to rip out our music's WAV files, as-is, and copy it to disc started to proliferate as open source coders started to get better at Windows apps. Sourceforge apps, amongst other sources, got us rid of the problem in one fell swoop. We could now rip our CDs and keep the original format, and it was now easier than all the previously tedious tinkering with Windows' copy-preventing CDA shortcut system when reading CDs. The interim "get around bad Flac support" solution is one to which many, such as I, still cling.

    Music playback software, in it's infancy, did not have tag support, nor did the file types. In it's original WAV form, music Album art and file info are not supported. Thus, one learned to make do, and organized titles manually, using folders. Once the old DOS 8.3 Filename convention got thrown out with the advent of Windows 95, we started using folders with (Artist - Album title), and using (Track #, Song title, Artist, Album) for the music files themselves. Whether on PC or transfered to other devices, like a portable music player, this solution pretty much bypassed the need for playlists, and worked everywhere, on all systems. The best part of that, is that it still does. The only "con" to this solution was that you need to duplicate your files over many folders when you make compilation folders or have albums containing the same title.

    This may seem weird to many, specially to the younger people who have not dealt with the infancy of music on computers....But those who learned to use/still use the folder and file nomenclature system, know it saves them from relying on the arguably broken "music type" or "per album" classifications system as defined by music databases and used by most media players. Using the folder and file nomenclature system makes searching for titles natural, using the proven and time honored traditional system: Alphabetical classification.

    Time warp.

    I'm clinging to these old ways, and here's why: Music DBs are still broken (Metallica = Jazz... Really ? ABBA = Rock ... Gimme a break. !..). Flac is still not supported by many devices, amongst these, many car radios with USB stick music support. Storage is dirt cheap, and WAV is the one lossless format supported by every device out there. Using a JPG of the album art called "Folder.jpg" inside it's respective folder typically makes the album art work show up properly on almost all device/software supporting album art.

    If it works, don't "Fix it." The "folder and file nomenclature" is a bit more work to setup, but once it is done, nothing comes close to it for usability and simplicity.

    Current way I'm doing things.

    I still buy all my music on hard copy. Though I rarely use the CDs once they are uploaded to my home's SMB network, CDs are the best backup one can have. On top of that, having 400 CDs standing by the stereo is a bit of a statement these days. "Yes, I'm an audiophile, and I pay for my tunes".

    On my phone:

    I use VLC for video/audio over MHL (Playstore link).

    I use Neutron player for audio over MHL, BlueTooth and the 3.5mm Jack. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.neutroncode.mpeval&hl=en).

    On PC:

    I use Microsoft's oh-so un-cool Media player with the "JAWs CODEC pack" for all audio, and VLC for all video, except BlueRay disc, which I read using WinDVD Pro 11.(Vaio laptop with BD player onboard)

    On the stereo and AV receiver:

    Though I sometimes use my PC or phone, but I typically use my streamers. I have two WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center for just about everything, including both Hi-Def audio and video. For BluRay discs, I use one of two BluRay players; the Sony BDP-S5100 or the Samsung BD-P1600 for the few titles the Sony can't handle, Like THX 1138,

    Factors and perceptions which influenced my way of doing things.

    - By now, you've probably figured out that I'm old enough to have used computers with green monochromatic CRTs. I saw the birth of Pong, Pacman, the first IBM PCs, Apple computers et Al. Of course, hard drives and computer sound cards also.Younger people might not understand wanting to own, and use physical disc media, and many might find it "old" and "passť", but there's still a definite sense of satisfaction to owning an original physical CD DVD, BluRay or record.

    - Having hard copy of my favorite media is important to me. It's an almost foolproof backup, and speaks to people about my love and dedication to music.

    - I still listen to vinyl records on a regular basis. If I have, and still bother with vinyl records, why should accept anything less than CD quality for digital content ? MP3s and MP4s just don't measure up.

    - I use many different streaming/playback devices to access media on kept on SMB storage. Media stored using the "Folder and file nomenclature" makes it natural for anyone to find stuff on this system.

    - SMB sports fine grain user/password folder and sub/folder access control, and most devices support streaming from SMB storage, rendering DLNA somewhat redundant.

    - Why am i still using (oh, shame...) Window Media player ? Simple: Winamp's volume control changed the "master" volume on a Windows PC, and WMP's music volume didn't, so system sounds still played at an audible level when you lowered the music volume. On top of that, to have Winamp support all codecs and functions, you had to pay, whilst WMP was "free", and worked well.

    - Local, and lossless seriously trumps cloudy and lossy for both availability and sound/video quality. I can carry my physical media places where connectivity is a problem, but "Drop box", "Spotify" and friends won't install connectivity for me to access my data in rough spots; they're not in that business, and don't give a **** about my connectivity.

    - Streaming is a nice tech, and Youtube-like services are wonderful. I can understand to lure and convenience of going stream-only, but these services have limitations. Using it is one thing, but relying on it as sole media purveyor that's another thing. I sometime forgo quality and use online stuff like Youtube, but can't rely on these 100% of the time.


    This post was meant to be just an answer to a "need player" type of question on a thread, but it seemed to have evolved into something else. Sort of a "personal view and choice of media players and formats through it's perceived history and functionality". It's not meant to patronize, force a view of things or to denigrate any particular pattern or choice of media consumption option. It is merely a reflection of my personal choices and reasons. As flawed as it may be to some, or downright dusty and "passť" to others, it is just the way I do things with media.

    Your turn.

    What's your media consumption pattern ? Why and how did you end up doing things the way you do ?
    mrsmumbles likes this.
    12-25-2013 01:49 PM

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