Bill P. Godfrey et al

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A pox on media players!

It should have been such a simple activity. A friend had put together a video file and wanted me to see it. I asked for an MPEG file, as that was a conservative format which I know I can play.

Somewhere along the line, the file was saved as an MPEG-2 file. I didn't even realise there was such a thing. Nonetheless, it wouldn't play on any of the media players I had, Winamp, Windows Media Player or Quicktime.

Last time I tried Real Player, I was appalled at the abject user hostility. Someone at Real Networks thought that the "Real One Message Center" was a good idea. That person needs shooting. Its a popup advert box that shows up and annoys you, even when you are not even playing anything. Try and configure it away, and the only option for you is beg for it to annoy you less.

Quicktime wasn't so bad. It did litter a load of icons about the place, but that was easily cleared up. Even so, when I start the player up, I am occasionly asked upgrading to the "Pro" version. The choices offered are "Upgrade", "Why Pro" and "Ask me later". My actual answer of "No. Go away. Stop asking." is curiously not listed.

The only reason I have Quicktime at all is because I bought a digital camera that saved MOV files. Winamp couldn't play them, so I had to install it. Even since, whenever I click on a MP3 link within the firefox browser, Quicktime wants to play it, but click on a downloaded MP3 file and winamp plays it.

Really, I don't want all these different media players. If someone could just produce a single player with a consistent user interface that can play all the popular formats out there, takes security and bug fixes seriously, doesn't hassle me at every turn, won't play about with my file type associations without asking and won't install any bundled software like browser toolbars or such rubbish.

I would even pay for it.


  • As much as I hate signing up to the Bill Gates Fan club [ both a refreshing breeze maker and deterrent to would-be muggers ] , I find that the windows media player (version 9 - like that makes a difference) fulfills most of my media tomfoolery. [you should be able to play MPEG2 files in WMP - do you have the latest codecs ?]

    I agree with your annoyances though, I stopped using real a long while ago - although, to be honest, I was only using it so I could copy CDs to my PC and then make mixes I could listen to at work... and as soon as I found CDEX well.. the rest is history.

    Quicktime is my next prefered player - although I did shhhhh use a "posted" registration key to get rid of the "do you want to go pro" messages (why would I want to sell sex? I just want to watch this movie!).

    Real, I like the power - it has a nice implementation of SMIL, picture in picture, movie in movie. Very nice... the helix server [if they're still calling it that] could stream windows, quicktime, real and just about any other format you'd throw at it... But I've not really liked the format - with QT, you can stick it in WMP or Winamp [ I like my 2.something version and I'm not upgrading! ] once you have the codecs and Bob's your mother's brother. But Real has always been a pain. [Rumours say it was derived from the quicktime codecs, and then twisted like a juiced melon]

    Anyway, use WMP. It's free, you don't have to have it bundled with the OS - but try buying the OS without it! And ... did I mention, it's free? Oh, it doesn't bug you to sell sex, or get some gold account. Okay, BGFC , but WTF. It works, and M$ is being sued by everyone and their dog so who cares in the long run?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:01 PM, June 24, 2005  

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