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Chapter 2. Preparing Yourself > Finding the Format That Fits

Finding the Format That Fits

Each format has advantages and drawbacks. (See Chapter 1, “Introduction to Streaming Audio,” for more information.) These factors include cost, ease-of-use, reliability, scalability (how many different ways you can encode), and the way they can work with other technologies. If you want to reach as many people as possible, consider providing multiple formats. In this way, listeners can choose what works best for them.

Operating System Performance

Anyone who has struggled with making Internet applications work properly knows that some formats perform better on certain operating systems than others. This is particularly noticeable for platforms created by the big players who also create operating systems. Microsoft’s Windows Media provides the best experience for Windows users, whereas Apple’s QuickTime is measurably more stable on MacOS. OS-independent formats RealMedia and MP3 used to favor Windows because of Microsoft market share dominance. With Apple’s Phoenix-like rise from the ashes, RealMedia and MP3 performance on both operating systems has pretty much evened out. With increased consumer demand for Macintosh versions of the tools, companies have dedicated more resources to programming them efficiently on the Macintosh.


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