The main advantage of a computer audio player is that you can play your audio CDs and there is no longer any need to have a separate CD player. However the capabilities of the computer audio player go beyond just playing traditional music CDs. You can also play sound clips in one of the many audio formats found in the information technology industry today.
The MP3 format is a standard whereby a high rate of compression can be achieved on sound files allowing the ability to store large numbers of them on hard disk. Another advantage is when the computer audio player has ripping capability you can extract a sample clip from the sound track for internet posting or emailing.
Audio players in the form of portable MP3 players like Apple’s iPod are extremely advantageous due to their long battery life and capability to be carried practically anywhere.
Windows comes with Windows Media Player already installed. Realplayer is a free download as well. There are other free products such as Winamp (Windows only).
One important feature you want to look for when choosing an audio player beyond what is packaged with your operating system is the sound filtering capabilities. It should at least have a graphic equalizer where you can adjust for poor quality sound files. Look for other features like the ability to rip sound tracks and change the skins of the computer audio player.
Demand is driven by price and the free audio players like Windows Media Player will remain popular when it comes to playing audio on the computer. Where people are spending more of their money is on the portable MP3 players like Apple’s iPod. Apple makes a free computer audio player for the computer called iTunes and it is used to organize play lists and transfer sound files to the iPod player.
Typically, you download iTunes and install it on your computer and then you have an integrated environment to import different types of Podcasts and audio for exporting to the iPod player itself. Plus iTunes can be used as a standalone computer audio player. But more and more you will see the demand for mobile computer audio players to increase because of their convenience and portability.