OGG Vorbis RC3 Released for Linux and Windows.

By Robert Menta- 01/01/02

In our Winners and Losers list for 2001 we listed the Ogg Vorbis digital codec as a product to watch for the 2002 lists, predicting it to be a watershed year for the open source format. With the start of the new year the long awaited RC3 release of the Vorbis codec is out.

With significant improvements over the RC2 version, the most compelling are the format's bitrate management features. This includes a new management engine, which can emulate CBR (Constant Bit Rate), which is useful for streaming. Vorbis uses VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoding, where depending on the complexity of the audio file the encoder automatically allocates an appropriate amount of data per second allowing for the highest quality at the lowest file sizes. Still, despite the improved quality offered by VBR, there are times when managed bitrates are desirable.

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Several games manufacturers have already adopted Ogg Vorbis to handle gaming audio including Papyrus Racing Games and Pyrogon. The BBC is also testing Ogg Vorbis for its streaming ability, already offering streams of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. Because there are no licensing fees like with the MP3 and Windows Media format, Ogg Vorbis hopes to see significant adoption by software and Web developers this year.

RC3 is presently available for Linux/Unix and Windows and can be downloaded here. This includes plug-ins for Winamp, Sonique, and FreeAMP as well as Oggdrop, a drag and drop GUI encoder and vorbis-tools, which offers command line utilities including oggenc, ogginfo, vorbiscomment, and vcut.

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Other Stories:
MP3 2001 in Review: The Winners
MP3 2001 in Review: The Losers
Review: IBM's 1GB Microdrive


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