Monday, January 12, 2009 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iTunes AAC Files

Erik Barzeski says that, although iTunes music is becoming DRM-free, the purchased AAC files are broken such that they won’t play on other systems like the Xbox 360 and Nokia N95 until they’ve been run through a program that fixes the position of the 'pinf' atom.


Is it really the files that are broken or is it the player on the Xbox that has a bug?

Is this a non-standard extension to the MP4 standard?

It seems to me that if Apple genuinely has broken the files, this is something that should be moaned about.

However if it as a case of extending the standard, then it seems less of an issue. Extensions to standards take far too long for consumer technology. It can not be expected that new products adhere strictly to standards as long as it does not violate them.

I cant seem to find any free documentation on these issues. Does anyone know where to look?

The AAC files play back fine on my PS3. I upgraded my library yesterday and was playing away streaming to the ps3 using media link from null river - not a problem. I suspect this might be a xbox bug.

It may be that the AAC playback implementation on the Xbox and N95 (etc.) are the "broken" bits, but either way, something's broken. Either Apple's not quite doing things right or the Xbox (etc.) aren't following the specs properly.

I don't think Michael or I are assigning any blame - just pointing out a problem and a possible solution.

Thomas, Nullriver's software transcodes, so it only matters that it plays back on your Mac, which of course it does.

I understand what you are saying, but your solution is really only useful for nerds. Mere mortals will just see it as broken. And that would be a shame.
Moaning to the correct entity about it being broken may prompt them to fix it and that would be a better solution.

Jon - we've "moaned" to Microsoft. They don't seem to care.

Apple says it's correct.

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