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With the incredible amount of digital media content available today, it's nice to have a single device that will hold all your files and transfer them from your PC to your home entertainment system and back. It's also nice to have a portable player that does more than play MP3s. The latest generation of digital media players is great for gadget lovers. Today's players do all of the above.
Depending on your computer's hardware configuration and memory (as well as the type of player you decide on), you can do all sorts of things with digital media players. You can listen to your favorite MP3 songs on your stereo system or TV. You can look at your digital photos on your PC and turn them into slide shows for your TV, or listen to Internet radio stations from all over the world on your computer or stereo.
Most players allow you to record digital content on your PC and transfer it to your player. This includes digital photos, hours of music, recorded TV programs and videos. Then you can listen to music while watching your slide show. The portable players are handy for taking on walks, airplanes, or long car rides. You can catch up on your TV shows while you're waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting for the dryer to finish at the laundromat.
They hook up directly to your TV so you can play your content there, although the compression from the PC to the device might degrade the picture quality. Not all players work with all file types. You will need to look at the types of files you use most often and decide which ones you want your digital media player to handle. These may include MP3, MP4, AAC, WAV and WMA audio files, MPEG, AVI, MPEG 1/2/4, Xvid, QuickTime, and DivX video files, and JPEG, GIF, TIFF, JPEG2000, BMP and PNG images.