Before you rush out and buy an MP3 player, you should first consider your options. The electronics market is flooded with digital audio and media players and identifying your needs (and budget) is a must. There is also a mind-boggling array of accessories for MP3 players that provide the user with added luxuries such as comfort, style, and extended functionality. That’s only half the story though. Before parting with your money, you should find out about the different digital music services that are available, what formats they use and ultimately what MP3 players work with them.
Digital Audio Players (DAPs) / Portable Media Players (PMPs)
If you want a portable just for music, then your best bet is a flash memory based MP3 player (DAP) -- some of these can be less than $50 and give good audio results. They tend to be basic models that have 1 - 4 GB of memory and sometimes have the odd extra feature thrown in, such as an FM radio, voice recorder,etc. If you want it all, then buying a PMP device will give you video and audio, but at a higher cost (unsurprisingly). PMPs have higher storage capacities (2GB +) because of their ability to handle video. PMPs come in two flavors, either flash memory based (like DAPs) or use high capacity hard drives for their storage.
There is an incredible variety of MP3 player accessories that you can choose from; Headphones, docking stations, FM transmitters, Wi-Fi, and Hi-Fi solutions are just some of the types of accessories that can expand the usefulness of your MP3 player.
Digital Music Services
Where you get your music from depends on what MP3 player you have. The iTunes store for example offers most of its downloads in the protected AAC format that only the iPod and iPhone can play. In contrast, Apple devices can’t play WMA files and so are incompatible with services like Napster.