IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding multimedia terminology
Exploring the Linux multimedia stack
Playing, ripping, and burning CDs and DVDs
Working with audio files and Internet radio
MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AAC, APE—this may look like a blast from a shotgun loaded with three-letter acronyms (TLAs), but it's really a list of the most popular formats for digital audio nowadays. The same is true of digital video, where acronyms such as MPG, MPEG, and VOB are king. There are also some really ugly acronyms such as MPAA and RIAA, which stand for groups of self-interested thugs trying to deny the rights of the consumer, but we won't go into that here.
The great thing about digital audio and video is that you no longer need specialized devices to play your music or watch a movie. You can listen to a music CD or play a video CD or DVD on your computer. Once you buy a CD or DVD, it should be completely legal for you to transfer its contents to your computer and listen to it or watch it there. This eliminates the need to carry around the original media, and you can safely leave them behind at home as backups in case your computer crashes. Digital Rights Management (DRM, also known as "ripping off the consumer") may prevent you from doing that, but the possibility exists unless it's actively subverted by the manufacturer of your CD or DVD.
This chapter helps you make some sense out of the maze of acronyms, general terminology, and specialized jargon that ...