The sheer ubiquity of the mp3 format has done much to obscure its complicated origins and the licensing disputes that surround it. While the nerds know who makes OGG Vorbis, and even the general public knows that Apple makes AAC, neither camp is as quick to point out that is in fact Thomson that helps to oversee the mp3. Yet today, Thomson has popped back up on the radar with their announcement of the lossless and backwards-compatible MP3HD codec.
While services like Amazon have moved towards a noticeably superior 192Kbps bitrate, the average person’s collection has hovered (as per preference) around the passable 128Kbps mark. Mp3HD considerably ups the the ante by offering bitrates that approach 900Kbps.
The sharp increase in bitrate falls in line with what’s known as lossless compression, meaning bit-for-bit replication of the source material in a single file. An mp3HD track would represent every single bit and nuance of the CD it came from. This is opposed to lossy formats like OGG, AAC and MP3 that use fanciful algorithms to artfully disguise bass and treble reproduction that has been butchered in favor of smaller file sizes.
The format also brings generous backwards-compatability with mp3s by using the same .mp3 extension and id3 meta-data format. Thompson says this of HD’s merits: