Throughout history, the English language has evolved by adopting words that referred to something specific as referring to something broader. Kleenex isn’t just a brand anymore, it’s a product type. MP3, or rather MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 as it’s really called, has evolved from technically being a single format to a layman’s term for digital music in general. We all use the term MP3 player, as people would get confused if we said Digital Audio Player. MP4 on the other hand was never a video format at all, but rather a media container format. Yet, MP4 is now used by many as a term for video support. Even reputable companies advertise support for MP4, even though that says absolutely nothing about what the player can actually play. Chinese OEM manufacturers use the term even more loosely, applying it to players that can’t even handle any kind of format packaged in a MP4 container. The only thing that saves mainstream users from total confusion is the fact they don’t know why it’s wrong in the first place.
Unfortunately, the Chinese didn’t stop there. MP3 is good, but MP4 is better. Some simple extrapolation should then mean that MP5 players are better yet, right? But when the competitor has MP5 players, then the next thing is to develop a MP6 player. And an MP7 player. In fact, you can buy players that advertise support for everything from MP3 to MP10. Naturally MP10 must be the ultimate in entertainment ever created, at least that’s what the Chinese are trying to get people to think- and it’s working. I’ve heard people use the term MP5 player out in in the real world, and genuinely believed they got a MP5 player that hence must be very good. But what do they actually advertise when they advertise a player that supports everything up to MP10?
MP3 and MP4 is already covered, though the player I linked to with MP10 support actually does not support MP4. MP5 on the other hand, is a rather famous submachine gun produced by Heckler& Koch. I doubt very much the police would be happy if your media player doubled as a submachine gun, but that’s just me. mP6 is a little closer to reality, though since it’s a 12 year old microprocessor I wouldn’t exactly say it’s ground for bragging about. MP7 is yet another submachine gun by Heckler & Koch, and you gotta wonder how much firepower the Chinese think is really necessary to have in a media player. MP8 would be very interesting to see implemented in a media player, but considering it’s a rather expensive and big stage piano it’s more of a niche product. Back into the gun range we have the MP9 machine pistol, developed by Brügger & Thomet and based off the design of the TMP (which MW2 players should be familiar with). If your media player’s two main submachine guns should jam or run out of ammo, at least you’ll have a machine pistol as backup. Last, we have the MP10. I don’t really know what a “touch triggered inspection probe system with optical transmission for machining centres” is, but I’m pretty sure that it’s one feature that iPods don’t have.
So to recap, a player like this that would normally go for about $20 on Chinese sites not only has MP3 support and some sort of video support (though not technically MP4), it also has two submachine guns, a machine pistol, a stage piano, a 12 year old microprocessor and some sort of probe. When you see the prices of some players like the Sony X series you sometime start to wonder if the value for money aspect is completely gone in today’s society, but products like this once again bring hope to my heart.
Seriously though, this kind of product branding is getting ridiculous. As idiotic as it is to all of us who reads ABi, mainstream consumers have no idea what MP3 or MP4 really means and so don’t have any reservations against accepting MP5 or even MP10 as a better product. Hopefully people who do know it’s all a bunch of misleading marketing can help spread the word so we can stop this madness before MP50000 players start appearing as well.