Jan 14 2006
I’ve been subscribing to more and more podcasts, as I like it to listen to radio shows when it’s convenient for me: in the subway, when I run, in a plane, etc.
However, I discovered in the past week a weird problem: the duration of some podcasts is very short. I have some that last 7 seconds, others that last 20 seconds. And this despite the MP3 being its normal size. 20 seconds for a 50MB MP3, that’s suspicious!
An example of this is La Revue de Presse de France Inter. The MP3 file 7.3MB, iTunes says it lasts 7 seconds, so does my iPod, and only plays those 7 seconds. This same MP3 played by RealPlayer, MPlayer, VLC, QuickTime, lasts 7:54. I have a similar issue with the RTL Podcasts.
Having a closer look at the faulty MP3s, they seem to have an introduction music, and then the show. And the length advertized by iTunes and the iPod is the length of this introduction. I’m wondering if the MP3 specification has an end-of-file marker, and whether those podcasts are just the concatenation of the introduction MP3 and the show recording. As I could not find the specification despite following links from the Wikipedia MP3 page, I am making a lot of guesses here.
However, I tried a few more players (Creative Muvo V200, mpg321, etc.): none of them complains about the format of this MP3, for example, and they all, except iTunes and the iPod, play it in its entirety. MP3 Checker calls the MP3
good, and doesn’t report any error, though I don’t know how reliable this tool is.
I’m wondering if this isn’t a result of the update to iTunes 6.0.2 and of the iPod firmware 3.1.1 I did a few days ago.
Assuming that this isn’t a problem I’m the only one to see (though a number of searches on the Web didn’t confirm this), somebody who can actually do something to fix this will notice the problem. Or so I hope.
Update (2006-01-17): RTL‘s Webmaster wrote to me and told me that it was indeed due to the new version of iTunes, and that the new editions of RTL’s podcasts would not have this problem anymore. Cool!