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PlayOgg Frequently Asked Questions

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Apr 07, 2010 03:14 PM
Frequently asked questions about Ogg, Vorbis and Theora.

What is Ogg?

Ogg is professional-grade media format. Ogg Vorbis encodes audio and Ogg Theora encodes video. When you see a file with the Ogg extension—mediafile.ogg—Play it!

How do I use Ogg?

To access streaming Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora files you need a media player that understands these formats. Many different free software players work with Ogg. We like one called VLC Media Player. To download and install it, you can follow these instructions.

How can I help?

You can share your ideas for promoting Ogg by joining the campaign discussion mailing list — this is a second separate list from the main announcement one. You can also meet other PlayOgg supporters in our microblogging group on

Why use Ogg?

No Patent Restrictions!

Unlike MP3, Ogg Vorbis is not restricted by patents. Microsoft at one time was faced with a $1.5 billion jury verdict after being sued for using MP3 without a license. After a multi-year process, the verdict was overturned only when a judge determined that they had actually purchased a license. With a patent-free format like Ogg Vorbis, they could have avoided all that!

These patent lawsuits might never affect you directly, but they create a culture where creative and skilled individuals cannot develop multimedia software without fear of being legally attacked. Using Ogg is one way to support them in their efforts and to encourage a better culture.

Choose Free Software!

RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, iTunes, and other popular players require people to use non-free software: controlled by companies, not by the users. The companies that control the software design it to restrict the users and spy on them. If you choose Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora, you can listen to audio and stream video using many different media players, including free software that respects your freedom.

Nothing to Lose!

You don't lose any technical quality with Ogg Vorbis. It can compress down to a smaller size than MP3 while still sounding good. Best of all, it is designed to be completely free of patents and does not require the use of proprietary software.

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