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Audible.com Introduces Download and Streaming Options

Audible, Inc. Tuesday introduced three audio file formats for listening to the extensive collection of spoken word audio from its Web site.

The new formats, or codecs, are designed to provide customers with significantly improved sound quality options while continuing to be easy to use for audio downloads and streaming. Each of the three codecs is optimized to play high-quality downloaded audio on AudibleReady mobile audio players and personal computers, as well as for streaming audio titles with RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.

Audible's original download codec will continue to be offered. All four codecs are capable of playing spoken audio content at a personal computer using the AudibleManager desktop software, which helps manage audio downloads and both desktop and mobile listening.

"With these new options that allow the listener to personalize the Audible experience based on the speed of their Internet connection and the user's choice of AudibleReady portable digital players, Audible has advanced our leading market position to create the best environment for accessing premium, secure spoken word audio," commented Thomas Baxter, president and chief executive officer, Audible, Inc.

"Our mission is to continually improve the Audible service with enhancements to our customer support, infrastructure and the overall listening experience," Baxter added. "The highest quality audible.com codec will be especially advantageous to those with high-speed data lines who use the Diamond Rio 500 digital audio player."

The three new codecs are: ACELP.net 8.5 (kbps) for a smaller file size and quicker download, ACELP.net 16 (kpbs) for broader band downloads and MP3 32 (kbps) for the highest fidelity sound and largest file size. The two new ACELP.net codecs provide AudibleReady Pocket PC users with the ability to increase the sound quality of spoken audio content purchased from audible.com.

The ACELP.net codecs are developed by Montreal-based VoiceAge Corporation, which specializes in the development, integration and commercial marketing of applications and products that require the digital processing of voice or audio.

In a separate announcement, the company revealed it will be carrying a new array of National Public Radio programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation.

In addition to NPR audio, the company now offers radio programming from award-winning audio documentarians featuring production sound quality better suited to the new higher quality codecs. These include recently named MacArthur Foundation fellow David Isay, Peabody Award-winner Jay Allison, and Tony Kahn and Joe Richman, whose independent audio productions are frequently heard on public radio stations across the United States.