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Everything You Need to Know About the Ogg File Format

Everything You Need to Know About the Ogg File Format

A container or wrapper format defines the way in which audio, video, and metadata exist together in a computer-based file. The 'Ogg' file format is one such well-known free format available, which is designed mainly for quick streaming of high-quality multimedia files.
Prachi Patkar
Did You Know?
Ogg file format is very beneficial to artists (streaming or selling music) or developers (selling games), as they don't have to pay any license fees to Vorbis.

The main feature of Ogg container format is streaming and manipulation of video/audio files. Ogging means doing something forcefully without considering the fact that resources would be drained. The data in an Ogg file is stored in pages. Each page is called 'Ogg page', and starts with the characters 'OggS'.

Developer Xiph.Org Foundation
Type of File Type of File
File Extension .ogg, .ogm, .ogx, .ogv, .opus, .spx, .oga
Primary Association Audio files
Internet Media Type application/ogg, audio/ogg, video/ogg

Ogg Vorbis
Vorbis is the encoding scheme used for files with this format. This compression technology has been developed by Xiph.org. It follows the lossy compression technique. That is, this algorithm discards data for better compression to occur. Besides Vorbis, there are a few other formats such as Speex, FLAC, etc., which can be embedded in the Ogg container.

How to Open an Ogg File
Winamp
  1. Download and install Winamp software.
  2. Click on Playlist button. This will open the playlist window.
  3. Click and drag the desired Ogg format file into the playlist window.
  4. Click on Play button. It will play the file.
VLC
  1. Download and install VLC player software.
  2. Click on View button ► Playlist. This will open the playlist window.
  3. Click and drag the desired Ogg format file into the playlist window.
  4. Click on Play button. It will play the file.
Windows Media Player
Download and install 'Ogg Directshow Codec' from Vorbis website (in case it is not previously installed).
  1. Download and install WMP software.
  2. Click on Library ► Create Playlist. This will open the playlist window.
  3. Click and drag the desired Ogg format file into the playlist window.
  4. Click on Play button. It will play the file.
Quality settings: Quality settings range from a scale from -1 to 10, with -1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. The default quality level is 3.

Advantages of Ogg File Format
  • Quality: It provides for very good compression while maintaining the quality of multimedia files. An Ogg file compared to an mp3 file (at the same bit rate) has a better sound quality. Even at a lower bit rate than other formats, Ogg renders superior quality files.
  • Free of Cost: It is open-source and license-free, which makes it very ideal for those wanting to use free formats for streaming or selling music. Its effective compression technique via Vorbis contributes in cutting down bandwidth usage costs.
  • Smaller File Size: Vorbis compression technique creates a file with comparatively smaller size, and better as compared to other formats.
  • Comment Header: It contains a header where comments about the audio file can be written. This information helps a user with the information about the file.
Disadvantages of Ogg File Format
  • Hardware Support and Compatibility: It provides limited support for many types of hardware. Older versions of Nero cannot burn these files. Many players do not support this format, and thus, cannot play these files.
  • Lossy Compression: It follows the lossy technique of discarding some data, such that, the output file is not as good as the original in the quest for better compression.
Ogg format is such that it can replace all other patented formats. One can rely completely on this format for encoding audio content without having to worry about sound quality, storage space for file, bandwidth, or compatibility. However, due to the lossy compression technique, it is practically impossible to get a replica of the original file. In cases where lossless compression is desired, algorithms like FLAC could be used.