But consider this. Millions of mp3 players are sold every year (iPod has a big chunk of this business and have sold 120+ million to date). What you are seeing on this and other websites represents a relatively small chunk of that. People come to forums like this to ask for help, seek advice, and to complain. So that's mainly what you'll see. And unfortunately, a certain percentage of player will have problems. You will hear more iPod issues because there are so many more out there. But you can say the same thing for any product, electronic or not.
I've been buying mp3 players for nearly 6 years. I currently own 10 that range from simple/inexpensive to the fancy/expensive. One was a cheap freebie from work. I've never had any problems that have caused me anger and frustration. But I also started off simple and learned my way around mp3 players before moving on to something more complicated. And they're not really that complicated.
For me, listening to CDs are best done at home on a nice system or in the car if you have a cd changer or can play mp3 cds. Having an mp3 player is a convenience. I can carry a few hours worth of music or podcasts that I can clip to my shirt and then I'm off to the gym or a walk. If I want to carry more music and more types of music, I have something that fits in my pocket or purse. I can plug it into a speaker system at work and share my tunes with the office and take requests. If I want to watch tv shows, movies, and video podcasts I have a player for that.
You don't have to buy a fancy and expensive mp3 player, especially if you are new to it. Not everyone wants, needs, and can afford an iPod or similar player. If you're perfectly happy listening to cds, then you don't need one. But if you do want one, start off simple and inexpensive. Get one that simply plugs into your computer without a cable that you can put music on via drag and drop through Windows Explorer. I've got several like this that I've sat on and dropped numerous times and don't have accessories for.
If you want to get something fancier/complicated/more expensive, do your homework. I actually got myself a "Dummies" book. Look at reviews. Try to get a hands on. If you need software, get to know it. Many programs, such as Windows Media Player, iTunes, Zune software, and RealPlayer are freely available for download if you don't already have them on your computer. If you don't know this already, the default ripping setting for Windows Media Player is wma, so you may want to change that to mp3 (you don't have to). Also the default ripping setting for iTunes is AAC. You can also change that. If you get a high capacity hard drive based player, you may want an accessory to cushion it from falls or to keep it from falling (of course, keeping it in your pocket a fine idea and no extra accessory needed).
The one accessory I do recommend for almost every mp3 player out there is a pair of headphones. Almost all come with crappy headphones. An additional $30-$50 will get you something that is a lot better than the ones they come with. I actually have a few that I paid as little as $10 for. But I do a lot of experimentation and sound quality is subjective.
One more thing. If you buy downloads, I suggest that you buy mp3 only. Don't get anything with DRM that restricts what you can play them on and what you can do with them.
As I read through post after post throughout numerous websites regarding the frustrations associated with MP3 issues, complaints and problems, I have to wonder if having an MP3 player is worth all the trouble. I don't want my MP3 player to be the main reason for my need to meditate. I want my player to be a source of joy vs. anger, feelings of inadequacy and frustration.
At this point, as soon as you've parted with a good chunk of money for the player, many needed extra accessories too help protect the player or charge it aren't supplied. The screens are easily scratched so you need to buy a case. Don't accidently sit on them or they'll break. They won't easily convert WMA formats or they work one day and are dead the next for no known reason.
For 6 months now I've come close to laying down my money. But just as I'd decide on a player I'd read someone's frustrated cry for help regarding the one I'd just decide on.
Is it just me or does it seem that every manufacturer is playing some sick-o game with all of us vs. creating something that doesn't make us have to blog our brains out over it?
Let's review my choices again...I keep my $$$...have more spare time to do fun things with friends and family vs. screaming at a MP3 player or some mfgr's software glitches and play my CD's?
Your thoughts please.