From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Developer(s)Fraunhofer IIS
Initial releaseSeptember 9, 1995; 28 years ago (1995-09-09)[citation needed]
Stable release
2.3 beta 5 / 23 May 1997; 26 years ago (1997-05-23)[1]
Written inC
Operating systemWindows 3.1/95/98/NT
Available inEnglish (German?)
TypeMedia player

WinPlay3 was the first real-time MP3 audio player for PCs running Windows,[2][3][4] both 16-bit (Windows 3.1) and 32-bit (Windows 95). Prior to this, audio compressed with MP3 had to be decompressed prior to listening. It was released by Fraunhofer IIS ("Institute for Integrated Circuits"),[5] creators of the MP3 format, on September 9, 1995.[6] The latest version was released on May 23, 1997.[1] Since then, the Fraunhofer Society has removed any trace and mention of WinPlay3 from their web sites. However, the software remains available by utilizing the Web Archive, or one of the links below.[2][7][8]

The program became popular thanks to the warez scene.[9] The first warez group to bring WinPlay3 to attention of a wider audience was Compress Da Audio. They released MP3 rips of CDs, with copies of WinPlay3 included, on several FTP-based warez sites. Rabid Neurosis emerged shortly afterwards, after which the scene exploded.[citation needed]

Until the release of Winamp in 1997, WinPlay3 was the sole option for playing MP3-compressed music on Microsoft Windows. Unlike modern audio programs, such as Winamp or iTunes, it lacked advanced features such as equalizers, or playlists as a menu option, and concentrated mostly on playback. A playlist can be created by hand, however, in a simple text file listing the system path to each MP3 and saving the file with an M3U extension. The m3u playlist support made it the first widely available media player application that offered a well-integrated streaming experience for the web user. Clicking a link on a webpage launched WinPlay3, which would start a stream of the mp3 listed in the m3u file.[10] The limitations were most likely due to the requirement of a 486DX processor running at 66 MHz for real-time playback, which at the time was fairly high.


  1. ^ a b Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (1999). "WinPlay3 / MPEG Layer-3 Player for Power Macintosh - Real-time MPEG Layer-3 Players". Archived from the original on 1999-04-24. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  2. ^ a b "1995: (...) In the same year, Fraunhofer provides a first PC based Layer 3 codec as shareware."—"The mp3 history". Fraunhofer IIS. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  3. ^ "WinPlay3". The Sonic Spot. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  4. ^ Zeller, Jürgen; Sieler, Martin. "Using ISO/MPEG Audio to provide Low and High Quality audio services in real-time". Erlangen Germany: Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. Archived from the original on 1997-07-04. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "All title and copyrights in and to the IIS WinPlay3 v2.3b5 software product are owned by: Fraunhofer Institut Integrierte Schaltungen, Am Weichselgarten 3, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany". IIS WinPlay3 v2.3b5 software product license agreement, a document displayed in the WinPlay3 installer window.
  6. ^ "ReallyRareWares - FHG IIS WinPlay3".
  7. ^ "Your search—winplay3 site:[...]—did not match any documents." Google searches: [1][2][3]. Retrieved on 2008-02-13.
  8. ^ The About window of the installed program contains this (outdated) URL.
  9. ^ "1996_DACMP3.nfo". Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  10. ^ Robinson, Dom (2017-06-20). "Chapter 4: Publishing". Content Delivery Networks: Fundamentals, Design, and Evolution. Wiley. pp. 138–139. doi:10.1002/9781119249924. ISBN 978-1-119-24988-7.

External links[edit]

  • FhG IIS WinPlay3 on Really Rare Wares (September 1995 through May 1997) (16- and 32-bit versions)