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Title: WinPlay3  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: L3enc, Windows media players, MP3, Windows-only freeware
Collection: Windows Media Players, Windows-Only Freeware
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Developer(s) Fraunhofer IIS
Initial release September 9, 1995 (1995-09-09)
Stable release 2.3 beta 5 / 23 May 1997 (1997-05-23)[1]
Written in C
Operating system Windows 3.1/95/98/NT
Available in English (German?)
Type Media player
License freeware
Website [2]

WinPlay3 was the first real-time MP3 audio player for PCs running Windows,[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 below links.[3][7][8]

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

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 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.

External links

  • (September 1995 through May 1997) (16- and 32-bit versions) (archived August 18, 2004)
  • (contains the 16- and 32-bit installer for the final 2.3 Beta 5 version)


  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. ^
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "WinPlay3". The Sonic Spot. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  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. ^ |url= |
  7. ^ "Your search—winplay3 site:[...]—did not match any documents." Google searches: [4][5][6]. Retrieved on 2008-02-13.
  8. ^ The About window of the installed program contains this (outdated) URL.
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