What is an Ots file?

The Ots Media File format was first developed in 1997, and is now used by many thousands of people around the world. The format was conceived and designed with music play-out systems in mind. Ots Media Files are known as Ots Album files or Ots files for short. An Ots file allows many different data types, such as audio data, video data, CD+G data, title/artist information, copyright information, genre, album cover graphics, mix point information, etc, to be encapsulated in a single file. In addition, an Ots file is not limited to a single track/song, but rather an entire album (or a lot more) can be contained. These capabilities make Ots files ideal for encapsulating an entire musical work of art, such as a CD, including all information -- not just the raw audio. Some of the data types that Ots files cater to allow DJ or recreational music play-out systems, like OtsAV, to perform powerful functionality not found when using standard files, such as raw MP3 files.

The development of the Ots file format was necessary for two major reasons: there is no standard or efficient manner of storing the additional data types that the new generation of audio application requires, and MP3 is a streaming format and was never designed as a file format.


Ots file structure

An Ots file is a collection of chunks. A chunk is essentially a block of data, with each chunk being of a pre-defined type. For example, a chunk of type audio data stores an actual audio waveform, which can obviously be played back. There are many chunk types, and many more are being defined all the time. The basic design of an Ots file allows for expansion in many areas without breaking compatibility with existing software that uses Ots files.

An Ots file also consists of one or more items. An item is a logical group of chunks. For example, item 3 of an Ots file might consist of all chunks which make up track 3 from a given CD. An Ots file can contain up to 65,000 items, though you probably won't normally encounter more than about 100.

If a chunk belongs to a specific item, then it is known as an explicit chunk. There are also global chunks, and default chunks. A global chunk is not directly related to a specific item, but rather is relevant to the collection as a whole. Good examples of global chunks are the album title and album cover chunks.

A default (or probably better described as item default) chunk is one which does directly apply to items, but not so much to one item, as it does to many. For example, if the artist of all or most items in an album is the same, then you would use a default artist chunk to represent this, rather than specifying the same information many times directly for each item, which would be inefficient. When a program wants to know the artist for a given item in an Ots file, it simply asks for the "artist chunk for item X", without caring if there is an explicit artist chunk for that item, or simply a default artist chunk for the entire collection. The Ots file API takes care of delivering the correct information.

You may have a default artist chunk in a given Ots file, because most of the items are all by the same artist. You can still specify explicit artist chunks for the tracks which happen to require different artist info. An explicit chunk for a given item will always take higher precedence than a default chunk of the same type that happens to be present.

This unique structure allows for all required, relevant or useful information to be stored, and in an extremely efficient manner with virtually no redundancy.


Ots file benefits


Related Topics:

Converting your media files

Editing your Ots files