Windows Media

Windows Media is a discontinued multimedia framework for media creation and distribution for Microsoft Windows. It consists of a software development kit (SDK) with several application programming interfaces (API) and a number of prebuilt technologies, and is the replacement of NetShow technologies.

The Windows Media SDK is replaced by Media Foundation.

Software

Formats

Protocols

See also

External links

ActiveMovie

ActiveMovie was the immediate ancestor of Windows Media Player 6.x, and was a streaming media technology now known as DirectShow, developed by Microsoft to replace Video for Windows. ActiveMovie allows users to view media streams, whether distributed via the Internet, an intranet or CD-ROMs.

Originally announced in March 1996, the first version was released in May 1996 bundled with the beta version of Internet Explorer 3.0.When ActiveMovie was installed an option was added to the Start Menu to launch the ActiveMovie Control. This allowed users to play multimedia files and thus was a rudimentary media player.

In March 1997, Microsoft announced that ActiveMovie was going to become part of the DirectX set of technologies, and by July it was being referred to as DirectShow.Version 5.2 of Windows Media Player would remove the ActiveMovie Control icon from the Start Menu upon installation. Microsoft provided instructions for reinstalling the icon on its website.

Advanced Systems Format

Advanced Systems Format (formerly Advanced Streaming Format, Active Streaming Format) is Microsoft's proprietary digital audio/digital video container format, especially meant for streaming media. ASF is part of the Media Foundation framework.

DVD Player (Windows)

DVD Player is an app developed by Microsoft that plays DVD-Video on Microsoft Windows. DVD Player was introduced in Windows 98, and was included in Windows ME and Windows 2000 before removal from Windows XP and beyond. After Windows XP, DVD playback was built into other apps such as Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center instead. Following the discontinuation of Media Center in Windows 10 and the removal of DVD codecs from Windows 8, DVD Player was reintroduced to Windows 10 as a Windows Store app.

Groove Music

Groove Music is music player software included with Windows 10.

The app is also associated with a now-discontinued music streaming service, Groove Music Pass (formerly Zune Music Pass and Xbox Music Pass), which was supported across Windows, Xbox video game consoles, Windows Phone, as well as Android and iOS. The Groove catalogue had over 50 million tracks. Groove Music Pass was officially discontinued on December 31, 2017, and the Android and iOS versions of the Groove Music app were discontinued December 2018.

High Definition Compatible Digital

High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) is a proprietary audio encode-decode process that claims to provide increased dynamic range over that of standard Red Book audio CDs, while retaining backward compatibility with existing compact disc players.

Originally developed by Pacific Microsonics, the first HDCD-enabled CD was released in 1995. In 2000, the technology was purchased by Microsoft, and the following year, there were over 5,000 HDCD titles available. Microsoft's HDCD official website was discontinued in 2005; by 2008, the number of available titles had declined to around 4,000.A number of CD and DVD players include HDCD decoding, and versions 9 and above of Microsoft's Windows Media Player on personal computers are capable of decoding HDCD.

JPEG XR

JPEG XR (JPEG extended range) is a still-image compression standard and file format for continuous tone photographic images, based on technology originally developed and patented by Microsoft under the name HD Photo (formerly Windows Media Photo). It supports both lossy and lossless compression, and is the preferred image format for Ecma-388 Open XML Paper Specification documents.

Support for the format is available in Adobe Flash Player 11.0, Adobe AIR 3.0, Sumatra PDF 2.1, Windows Imaging Component, .NET Framework 3.0, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Pale Moon 27.2. As of August 2014, there were still no cameras that shoot photos in the JPEG XR (.JXR) format.

Media Player Classic

Media Player Classic (MPC) is a compact media player for 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows. MPC mimics the look and feel of Windows Media Player 6.4, but provides most options and features available in modern media players. It and its forks are standard media players in the K-Lite Codec Pack and the Combined Community Codec Pack.

This project is now principally maintained by the community at the Doom9 forum. The active forks are Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC) and the Black Edition (MPC-BE).

Mora (music store)

mora (モーラ, mōra) is an online music and video store for the Japanese market. It is integrated into the Japanese version of Sony's SonicStage software and is now the official store for their Walkman devices. Up until October 1, 2012, music purchased from mora was exclusively in Sony's proprietary ATRAC3 format with OpenMG DRM. A partner store called

mora win (モーラ ウィン, mōra win) was also in operation, using Windows Media Audio codec and Windows Media DRM encryption, and integrated into the Japanese version of Microsoft's Windows Media Player 11 as the "recommended store" in Japan.On October 1, 2012, mora underwent a rehaul into a DRM free store, selling songs and music videos in Advanced Audio Coding formats. The mora win service was also eliminated in the restructuring, with the DRM free store being integrated into the Media Go service in Windows 8. One year later on October 17, 2013, mora began offering songs and albums as 24bit/96kHz FLAC files.mora is operated by Label Gate Co., Ltd., a joint venture of 17 Japanese record companies including Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Avex Group, and Universal Music Japan.

Multimedia Class Scheduler Service

Multimedia Class Scheduler Service (MMCSS) is a Windows service that allows multimedia applications to get prioritized access to CPU for time-sensitive processing (such as multimedia applications) as well as prioritized disc access to ensure that the process is not starved of data to process. The MMCSS service monitors the CPU load and dynamically adjusts priority so that the application can use as much CPU time as possible without denying CPU to lower priority applications. MMCSS uses heuristics to determine the relative priority required for the task the thread is performing and dynamically adjusts priority based on that. A thread must invoke MMCSS explicitly to use its services by calling the AvSetMmMaxThreadCharacteristics() or AvSetMmThreadCharacteristics() APIs.

MMCSS is used by the multimedia applications in Windows Vista, including Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center to provide glitch-free audio playback.

NetShow

NetShow was Microsoft's original framework for Internet network broadcasting, intended to compete with RealNetworks RealMedia & Vivo (acquired in 1998 by RealNetworks). It is now renamed and marketed under the Windows Media umbrella.

NetShow 1.0 came out in 1996. A newer version, 2.0, was included in Windows NT 4.0 SP3 in 1997. Version 3.0 came out mid-1998. The whole product line was renamed Windows Media in October, 1999, four months before Windows 2000 appeared.The NetShow name is still carried on in the user-agent string in current versions of Windows Media Player, which reports as "NSPlayer".

RealPlayer

RealPlayer, formerly RealAudio Player, RealOne Player and RealPlayer G2, is a cross-platform media player app, developed by RealNetworks. The media player is compatible with numerous container file formats of the multimedia realm, including MP3, MP4, QuickTime File Format, Windows Media format, and the proprietary RealAudio and RealVideo formats. RealPlayer is also available for other operating systems, Linux, Unix, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian versions have been released.

The program is powered by an underlying open-source media engine called Helix.

VC-1

SMPTE 421M, informally known as VC-1, is a video coding format. Most of it was initially developed as the proprietary video format Windows Media Video 9 by Microsoft in 2003. With some enhancements including the development of a new Advanced Profile, it was officially approved as a SMPTE video codec standard on April 3, 2006.

VC-1 is supported in the now deprecated Microsoft Silverlight framework, the now discontinued HD DVD, and in the Blu-ray Disc.

VLC media player

VLC media player (commonly known as VLC) is a free and open-source, portable, cross-platform media player and streaming media server developed by the VideoLAN project. VLC is available for desktop operating systems and mobile platforms, such as Android, iOS, Tizen, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone. VLC is also available on digital distribution platforms such as Apple's App Store, Google Play and Microsoft Store.

VLC supports many audio and video compression methods and file formats, including DVD-Video, video CD and streaming protocols. It is able to stream media over computer networks and to transcode multimedia files.The default distribution of VLC includes a large number of free decoding and encoding libraries, avoiding the need for finding/calibrating proprietary plugins. The libavcodec library from the FFmpeg project provides many of VLC's codecs, but the player mainly uses its own muxers and demuxers. It also has its own protocol implementations. It also gained distinction as the first player to support playback of encrypted DVDs on Linux and macOS by using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library.

Windows Media Audio

Windows Media Audio (WMA) is a series of audio codecs and their corresponding audio coding formats developed by Microsoft. It is a proprietary technology that forms part of the Windows Media framework. WMA consists of four distinct codecs. The original WMA codec, known simply as WMA, was conceived as a competitor to the popular MP3 and RealAudio codecs. WMA Pro, a newer and more advanced codec, supports multichannel and high resolution audio. A lossless codec, WMA Lossless, compresses audio data without loss of audio fidelity (the regular WMA format is lossy). WMA Voice, targeted at voice content, applies compression using a range of low bit rates. Microsoft has also developed a digital container format called Advanced Systems Format to store audio encoded by WMA.

Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center (WMC) is a discontinued digital video recorder and media player created by Microsoft. Media Center was first introduced to Windows in 2002 on Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE). It was included in Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista, as well as all editions of Windows 7 except Starter and Home Basic. It was also available on Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8.1 Pro as a paid add-on, before being discontinued in Windows 10, although it can be reinstalled unofficially through a command script installer.

Media Center can play slideshows, videos and music from local hard drives, optical drives and network locations. Users can stream television programs and films through selected services such as Netflix. Content can be played back on computer monitors or on television sets through the use of devices called Windows Media Center Extenders. It is also possible to watch and pause live TV. Up to six TV tuners on a tuner card are supported simultaneously. Both standard- and high-definition unencrypted video are supported through DVB-T and ATSC standards. It is possible to view encrypted cable television channels by using an internal or external tuner that supported CableCARD.

Shortly after Windows 7's 2009 release, Microsoft disbanded the Media Center development team, thus abandoning any further software developments. Consequently, the Media Center interface remained unchanged for Windows 8 and 8.1 users. In May 2015 Microsoft announced that Windows Media Center would be discontinued on Windows 10, and that it would be removed when upgrading; but stated that those upgrading from a version of Windows that included the Media Center application would receive the paid Windows DVD Player app for free to maintain DVD playback functionality.

Windows Media Encoder

Windows Media Encoder (WME) is a discontinued, freeware media encoder developed by Microsoft which enables content developers to convert or capture both live and prerecorded audio, video, and computer screen images to Windows Media formats for live and on-demand delivery. It is the successor of NetShow Encoder. The download page reports that it is not supported on Windows 7. WME has been replaced by a free version of Microsoft Expression Encoder. The Media 8 Encoding Utility is still listed. WME was available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.Windows Media Encoder 9 can encode video using Windows Media Video version 7, 8 or 9. Audio encoding uses a number of Windows Media Audio version 9.2 or version 10 (if the version 10 codecs are installed) profiles and a Windows Media Audio 9 Voice speech codec. Content can also be created as uncompressed audio or video.

Windows Media Encoder 9 enables two-pass encoding to optimize quality for on-demand (streamed or download-and-play) content. It also supports variable bitrate (VBR) encoding for download-and-play scenarios. True VBR can be applied over the entire duration of a high-motion sequence, ensuring the highest quality. This version also enables scripted encoding with the wmcmd.vbs VBScript file allowing content developers to encode large numbers of prerecorded media files. Bundled with the program are the applications Windows Media File Editor, Windows Media Profile Editor, and Windows Media Stream Editor.

The GUI encoder application is actually a "wrapper" of the encoder itself. Developers can write their own applications using Visual Studio to perform the same functions found in the application. These applications can be used to automate audio and video production. An SDK is also available.With the removal of Windows Media DRM in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Windows Media Encoder 9 is no longer compatible with the current version of Windows as of May 2017.

Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player (WMP) is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices. Editions of Windows Media Player were also released for classic Mac OS, Mac OS X and Solaris but development of these has since been discontinued.

In addition to being a media player, Windows Media Player includes the ability to rip music from and copy music to compact discs, burn recordable discs in Audio CD format or as data discs with playlists such as an MP3 CD, synchronize content with a digital audio player (MP3 player) or other mobile devices, and enable users to purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores.

Windows Media Player replaced an earlier application called Media Player, adding features beyond simple video or audio playback.

Windows Media Player 11 is available for Windows XP and included in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The default file formats are Windows Media Video (WMV), Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Advanced Systems Format (ASF), and its own XML based playlist format called Windows Playlist (WPL). The player is also able to utilize a digital rights management service in the form of Windows Media DRM.

Windows Media Player 12 is the most recent version of Windows Media Player. It was released on October 22, 2009 along with Windows 7 and has not been made available for previous versions of Windows or has it been updated since for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. These later versions of Windows instead use Groove Music (for audio) and Microsoft Movies & TV (for video) as the default playback applications for most media; Windows Media Player is still included as a Windows component. Windows RT does not run Windows Media Player.

Windows Media Services

Windows Media Services (WMS) is a streaming media server from Microsoft that allows an administrator to generate streaming media (audio/video). Only Windows Media, JPEG, and MP3 formats are supported. WMS is the successor of NetShow Services.In addition to streaming, WMS also has the ability to cache and record streams, enforce authentication, impose various connection limits, restrict access, use multiple protocols, generate usage statistics, and apply forward error correction (FEC). It can also handle a high number of concurrent connections making it suitable for content providers. Streams can also be distributed between servers as part of a distribution network where each server ultimately feeds a different network/audience. Both unicast and multicast streams are supported (multicast streams also use a proprietary and partially encrypted Windows Media Station (*.nsc) file for use by a player.) Typically, Windows Media Player is used to decode and watch/listen to the streams, but other players are also capable of playing unencrypted Windows Media content (Microsoft Silverlight, VLC, MPlayer, etc.)

64-bit versions of Windows Media Services are also available for increased scalability. The Scalable Networking Pack for Windows Server 2003 adds support for network acceleration and hardware-based offloading, which boosts Windows Media server performance. The newest version, Windows Media Services 2008, for Windows Server 2008, includes a built-in WMS Cache/Proxy plug-in which can be used to configure a Windows Media server either as a cache/proxy server or as a reverse proxy server so that it can provide caching and proxy support to other Windows Media servers. Microsoft claims that these offloading technologies nearly double the scalability, making Windows Media Services, according to the claim, the industry's most powerful streaming media server.Windows Media Services 2008 is no longer included with the setup files for the Windows Server 2008 operating system, but is available as a free download. It is also not supported on Windows Server 2012, having been replaced with IIS Media Services.

Windows Media Video

Windows Media Video (WMV) is a series of video codecs and their corresponding video coding formats developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Windows Media framework. WMV consists of three distinct codecs: The original video compression technology known as WMV, was originally designed for Internet streaming applications, as a competitor to RealVideo. The other compression technologies, WMV Screen and WMV Image, cater for specialized content. After standardization by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), WMV version 9 was adapted for physical-delivery formats such as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc and became known as VC-1. Microsoft also developed a digital container format called Advanced Systems Format to store video encoded by Windows Media Video.

Graphics
Audio
Multimedia
Web
Data access
Networking
Communication
Administration and
management
Component model
Libraries
Device drivers
Security
.NET
Software factories
IPC
Accessibility
Text and multilingual
support
People
Divisions
Estates
Products
Conferences
Campaigns
Criticism
Litigation
Acquisitions

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.