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.[1][2] 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 Player
Windows Media Player icon
Windows Media Player 12 running on Windows 8
Windows Media Player 12 running on Windows 8
Developer(s)Microsoft
Stable release12.0.7601.17514 (July 22, 2009) [±]
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
ReplacesActiveMovie Control, CD Player, DVD Player (Win32 version)
TypeMedia player
Websitewindows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/windows-media-player

History

Media Player v5.1 (Microsoft)
Media Player 5

The first version of Windows Media Player appeared in 1991, when Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions was released.[3] Originally called Media Player, this component was included with "Multimedia PC"-compatible machines but not available for retail sale. It was capable of playing .mmm animation files, and could be extended to support other formats.[4] It used MCI to handle media files. Being a component of Windows, Media Player shows the same version number as that of the version Windows with which it was included.

Microsoft continually produced new programs to play media files. In November of the following year, Video for Windows was introduced with the ability to play digital video files in an AVI container format,[5] with codec support for RLE and Video1, and support for playing uncompressed files. Indeo 3.2 was added in a later release. Video for Windows was first available as a free add-on to Windows 3.1, and later integrated into Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. In 1995, Microsoft released ActiveMovie with DirectX Media SDK. ActiveMovie incorporates a new way of dealing with media files, and adds support for streaming media (which the original Media Player could not handle). In 1996, ActiveMovie was renamed DirectShow.[6] However, Media Player continued to come with Windows until Windows XP, in which it was officially renamed Windows Media Player v5.1.[7] ("v5.1" is the version number of Windows XP.)

In 1999, Windows Media Player's versioning broke away from that of Windows itself. Windows Media Player 6.4 came as an out-of-band update for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 that co-existed with Media Player and became a built-in component of Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP with an mplayer2.exe stub allowing to use this built-in instead of newer versions.[8] Windows Media Player 7.0 and its successors also came in the same fashion, replacing each other but leaving Media Player and Windows Media Player 6.4 intact. Windows XP is the only operating system to have three different versions of Windows Media Player (v5.1, v6.4 and v8) side by side. All versions branded Windows Media Player (instead of simply Media Player) support DirectShow codecs. Windows Media Player version 7 was a large revamp, with a new user interface, visualizations and increased functionality. Windows Vista, however, dropped older versions of Windows Media Player in favor of v11.

Beginning with Windows Vista, Windows Media Player supports the Media Foundation framework besides DirectShow; as such it plays certain types of media using Media Foundation as well as some types of media using DirectShow.[9] Windows Media Player 12 was released with Windows 7. It included support for more media formats and added new features. With Windows 8, however, the player did not receive an upgrade.

On April 16, 2012, Microsoft announced that Windows Media Player would not be included in Windows RT, the line of Windows designed to run on ARM based devices.[10]

Features

Core playback and library functions

Windows Media Player supports playback of audio, video and pictures, along with fast forward, reverse, file markers (if present) and variable playback speed (seek & time compression/dilation introduced in WMP 9 Series). It supports local playback, streaming playback with multicast streams and progressive downloads. Items in a playlist can be skipped over temporarily at playback time without removing them from the playlist. Full keyboard-based operation is possible in the player.

Windows Media Player supports full media management, via the integrated media library introduced first in version 7, which offers cataloguing and searching of media and viewing media metadata. Media can be arranged according to album, artist, genre, date et al. Windows Media Player 9 Series introduced Quick Access Panel to browse and navigate the entire library through a menu. The Quick Access Panel was also added to the mini mode in version 10 but was entirely removed in version 11. WMP 9 Series also introduced ratings and Auto Ratings. Windows Media Player 10 introduced support for aggregating pictures, Recorded TV shows, and other media into the library. A fully featured tag editor was featured in versions 9-11 of WMP, called the Advanced Tag Editor. However, the feature was removed in Windows Media Player 12. Since WMP 9 Series, the player features dynamically updated Auto Playlists based on criteria. Auto Playlists are updated every time users open them. WMP 9 Series and later also supports Auto Ratings which automatically assigns ratings based on the number of times a song is played. Pre-populated auto playlists are included in Windows Media Player 9 Series. Custom Auto Playlists can be created only on Windows XP and later.

In Windows Media Player 11, the Quick Access Panel was removed and replaced with an Explorer-style navigation pane on the left which can be customized for each library to show the user selected media or metadata categories, with contents appearing on the right, in a graphical manner with thumbnails featuring album art or other art depicting the item. Missing album art can be added directly to the placeholders in the Library itself (though the program re-renders all album art imported this way into 1x1 pixel ratio, 200x200 resolution jpegs). There are separate Tiles, Icons, Details or Extended Tiles views for Music, Pictures, Video and Recorded TV which can be set individually from the navigation bar. Entries for Pictures and Video show their thumbnails. Version 11 also introduced the ability to search and display results on-the-fly as characters are being entered, without waiting for Enter key to be hit. Incremental search results are refined based on further characters that are typed. Stacking allows graphical representations of how many albums there are in a specific category or folder. The pile appears larger as the category contains more albums. The List pane includes an option to prompt the user to remove items skipped in a playlist upon save or skip them only during playback.

Visualizations

Windows Media Player 11 Mini-player - Visualization
Windows Media Player 11 running in mini mode (in Windows XP MCE) showing the "Bars and Waves" visualization

While playing music, Windows Media Player can show visualizations. The current three visualizations are Alchemy, which was first introduced in version 9, Bars and Waves, which has been used since version 7, and Battery, introduced version 8. "Musical Colors" was removed starting with version 9, but is retained if Windows Media Player was upgraded from version 7 or 8. Version 11 and above refrains from having the former "Ambience", "Particle", "Plenoptic", and "Spikes" visualizations. The "Battery" visualization was similarly removed in later editions of version 12. The reason for their removal was that the visualizations do not support full screen controls (either the visualization gets shifted to the left while there is a thick black bar to the right side of the screen, that there are no full screen controls, or that the visualization have DXE Problems). More visualizations such as "BlazingColors", "ColorCubes", "Softie the Snowman," and "Yule Log" can be downloaded from Microsoft's website.

Format support

The player includes intrinsic support for Windows Media codecs and also WAV and MP3 media formats. On Windows XP and above with WMP 9 Series and later, the Windows Media Audio Professional codec is included which supports multichannel audio at up to 24-bit 192 kHz resolution. Windows Media Player 11 includes the Windows Media Format 11 runtime which adds low bitrate support (below 128 kbit/s for WMA Pro), support for ripping music to WMA Pro 10 and updates the original WMA to version 9.2.

Support for any media codec and container format can be added using specific DirectShow filters or Media Foundation codecs (Media Foundation codecs only in Windows Vista and later). The player will not play MP3 files that contain compressed ID3 headers ("tags"); trying to do so results in a "The input media file is invalid" error message. MP3 playback support was built-in beginning with version 6.1 and audio CD playback was natively supported with version 7.

DVD playback features minus the necessary decoders were integrated into Windows Media Player 8 for Windows XP. The player activates DVD and Blu-ray playback functionality with support for menus, titles and chapters, parental controls and audio track language selection if compatible decoders are installed. MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoders were included beginning with Windows Media Player 11 on Windows Vista (Home Premium and Ultimate editions only).

Windows Media Player 12 adds native support for H.264 and MPEG-4 Part 2 video formats, ALAC, AAC audio[11] and 3GP, MP4 and MOV container formats.[12] Windows Media Player 12 is also able to play AVCHD formats (.M2TS and .mts).[13]

As of Windows 10, Windows Media Player 12 can play FLAC , HEVC, ASS and SubRip subtitle, and Matroska container formats.

Windows Media Player Mobile

Windows Media Player Mobile 10 on Windows Mobile 6.5 supports MP3, ASF, WMA and WMV using WMV or MPEG-4 codecs.[14]

Disc burning, ripping, and playback

Windows Media Player features integrated Audio CD-burning support since version 7 as well as data CD burning support since Windows Media Player 9 Series on Windows XP and later. Data CDs can have any of the media formats supported by the player. While burning Data CDs, the media can, optionally, be transcoded into WMA format and playlists can be added to the CD as well. Starting with WMP 9 Series, audio CDs can be burnt with volume leveling.

Audio CDs can be ripped as WMA or WMA 10 Pro (WMA 10 Pro in WMP 11 and later) at 48, 64, 96, 128, 160 and 192 kbit/s, WMA lossless (470 to 940 kbit/s) (9 Series on XP and later), WMA variable bitrate (from 40-75 kbit/s up to 240-355 kbit/s), MP3 at 128, 192, 256 and 320 kbit/s, or uncompressed WAV (WAV ripping in WMP 11 and later). Since WMP 9 Series, 20 bit high-resolution CDs (HDCDs) are also supported, if capable audio hardware is present. Audio can be ripped using error correction and ripped audio can be protected with Windows Media DRM. Ripping to MP3 is supported only in Windows Media Player 8 for Windows XP and later if a compatible MP3 encoder is installed. Windows Media Player 10 included the Fraunhofer MP3 Professional encoder. Information on CDs such as album name, artist and track listings can optionally be automatically downloaded from the online Windows Media database when the CD is inserted. Version 11 added support for ripping audio CDs to WAV and WMA 10 Pro formats. With their 2015 implementation in Windows 10, Version 12 also added lossless FLAC and ALAC formats for ripping and playback. For burning, version 11 shows a graphical bar indicating how much space will be used on the disc and introduced Disc spanning which splits a burn list onto multiple discs in case the content does not fit on one disc.

Portable device sync

Windows Media Player allows the user to connect, share and sync data with portable handheld devices and game consoles since version 7. Media can be optionally transcoded to a format better suited for the target device, automatically, when synchronizing. When deleting playlists from devices, Windows Media Player can automatically remove their contents. Devices can be formatted using Windows Media Player 9 Series and later. Version 10 and later support the Media Transfer Protocol and Auto Sync. Auto Sync allows users to specify criteria such as recently added music or highest rated songs, by which media will be automatically synchronized with the portable device and other advanced features like setting the clock on the portable device automatically, communicating with the device to retrieve the user's preferences. Windows Media Player 10 also introduced the UMDF-based Windows Portable Devices API.

Version 11 has improved synchronization features for loading content onto PlaysForSure-compatible portable players. WMP 11 supports reverse-synchronization, by which media present on the portable device can be replicated back to the PC. Shuffle Sync can be used to randomize content synced with the portable device, Multi PC Sync to synchronize portable device content across multiple PCs and Guest Sync to synchronize different content from multiple PCs with the portable device. Portable devices appear in the navigation pane of the library where their content can be browsed and searched.

Windows Media Player's 'Sync' function has options that allow it to be set to automatically down-convert (transcode) high bit-rate song files to a lower bit-rate. This down-conversion function is switched on by default. This is useful for providing low bit-rate files to those portable devices that need them, and to save space on portable devices with smaller storage capacities. For high bit-rate capable devices with sufficient storage capabilities, the down conversion process can be omitted.

In versions 11 (2006) and 12 (2009), the Quality settings that the user has selected in the Windows Media Player settings for Sync, for that specific portable device, are used to control the quality (bit-rate) of files that are copied to the portable device. Leaving the Quality settings to Automatic will often result in 192kbs files being copied to the portable device. Manual settings can also be made. 192kbs is the highest quality down-conversion bit-rate that can be manually selected when the Sync function's down-conversion function is turned on. Lower bit-rates can also be selected.

For portable devices that can handle high bit-rate files, the best quality files are obtained by leaving the down-conversion process switched off (unchecked) for that specific device. In Windows Media Player Version 11, switching off the down-conversion function is done in the Quality tab of the Advanced Options of the Sync settings for the device. In Windows Media Player Version 12, switching off the down-conversion function is done in the Quality tab of the Properties for the device in the Select Settings for the device in the Sync Options menu.

When set up in such a way, Windows Media Player's 'Sync' function can be used to sync unchanged high bit-rate song files to suitable portable devices (i.e. those capable of using file formats such as WMA Lossless, mp3-360kbs, etc.). For example, some users have created large song libraries on their PCs containing .wma formatted song files using the high bit-rate WMA Lossless (WMA-LL) protocol, or using other high bit-rate song file formats. The WMA-LL protocol is selectable in Windows Media Player as an option when ripping songs from CDs. The resulting bit-rates seen on ripped WMA-LL files are often 3 to 6 times higher than 192kbs, and can typically fall anywhere in the range of 600kbs to 1200kbs, depending on the quality of the source file that was present on the CD in the first place. The sound quality is much improved over the default rate, although the file size is larger.

At the time that Versions 11 and 12 were released, the capabilities and capacities of portable devices typically required down-conversion of the bit-rates of the files placed on the portable devices. Thus, Sync down-conversion was turned on by default. This was to ensure playability of the files and to ensure that the file sizes were small enough to efficiently fit a reasonably large selection of songs on the portable device.

In recent years (circa 2012), portable devices became available that could natively play these Windows Media Player produced high bit-rate WMA-LL files (and others), and that have storage capacities suitable for large collections of high bit-rate song files. This made it much more practicable and desirable to use software programs such as Windows Media Player to synchronize previously PC-bound libraries of high bit-rate songs to these new portable devices.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note II (2012) can natively play unchanged high bit-rate Windows Media Player WMA-LL files. It can also be equipped with a micro-SDXC (flash NAND) memory card chip to expand the storage capacity to a size that is suitable for large collections of high bit-rate songs (up to 80GB total storage). By 2012, the maximum total solid-state (flash NAND) storage of such portable devices available had reached 96GB. In the case of certain models of the Samsung Galaxy S III, this is achieved with up to 32GB of NAND flash storage integrated into the device and an additional 64GB mSDXC NAND flash storage "memory card" inserted into the micro-SD expansion card slot.

Enhanced playback features

Windows Media Player features universal brightness, contrast, saturation and hue adjustments and pixel aspect ratio for supported video formats. It also includes a 10-band graphic equalizer with presets and SRS WOW audio post-processing system. Windows Media Player can also have attached audio and video DSP plug-ins which process the output audio or video data. Video Smoothing was introduced in WMP 9 Series (Windows XP and later only) which upscales frame-rate by interpolating added frames, in effect giving a smoother playback on low-framerate videos. The player supports subtitles and closed-captioning for local media, video on demand streaming or live streaming scenarios. Typically Windows Media captions support the SAMI file format but can also carry embedded closed caption data.

The player can use video overlays or VMR (Video Mixing Renderer) surfaces, if the video card supports them. In Windows XP, it uses VMR7 by default, but can also be made to use the more advanced YUV mixing mode by enabling the "Use high quality mode" option in Advanced Performance settings. This turns on deinterlacing, scaling and improved color accuracy.[15] WMP 9 Series introduced native playback for deinterlacing for TV output. Version 9 introduced DXVA accelerated playback. Version 11 introduced improved support for DirectX accelerated decoding of WMV video (DXVA decoding). Up to version 11, it supported static lyrics and "Synchronized Lyrics", by which different lines of lyrics can be time-stamped, so that they display only at those times. Synchronized Lyrics also were accessible through the Advanced Tag Editor which was removed in version 12.

Since Windows Media Player 9 Series, the player supports crossfading, audio dynamic range (Quiet Mode) for WMA Pro and WMA Lossless, and auto volume leveling for certain media which includes volume level/gain information such as MP3 or Windows Media. The player also supports extensive configurable privacy and security settings.

Shell integration

The player has Windows Explorer shell integration to add files and playlist to the Now Playing pane and other playlists can be controlled from the Windows Explorer shell itself, via right-click menu. The My Music folder also includes a separate My Playlists folder where playlists are maintained. When the player is closed and reopened, simply clicking the play button restores the last playlist even if it was not saved. Starting with Windows Media Player 10, the playlist pane is also visible from the Library view. AutoPlay handlers in Windows expose various Windows Media Player tasks.

Windows Media Player 11 Mini-player - Song details
Windows Media Player 11 running in mini mode in Windows Vista and Windows XP respectively. Notice the difference in the logo.

Up to version 11, it featured a taskbar-mounted Mini mode in which the most common media control buttons are presented as a toolbar on the Windows taskbar. Flyout windows can display media information, the active visualization or the video being played back. Mini-mode was introduced as a shell player powertoy for Windows Media Player 8 in Windows XP and integrated later into WMP 9 Series. Mini-mode has been removed in Windows Media Player 12 in favor of controls in the taskbar's interactive thumbnail preview which lacks volume control, a progress bar and information displayed whenever a new song is played.

The user interface has been redesigned in Windows Media Player 12 such that the Now Playing view plays media in a separate minimalist window with floating playback controls, and also gives access to the current playlist, visualizations, and enhancements.[11] Enhancements are housed in individual undocked windows. The library view includes the rest of the media management functions. It also can preview songs from the library when users hover over the media file and click the Preview button.[11] Windows Media Player 12 can play unprotected songs from the iTunes library. The taskbar-integrated Mini-player has been replaced with controls in the taskbar's interactive thumbnail preview (called the Thumbnail Toolbar),[16] albeit minus the volume control function, track and album information shown whenever a new song is played and the progress bar. The taskbar icon also supports jump lists introduced in Windows 7.

Windows Media Player 12 live preview
The thumbnail viewer of Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7 Home Premium

Extensibility

The player has had skinning support since Windows Media Player (WMP) 7 and includes a color chooser since the WMP 9 Series. Not all functions are usually exposed in skin mode. Windows Media Player 10 allows setting the video border color. Color chooser has been removed in WMP 12. It supports visualizations and Info Center View (Info Center View in WMP 9 Series and later) which displays media metadata fetched from the internet. Full screen visualizations are supported in WMP 9 Series and later. It supports Background plug-ins, window plug-ins and Now Playing plug-ins to control media playback besides DSP and renderer plug-ins. Plug-in support was introduced in WMP 9 Series.

Online features

The player integrates web-browsing support to browse online music stores, shop for music and tune to internet radio stations since version 7. It provides an embeddable ActiveX control for Internet Explorer so that developers can play Windows Media on web pages. Windows Media Player 10 and later feature integration with a large number of online music stores and selecting a music store switches the Info Center view, radio and other online features to use services from that store. Purchased music from a particular store appears in a separate library node under the respective category.

Media streaming

Previously, Microsoft had released Windows Media Connect for Windows XP to stream media content with its built-in UPnP media server. With version 11 of Windows Media Player, Media Sharing was integrated and allows content (Music, Pictures, Video) to be streamed to and from Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) AV enabled devices such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and Roku SoundBridge. This includes DRM protected PlaysForSure content. WMP 11 on Windows Vista can also act as a client to connect to remote media libraries using this feature; this is not available on the Windows XP version.

With version 12, media streaming was further improved. While previous versions streamed media to UPnP compliant devices (Digital Media Server role) and could play media by fetching it from a network share (Digital Media Player role),[17] Windows Media Player 12 can access media from the shared media libraries on the network or HomeGroup, stream media to DLNA 1.5 compliant devices and allows itself (once the remote control option is turned on) to be remotely controlled by Digital Media Controller devices which stream media (Digital Media Renderer role).[17] Similarly, the Play To feature once enabled for remote PCs, by turning on remote control of the player, allows compliant devices and computers to be discovered and controlled remotely from a computer running Windows Media Player 12 (Digital Media Controller role).[17] If the devices do not support the streamed format, Windows Media Player 12 transcodes the format on-the-fly. Media from a home network can also be streamed over the internet using an Online ID Provider service, which handles discovery of the computer's IP address, authorization, security, connectivity and Quality of Service issues.[17]

Skin Mode

Windows Media Player also features skins. Currently, Windows Media Player has two default skins: "Corporate", which was first introduced in version 8, and "Revert", which first shipped with version 9. In versions 7 and 8, there were many unusual skins such as "Heart", "Headspace", "Canvas", "Goo", and "Atomic", which were removed starting with version 9, but are retained if the player is upgraded, although some can still be downloaded from an archive of the Microsoft website.[18] "QuickSilver", "Compact", and "9SeriesDefault" were removed starting with version 11, but are similarly retained if upgraded from version 9 or 10. This Corporate skin is not deletable.

Security issues

Microsoft Windows Media Runtime in Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Server contained a bug that permitted "remote code execution if a user opened a specially crafted media file". Such a file would allow the attacker to "then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights", if the account on which the file was played had administrator privileges.[19] The problem was addressed in a critical update issued on September 8, 2009.[20]

Other versions

Microsoft has also released versions of Windows Media Player for other platforms including Windows Mobile, classic Mac OS, Mac OS X, Palm-size PC, Handheld PC, and Solaris. Of these, only the Windows Mobile edition continues to be actively developed and supported by Microsoft. Version 1 of the Zune software was also based on Windows Media Player; later versions are not.

Windows Mobile

Windows Media Player 10 Mobile
Windows Media Player 10.3 Mobile on a Windows Mobile Professional device

Windows Media Player for Pocket PC was first announced on January 6, 2000, and has been revised on a schedule roughly similar to that of the Windows version.[21] Currently known as "Media Player 10 Mobile", this edition (released in October 2004) closely resembles the capabilities of the Windows version of WMP 10, including playlist capabilities, a media library, album art, WMA Lossless playback, support for DRM-protected media, video playback at 640×480 with stereo sound, and the same Energy Blue interface aesthetics also seen in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. It also supports synchronization with the desktop version of WMP 10, and additionally supports synchronizing and transcoding of recorded television shows from Media Center. Media Player 10 Mobile is not available as a download from Microsoft; distribution is done solely through OEM partners, and is typically included on devices based on Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile 6 includes a copy of Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, but with a similar (but not quite identical) theme as Windows Media Player 11.

Mac OS X

Version 9 was the final version of Windows Media Player to be released for Mac OS X before development was canceled by Microsoft. It was developed by the Windows Media team at Microsoft instead of the Macintosh Business Unit and released in 2003. On release the application lacked many basic features that were found in other media players such as Apple's iTunes and QuickTime. It also lacked support for many media formats that version 9 of the Windows counterpart supported on release 10 months earlier.

The Mac version supported only Windows Media encoded media (up to version 9) enclosed in the ASF format, lacking support for all other formats such as MP4, MPEG, and Microsoft's own AVI format. On the user interface front, it did not prevent screensavers from running during playback, it did not support file drag-and-drop, nor did it support playlists. While Windows Media Player 9 had added support for some files that use the WMV9 codec (also known as the WMV3 codec by the FourCC), in other aspects it was seen as having degraded in features from previous versions.

On January 12, 2006 Microsoft announced it had ceased development of Windows Media Player for Mac. Microsoft now distributes a third-party plugin called WMV Player (produced and maintained by Flip4Mac) which allows some forms of Windows Media to be played within Apple's QuickTime Player and other QuickTime-aware applications.[22]

European Commission case

In March 2004, the European Commission in the European Union Microsoft antitrust case fined Microsoft €497 million and ordered the company to provide a version of Windows without Windows Media Player, claiming Microsoft "broke European Union competition law by leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems onto the markets for work group server operating systems and for media players". The company has made available a compliant version of its flagship operating system under the negotiated name "Windows XP N", though the product has not been very successful. Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are also available in "N" editions. However, it is possible to either install Windows Media Player (XP/Vista)[23] or the Media Restore Pack through Windows Update (Vista) to add the media player.

Release history

Prior to the release of Windows Media Player in Windows 98 Second Edition, separate programs, CD Player, Deluxe CD Player, DVD Player and Media Player, were included in old versions of Microsoft Windows for playback of media files.

Windows Media Player versions[24]
Version Original release Included with Available for
Microsoft Windows
Windows Media Player 12 October 22, 2009 Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 8.1
Windows 10
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2016
N/A
Windows Media Player 11 January 30, 2007 Windows Server 2008
Windows Vista
Windows XP
Windows XP x64 Edition
Windows Media Player 10 September 2, 2004 Windows Server 2003 (SP1+)
Windows XP x64 Edition
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
Windows Server 2003
Windows XP
Windows XP x64 Edition[25]
Windows Media Player 9 Series January 7, 2003[26] Windows XP (SP2+)
Windows Server 2003 (RTM)
Windows XP
Windows ME
Windows 2000
Windows 98 SE[27]
Windows Media Player for Windows XP (version 8) October 25, 2001 Windows XP (RTM & SP1) N/A
Windows Media Player 7.1 May 16, 2001 N/A Windows ME
Windows 2000
Windows 98[27][28]
Windows Media Player 7.0 July 17, 2000[29] Windows ME Windows 2000
Windows 98
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 95
Windows Media Player 6.4[a] April 29, 1999 Windows 2000
Windows ME (hidden)
Windows XP (hidden)
Internet Explorer 5.01
Internet Explorer 5.5
Internet Explorer 6.0
Windows 98
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 95
Windows Media Player 6.1 October 1997 Windows 98 SE
Internet Explorer 5.0
Windows 98
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 95
Microsoft Media Player 5.1 2001 Windows XP (hidden) N/A
Media Player 5.0 1999 Windows 2000 (hidden) N/A
Media Player 4.9 2000 Windows ME (hidden) N/A
Media Player 4.1 1998 Windows 98
Windows 98 SE (hidden)
N/A
Media Player 4.0 1995 Windows 95
Windows NT 4.0
N/A
Media Player 3.51 1995 Windows NT 3.51 N/A
Media Player 3.5 1994 Windows NT 3.5 N/A
Media Player 3.15 1992 N/A Windows 3.1 with Video for Windows
Media Player 3.1 1992 Windows 3.1
Windows NT 3.1
N/A
Media Player 3.0 1991 N/A Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extension
Windows Mobile
Windows Media Player 10.3 Mobile February 12, 2007 (Windows Mobile 6) Windows Mobile 6.1
Windows Mobile 6
Windows Mobile 5.0
Windows Media Player 10.2 Mobile ? Windows Mobile 5.0 N/A
Windows Media Player 10.1 Mobile May 10, 2005 Windows Mobile 5.0 N/A
Windows Media Player 10 Mobile October 12, 2004 Windows Mobile 2003 SE N/A
Windows Media Player 9.0.1 March 24, 2004 Windows Mobile 2003 SE N/A
Windows Media Player 9 Series June 23, 2003 Windows Mobile 2003 N/A
Windows Media Player 8.5 October 11, 2002 Pocket PC 2002 N/A
Windows Media Player 8.01 July 2002 Pocket PC 2002 N/A
Windows Media Player 8 October 4, 2001 (Pocket PC) Pocket PC 2002
Smartphone 2002
N/A
Windows Media Player 7.1 May 21, 2001 Pocket PC 2000 N/A
Windows Media Player 7 December 12, 2000 Pocket PC 2000 N/A
Windows Media Player 1.2 September 7, 2000 Handheld PC 2000 N/A
Windows Media Player 1.1 ? Palm-size PC CE 2.11 N/A
Windows Media Player April 19, 2000 Pocket PC 2000 N/A
Mac
Windows Media Player 9 Series November 7, 2003 N/A Mac OS X
Windows Media Player 7 July 24, 2001 Mac OS 9 Mac OS 8
Windows Media Player 6.3 July 17, 2000 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 7
Solaris
Windows Media Player 6.3 July 17, 2000 N/A Solaris

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Windows Media Player 6.4 was shipped side-by-side with later versions of WMP in Windows ME and Windows XP

References

  1. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (July 22, 2009). "Windows 7 Has Been Released to Manufacturing". Blogging Windows. Microsoft.
  2. ^ "Windows Media Player 12 - Windows 7 features". Windows. Microsoft. Archived from the original on September 22, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  3. ^ "Windows Version History". Support (4.0 ed.). Microsoft. September 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Lineback, Nathan. "Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions". Toasty Tech. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  5. ^ "Video for Windows". PC Tech Guide. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  6. ^ Blome, Michael; Wasson, Mike (July 2002). "DirectShow: Core Media Technology in Windows XP Empowers You to Create Custom Audio/Video Processing Components". MSDN Magazine. Microsoft. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  7. ^ C:\Windows\system32\myplay32.exe. Windows XP. Microsoft Corporation.
  8. ^ "MPLAYER2.EXE Is Linked to Missing Export MSDXM.OCX". Support. Microsoft. April 25, 2006. Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "DSP Plug-in Packaging". MSDN. Microsoft.
  10. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (April 16, 2012). "Windows Announcing the Windows 8 Editions". The Windows Blog. Archived from the original on April 18, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Peter Bright (October 30, 2008). "Hands on: Windows Media Player 12's surprising new features". ArsTechnica. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
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Further reading

External links

Acer DX900

The Acer DX900 is the lead device in the company’s range of five mobile phones, labeled the Acer Tempo Smartphone Series. It was announced at the Mobile World Congress during February 2009.

The DX900 is a 2G/3G quad-band Windows Mobile device for professional users. It features dual SIM capabilities for users who want to split business and personal phone usage, or use one SIM in their home country and one when travelling. Significantly one of the SIMs is rated for 3G/data with tri-band UMTS / HSDPA and quad-band GSM support, while the other is 2G tri-band GSM.The device features a 2.8-inch, 640 x 480 touch screen, which is operated via a stylus. There is a front-mounted VGA camera for video calling and a 3MP autofocus rear-mounted camera. Internal sensors include an accelerometer and a light sensor. Location-based services are provided by SiRFstarIII GPS. Talk time is up to five hours, while standby is up to 150 hours.

The Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional software suite includes access to the Outlook Mobile email client, as well as mobile versions of Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, Windows Live and Windows Media Player 10.At launch, the cost of the DX900 was around the £400/€500 mark (excluding tax). It is available in Asia and the European and Middle East markets.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Media Transfer Protocol

The Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) is an extension to the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) communications protocol that allows media files to be transferred atomically to and from portable devices. Whereas PTP was designed for downloading photographs from digital cameras, Media Transfer Protocol allows the transfer of music files on digital audio players and media files on portable media players, as well as personal information on personal digital assistants. MTP is a key part of WMDRM10-PD, a digital rights management (DRM) service for the Windows Media platform.

MTP is part of the "Windows Media" framework and thus closely related to Windows Media Player. Versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system from Windows XP SP2 support MTP. Windows XP requires Windows Media Player 10 or higher; later Windows versions have built-in support. Microsoft has also made available an MTP Porting Kit for older versions of Windows back to Windows 98.

The USB Implementers Forum device working group standardised MTP as a full-fledged Universal Serial Bus (USB) device class in May 2008. Since then MTP is an official extension to PTP and shares the same class code.

Media player software

Media player software is a type of application software for playing multimedia computer files like audio and video files. Media players commonly display standard media control icons known from physical devices such as tape recorders and CD players, such as play (  ), pause (  ), fastforward, backforward, and stop (  ) buttons. In addition, they generally have progress bars (or "playback bars") to locate the current position in the duration of the media file.

Mainstream operating systems have at least one default media player. For example, Windows comes with Windows Media Player, macOS comes with QuickTime Player and iTunes. Linux distributions comes with different media players, such as SMPlayer, Amarok, Audacious, Banshee, MPlayer, mpv, Rhythmbox, Totem, VLC media player, and xine. Android comes with Google Play Music for audio and Google Photos for video.

Microsoft Corp. v. Commission

Microsoft Corp v Commission (2007) T-201/04 is a case brought by the European Commission of the European Union (EU) against Microsoft for abuse of its dominant position in the market (according to competition law). It started as a complaint from Sun Microsystems over Microsoft's licensing practices in 1993, and eventually resulted in the EU ordering Microsoft to divulge certain information about its server products and release a version of Microsoft Windows without Windows Media Player. The European Commission especially focused on the interoperability issue.

Microsoft Media Server

Microsoft Media Server (MMS), a Microsoft proprietary network-streaming protocol, serves to transfer unicast data in Windows Media Services (previously called NetShow Services). MMS can be transported via UDP or TCP. The MMS default port is UDP/TCP 1755.Microsoft deprecated MMS in favor of RTSP (TCP/UDP port 554) in 2003 with the release of the Windows Media Services 9 Series, but continued to support the MMS for some time in the interest of backward compatibility. Support for the protocol was finally dropped in Windows Media Services 2008.As of 2012 Microsoft still recommends using "mms://" as a "protocol rollover URL". As part of protocol rollover a Windows Media Player version 9, 10, or 11 client opening an "mms://" URL will attempt to connect first with RTSP over UDP and if that fails it will attempt RTSP over TCP. After an RTSP attempt fails, Windows Media Player versions 9 and 10 will attempt MMS over UDP, then MMS over TCP. If using Windows Media Player 11 and an RTSP attempt fails, or if using a previous version of Windows Media Player and MMS fails, a modified version of a HTTP over TCP connection will be attempted. This modified version is referred to by some third parties as MMSH, and by Microsoft as MS-WMSP (Windows Media HTTP Streaming Protocol). The uniform resource identifier (URI) scheme mms has also been proposed to be used for the unrelated Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) protocol.For several years developers of the SDP Multimedia download-tool reverse engineered the MMS protocol and published unofficial documentation for it. However, Microsoft finally released the protocol specification in February 2008.

Microsoft PlaysForSure

Microsoft PlaysForSure was a certification given by Microsoft to portable devices and content services that had been tested against several hundred compatibility and performance requirements. These requirements include codec support, Digital rights management support, UI responsiveness, device performance, compatibility with Windows Media Player, synchronization performance, and so on. PlaysForSure certification was available for portable media players, network-attached digital media receivers, and media-enabled mobile phones. The PlaysForSure logo was applied to device packaging as well as to online music stores and online video stores.

PlaysForSure was introduced in 2004. In 2007, Microsoft rebranded and scaled back "PlaysForSure" into the subset Certified for Windows Vista.Microsoft's Zune works only with its own content service called Zune Marketplace, not PlaysForSure. Microsoft announced that as of August 31, 2008, PlaysForSure content from their retired MSN Music store would need to be licensed to play before this date or burned permanently to CD, although this decision was later reversed. With the exception of Windows Media Player, all of the PlaysForSure offerings are made or run by 3rd-party companies, while Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division develops and markets the Zune.

The Zune and PlaysForSure music are both Certified for Windows Vista, yet the Zune cannot play PlaysForSure music purchased from the MSN Music Store.DRM servers related to PlaysForSure were turned off August 31, 2008, meaning that any operating system upgrade or migration rendered all content unplayable.

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".

Pocket PC 2002

Pocket PC 2002, originally codenamed "Merlin", was released in October 2001. Like Pocket PC 2000, it was powered by Windows CE 3.0. Although targeted mainly for 240×320 (QVGA) Pocket PC devices, Pocket PC 2002 was also used for Pocket PC phones, and for the first time, Smartphones. These Pocket PC 2002 Smartphones were mainly GSM devices. With future releases, the Pocket PC and Smartphone lines would increasingly collide as the licensing terms were relaxed allowing OEMs to take advantage of more innovative, individual design ideas. Aesthetically, Pocket PC 2002 was meant to be similar in design to the then newly released Windows XP. Newly added or updated programs include Windows Media Player 8 with streaming capability; MSN Messenger, and Microsoft Reader 2, with digital rights management support. Upgrades to the bundled version of Office Mobile include a spell checker and word count tool in Pocket Word and improved Pocket Outlook. Connectivity was improved with file beaming on non-Microsoft devices such as Palm OS, the inclusion of Terminal Services and Virtual Private Networking support, and the ability to synchronize folders. Other upgrades include an enhanced UI with theme support and savable downloads and WAP in Pocket Internet Explorer.

Tharu (Sri Lanka radio)

Tharu is a Sri Lankan radio station which streams Sinhala and Hindi music. The meaning of the word tharu is "star" in Sinhalese.

Tharu International Service is a live international radio station incorporated with Internet streaming (in radio broadcasting) all around the world. It can be listened to using Windows Media Player or Winamp or through websites which embed the Tharu Player.

There is a list of around 5,000 songs displayed in the parent web site and any listener can add songs directly to the play list. The song play list in the Tharu studio is automatically uploaded to the parent web site, and currently-playing song information (such as artist, composer, director and comments) can be seen in the parent web site or media player.

Because of this embedding concept Tharu e Radio has reached 20,000 listeners per day. Tharu listeners originate 26% from the Middle East, 25% from Sri Lanka, 16% from Korea, 15% from Italy, 8% from the USA and 4% from the UK.

Tharu e Radio delivers high audio quality with a higher codec flash audio system and studio quality dynamic range.

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 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.

Windows Mobile Device Center

Windows Mobile Device Center is a synchronization software program developed by Microsoft, and the successor to ActiveSync. It is designed to synchronize various content including music, video, contacts, calendar events, web browser favorites, and other files between Windows Mobile devices and the Microsoft Windows operating system.

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