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Windows Media Player

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Windows Media Player Editor's Review

There is hardly any Windows user who has not used Windows Media Player. This app was bundled with nearly each version of Windows and whether you like or dislike the software, it is likely you had a brush with it during your initial days with the PC at least. With each version of Windows, the WMP has got better, equipped with more features and sleeker. There are plenty of users who stick to freeware third party apps like VLC or prefer feature laden commercial media players like PowerDVD. However, Microsoft loyalists have a soft corner for this app and the 12th iteration of the software, which comes bundled with Windows 7, have notable enhancements.

Since the app comes bundled with Windows 7, there is no need to install it separately. It will run on PCs that possess Windows 7 ready hardware as it is. Upon launching the player, you may feel that look wise it has not changed much compared to the predecessor. However, on closer inspection, minute but important changes become clearer.WMP retains near identical design as far as interface goes but there are subtle color changes. The UI now has brighter and clearer colors. Some changes have taken place in toolbar items and button locations as well. The omission of Now Playing button will be noticed by veteran WMP users.

Interface changes notwithstanding, it is the internal changes and addition of media handling features that matter to end users. One nice thing about the new version of WMP is that it supports more codecs and formats. So, it essentially means that you can expect the app to play more audio and video file formats without requiring third party plug-ins. It is likely to play majority of iTunes content which is a big change on Microsoft’s part.

WMP now allows you to play media files on more devices than your desktop and laptop. Its “Play To” feature enables users to stream video and audio to other computers that have Windows 7 installed. It can also stream media to other compatible DLNA devices on a network. Moreover, the app’s Remote Media Streaming feature allows you to use WMP library over web and enjoy the content when you are outside. Again, to use this feature, both source and destination PCs must have Windows 7 installed. There is a guide that walks you through the device syncing process.

Another new and useful feature of WMP is the minimalistic ‘Now Playing’ mode. The playback control enabled taskbar thumbnail and 15-second preview of songs will be appreciated by users. For the first time, the app segregates the Library mode from Now Playing mode. The former displays Library contents while the latter mode shows currently active song or video file. It also offers you several visualization choices. There is a toggle switch on app interface to switch between two modes.

In WMP’s new version, you will get minimalistic menus and by default menu is hidden and you can toggle visibility with Ctrl + M shortcut. The three tabs placed at right of the app interface are Sync, Play and Burn. The player’s left pane lets you select different categories in media library. Like its previous versions, WMP also comes with a number of media playback enhancements such as equalizer, Bass enhancement and video setting etc. They become available when you right click on the app in ‘Now playing’ mode. Microsoft offers basic help guide with the app and for more, you can resort to online resources.

WMP’s new version looks sleek and offers less media playback hassles compared to the predecessors. It also offers easier syncing with other PC and devices. However, you can still find some media playback issues and occasional codec mismatch issues more so when trying to play media recorded by mobile or Apple devices. Rivals like VLC cope better in such situations.

Positive Points:
•    Freeware, sleeker interface.
•    Better codec support.
•    Advanced wireless streaming support.
•    Support for non-Microsoft formats.

Negative Points:
•    Occasional codec mismatch issues.
•    Streaming requires both PCs to be Windows 7 equipped.

Conclusion:
There is no denying the Microsoft team has tried to address long pending issues in the 12th incarnation of Windows media Player. The app looks sleeker and UI is more intuitive, which is a boon for new users. It has enhanced media streaming and better codec support, which puts it in top league of freeware media apps. However, once you scratch beneath the surface, some glitches become apparent. The app still stutters when dealing with specific media files and streaming features come with some limitations. There are freeware and commercial rivals that offer wider control offer media and also leave it behind it media compatibility. For home users and small networks equipped with Windows 7 based PCs, WMP remains a suitable media player nonetheless.

Rating: 3.5/5








Windows Media Player Publisher's Description

Windows Media Player is available for the Windows, Windows Mobile, and Mac operating systems. Learn more about the Player based on the operating system that you have.

Designed by media lovers, for media lovers. Windows Media Player 12 plays more music and video than ever - including Flip Video and unprotected songs from your iTunes library!

Windows Media Player 12 is the latest version of Microsoft's official media player, which comes bundled with Windows 7. It's not that different from version 11 - except for some slight changes in design - but if, like me, you haven't used Windows Media Player for a while, you'll be surprised to find a full multimedia suite with which you can not only listen to your favorite bands, but also view pictures, watch videos, rip and burn CDs, sync with mobile devices and even buy music online.

Windows Media Player 12 maintains the same design of the previous version, featuring only small changes in color (now it's clearer and brighter) and toolbar layout. The program now makes a clear difference between the Library mode - which shows the Library contents and tools - and the Now Playing mode, where you can see the currently active song, video or playlist, along with visualization effects.

Features:

Plays more media...

Windows Media Player 12 has built-in support for many popular audio and video formats - including 3GP, AAC, AVCHD, MPEG-4, WMV, and WMA. It also supports most AVI, DivX, MOV, and Xvid files.

...in more places

The new Play To feature streams music and video to other PCs running Windows 7 or compatible devices around the home. With Remote Media Streaming, you can enjoy music or videos on your home PC from the road.

New playback modes

The new Now Playing mode is a study in minimalism: It shows only the controls you need, so nothing comes between you and your music or video. A new taskbar thumbnail with playback controls makes previewing easier and fun.

Easier, more fun

Enjoy smarter DVD playback, 15-second song previews, Jump Lists for fast access to favorite media. And that's just for starters.

Pros:

* Intuitive interface
* Very easy to use: drag and drop anything
* Manage all your media files in one place
* Built-in tools for ripping audio CDs, burning discs and syncing with external devices

Free download from Shareware Connection - The latest version of Microsoft's official media player

Publisher: Microsoft | License: Freeware | Price: 0.00
Version: 12 | Size: 10035 KB | Platform: WinOther
Released Date: 11-07-2012 | Rating: 5 | Title: Windows Media Player

Author Url: http://www.microsoft.com
Program Info Url: http://www.microsoft.com
Download Url: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-media-player-12
Screenshot Url: http://i43.tinypic.com/11ttydh.png

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Shareware Connection periodically updates pricing and software information of 'Windows Media Player' from company source 'Microsoft' , so some information may be slightly out-of-date. You should confirm all information before relying on it. Software piracy is theft,  Using 'Windows Media Player' crack, password, serial numbers, registration codes, key generators is illegal and prevent future development of Windows Media Player.

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