Windows Media Player 11

Windows Media Player 11 is a proprietary software digital media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and 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 the Apple Macintosh and Solaris operating systems, but have 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, synchronize content with a digital audio player (MP3 player) or other mobile devices, and let users purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores.

Windows Media Player 11 features many changes. The Media Library is now presented without the category trees which were prominent in the earlier versions. Rather, on selecting the category in the left pane, the contents will appear on the right, in a graphical manner with thumbnails – a departure from textual presentation of information. Views for audio, video, pictures and record TV are separate and either can be chosen at one time, from the navigation bar. Entries for pictures and video show their thumbnails.

When designing Windows Media Player 11, they looked at the needs of a wide range of users – from people who are just getting started with digital media to discriminating audiophiles with very large collections on their PCs. By incorporating this feedback into the design process, they made some significant changes to the Player to deliver a simpler, more visual way to navigate music, video, and other digital media and further improve the overall experience.

Here is a list of the Windows Media Player included features:

  • Playback of audio, video and pictures, along with fast forward, reverse, seek and time compression and dilation.
  • Supports local playback, streaming playback and progressive downloads as well.
  • Support for any media codec and container format using specific DirectX filters.
  • Full media management, via the integrated media library, which offers cataloging and searching of media. Media can be arranged according to album, artist, genre, date et al.
  • Video Smoothing which upscales frame-rate by interpolating added frames, in effect giving a smoother playback on low-framerate videos.
  • Includes 10-band graphic equalizer and SRS WOW audio post-processing system. Windows Media
    Player can also have attached plug-ins which process the output audio or video data. 
  • Mini mode in WMP11 running on Windows XPFeatures 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, visualization or the video being played back.
  • Can use video overlays or VMR9 surfaces, if the video card supports them.
  • Can offload media decompression to video card if supported by hardware.
  • Features integrated CD-burning support for audio as well as data CDs. 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.
  • Audio CDs can be ripped to either WMA format, as well as MP3. 24 bit high-resoultion CDs are also supported, if capable audio hardware is present.
  • Features synchronization support with many hand-held devices. Media can be optionally transcoded to a format better suited for the target device, automatically, when synchronizing.
  • Includes intrinsic support for Windows Media codecs which support multichannel audio at upto 24-bit 192 KHz resolution.
  • Supports subtitles and closed-captioning, if present in the media.
    Features "Synchronized Lyrics", by which different lines of lyrics can be time-stamped, so that they display only at those times.

Here is a list of the new and improved Windows Media Player 11 features:

  • Stacking – Stacking allows graphical viewing of how many albums you have in a specific category of music. The more items you see in a stack (category), the larger the pile.
  • Word Wheel – Searches and displays results as characters are being entered, without waiting for Enter key to be hit. . Results are refined based on further characters that are typed.
  • CD Burning – CD Burning now shows a graphical bar showing how much space will be used on the disc.
  • URGE – The new music store from Microsoft and MTV networks is integrated with the player.
  • Global Status – Global status shows a broad overview of what the player is doing. The information presented include status information regarding buffering, ripping, burning and synchronization.
  • Improved synchronization features for loading songs onto PlaysForSure-compatible MP3 players. WMP11 supports reverse-synchronization, by which media present on the handheld device gets replicated on the source machine.
  • Support for ripping audio CDs to WAV format.
  • Streaming content to UPnP enabled receivers, over a network.

The minimum requirements of the Windows Media Player 11 program are:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition SP2, or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2
  • A 233-megahertz (MHz) processor, such as an Intel Pentium II or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processor
  • 64 megabytes (MB) or RAM – 512 MB or higher recommened
  • 200 MB of free hard drive space
  • Video card with 64 MB of RAM (video RAM or VRAM) and DirectX 9.0b
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or Netscape 7.1
Review by Jared Moya

Windows Media Player 11 has an average rating 3.7 out of 5 based on 19 user ratings.