The History of Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player 6.1
Released with Windows 98 Second Edition the multimedia player that had been part of the Windows operating system for many years now had a name,Windows Media Player.
Windows Media Player now allowed Microsoft to grow a stable and expandable media software which would improve the user's interaction with media they had on their PC's
Windows Media Player 6.1 now allowed users to play back the MP3 format, which was very widely used at the time.
If you wanted to see how this version looked you can still access the very first edition of Windows Media Player on your Windows machine simply go to the Start menu, clicking run and then typing:
This is still used by some users when they have compatibility issues, I recommend you try this player to play the files that may not work on Windows Media Player 9 or above, it doesn't always work but is worth a try
Windows Media Player 7.1
In conjunction with the release on Windows 2000, Microsoft released Windows Media Player 7.1.
This player looked very different to 6.1. It had a much more graphical interface and was overall a better experience.
Microsoft used this new version to create its first 'Windows Media Series' named Windows Media Series 7.
This series was bought in to tie a family of media software together.
This gave Microsoft huge leverage to compete against the big guns Quicktime and Real, who had been long established as the giants of audio and visual software in the PC market.
With Windows Media Player 7 came codecs these special file protocols allowed for creation and playback of content.
Microsoft released Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Video 7 in an attempt to distance itself from the other more universal formats such as AVI and MP3.
Windows Media Player 8 or real title name: Windows XP Media Player
Windows Media Player 8 was the next release from the folks at Microsoft, released with the brand new Windows XP operating system.
The main things updated in this new version were primarily the Windows Media Player codec series renamed 'Windows Media Series 8' , content was quickly reformatted into this series.
The only downside for some Windows 2000 or before users was that the software was only available for download for Windows XP!!!!
But at the same time those who were lucky enough to own Windows XP enjoyed a whole new level of interactivity with content.
The new codec series allowed a great experience with streaming audio and video across the internet.
Windows Media Player 9
In January 2003, Windows XP Media Player was no more. Microsoft went back to naming it 'Windows Media Player' in its ninth version.
A new codec series was again updated and called the "Windows Media Player 9 Series".
Windows Media Player 9 was released on most Windows operating system, but again Windows XP got the privilege of having a bit more functionality.
Some users stuck with Windows XP Media Player, it was announced that you could easily update the Windows XP Media Player with the new codec series, which suited a lot of users who weren't in a rush to upgrade.
Windows Media Player 9 achieved new highs and was the media software that had the most number of downloads in it's first month, 14 million in total!!!
Windows Media Player 10
On October 12 2004, Windows Media Player 10 was born.
The Windows Media Player team were using some key functionality that was to be used in the new operating system Longhorn (now called Windows Vista).
They introduced a simpler interface and a more exciting experience, they introduced a tab system which included such options as 'Rip,Burn and Sync'
Windows Media Player was a great way to show competitors such as iTunes how it could do much more within the program, however the one problem with this player many felt was the messy interface especially in the library.
Many panes clogged up the UI and made it quite an awkward experience at times for many, but the Media library still allowed you to access many different options such as CD/DVD's, portable devices.
This process simplified the experience a lot!
The Media Guide was improved a lot now as well, the clever thing Microsoft did was partnering was big name music download stores and putting them into the software.
This saved people downloading separate pieces of software. They also included a new look MSN Music download store users could browse
A new purchased section allowed easy access to all downloaded music from MSN Music or Napster.
Napster was seen as the best option at the time for many. There was a greater compatibility introduced for portable media devices.
A new format was adopted called 'Plays for Sure'.
This was something that meant just the players that had the functionality could be synced with Windows Media Player.
The big companies such as Creative were straight on the bandwagon with this, Microsoft were sticking it to Apple who were doing similar things with iTunes allowing just the iPod to sync with iTunes.
Windows Media Player 11
First released as a beta in May 2006, the new Windows Media Player wowed many people.
The interface had become a lot more cleaner then ever before and it really looked great.
This version saw the menu bar at top being removed, to retrieve it you simply had to right click to bring up a drop down menu with all the familiar menu systems.
A new partnership was created by Microsoft and MTV, the music download service called URGE is quite possibly the best challenge anyone had to iTunes.
iTunes had been very dominant on the online music download market since the release of the iPod in 2001.
But this new service offered over 2 million tracks from thousands of different music labels including some independent ones.
This new version of Windows Media Player now also supported burning WAV audio files to CD.
They also improved sharing options, making it more dynamic by offering wireless connection from the PC to devices such as the XBOX 360, which meant users could now share their content across the home
This player has seen some very dynamic and exciting changes made to it. Windows Media Player has surpassed all expectations and has become an industry favourite and a consumer favourite to.
Windows Media Player 12 for Windows 7 is the latest version of the software currently available.
Click the link below to learn more about WMP12:
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