About Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player or WMP is an all in one media player, media library, and image viewer application developed and owned by Microsoft. WMP is used for playing, storing, and organizing your images, audio, and video files.

It was designed for personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system along with Pocket PC and Windows-based mobile devices, but a few editions of it were also released for earlier MAC OS.

Windows media player was first released in the year 1991 with Windows 3.0. It has replaced a previous application called Media Player, adding features beyond simple video or audio playback.

Several versions and upgrades were developed over the years with support for several formats of media. WMP was released on October 22, 2009, along with Windows 7, WMP 12 is the most recent version of Windows media player.

Since its last release, it has not been made available for earlier versions of Windows and nor has it received any update for Windows8 and Windows 10.

About Windows Media Features

The file formats are Windows Media Audio, Windows Media Video, and Advanced Systems Format, and also has its own XML based playlist format called Windows Playlist.

The player can utilize a digital rights management service in the form of Windows Media DRM, and hence, the files encoded using WMP are not compatible with iPod.

Besides being a media player, WMP has the ability to rip music from and copy music to media devices such as compact discs, recordable discs in Audio CD format with playlists such as synchronize content and an MP3 CD with other mobile devices or MP3 player or , and enable users to buy or rent music from a number of online music stores.

Windows Media Player features a full-keyboard based operation and supports playback of audio, video, and pictures with fast forward, reverse, variable playback speed and pause/play options.

It also supports streaming playback, local playback with progressive downloads and multicast streams

Items in the playlist can be skipped for the time being at playback time without removing them from the playlist. Full keyboard-based operation is possible in the player.

Version 7 of WMP introduced the full media management through the integrated media library that allows cataloging and media searching.

There was also an option to sort media according to albums, artists, dates, etc. Fast Access Panel to browse and navigate the entire library was introduced with the 9th version, which continues in the 10th version but was later withdrawn in the 11th version.

About Supported Formats

Windows Media Player features support for Windows Media Codecs and media formats such as MP3 and WAV.

Multichannel audio with up to 24-bit, 192 kHz resolution is supported on WMP series nine and later. Using specific Media Foundation codecs, support for any media codec and container format can be added.

If compatible decoders are installed, the player can support DVD and Blu-ray playback functionality with support for titles, menus and chapters, parental controls, and audio track language selection.

Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoders and MPEG-2 were included beginning with Windows Media Player 11, whereas Media Player 12 added native support for H.264 and MPEG-4 Part 2 video formats, ALAC, AAC audio, and 3GP, MP4 and MOV container formats with an added ability to play AVCHD formats.

About Opening Windows Media Player

  • Press Windows key on the keyboard and write media player in the search bar; the Windows Media player will be listed as an option.
  • Press Windows Key+R. Then type: wmplayer.exe and hit Enter.

About playing Music CD on WMP

To play music CD in Windows Media Player, refer to the steps below.

  • Launch Windows Media Player.
  • Open the CD drive on the computer and place the music CD in the disc tray, after that close the disc tray.
  • Click on the music CD, then select the music track you want to play.
  • If CD does not start to play automatically, look for the music CD in the left navigation pane of WMP. It should be listed by the album title.
  • Click on the play button to start playing the music CD.

Drawbacks and Alternatives

Just like every coin has two sides, WMP also has several disadvantages that it was not able to catch on and improve.

Unlike other free media players, WMP lacks several desired features, such as lack of DVD support with Windows8. Another major drawback is its inability to stream the video properly and is considerably more noticeable on slow internet connections. Since WMP uses Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM and not FairPlay DRM, files encoded using WMP are not compatible with the iPod.

The advent of several free and advanced media players such as VLC media player, Kodi player, etc. also affected the popularity of WMP. Though available with Microsoft Windows 10, other applications such as Groove Music, Movies, and TV app have been promoted mainly by Microsoft.

Paul has more than 10 years of experience within the digital realm. He loves to talk about his ‘HOT’ girlfriend and when it comes to geeky boring topics, and nerdy technical issues he’s a magic man. Paul also enjoys reading and solving complex puzzles. "Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you" -Edward W. Bok 1929