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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Windows Media Player 11 - Alive and Kickin'

Windows Media Player 11 - Alive and Kickin'

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It's been coming for a while, and for those of you using Vista, you've had the pleasure of it for a long time now, but Windows Media Player 11 is finally here, and, in my opinion, its a huge step up from WMP10.

I posted a while back, when the Beta 2 was released, but now that it's here, I thought I would take the chance to share what I like about Media Player 11.

Firstly, the design. I find it now so simple to use, to find my music, to create and edit playlists, to sync devices, using back / forward buttons to navigate it a godsend for me, and the album art is such a good way to display your music, and looks cool when you are sat next to someone on the train! (Depending on your music collection of course!)  You can, of course, go back to the old style menu's if you like!

Secondly, and I know I mentioned this in the 'Firstly' section, and it is something I bang on about a lot when talking about Vista, but Search, for me, is the quality improvement in WMP11.  I love being able to find the exact music I want, really quickly, and I mean, really quickly.  The search is also context sensitive, depending on your current view in the library.  For example, if I am in the 'Artist' section of the library, all my albums are organised by 'Artist', with multiple albums from the same artist stacked in a cool way, but if I then use search, it returns just those albums by that artist: 

I can then double click and drill down further, and I am presented with all the tracks for that artists, separated by album. From this view, I could play all the tracks from all the albums in order, or shuffle them etc.  It's just a really cool way of accessing your tracks.

I also think the way that WMP11 accesses the meta services site, to automatically update your track information online, in the background, is really cool, and is even cooler when you pull those tracks into Media Center.  It really makes a difference to the user experience, being able to visualise those album covers, just as if you were looking through your CD collection in a rack at home.

Seeing as I don't actually own a portable music player yet (I'm waiting for the Zune!), I haven't really embraced downloading music from stores such as URGE just yet, but the way they integrate with WMP11, providing a consistent interface, can only be good for users.  Instead of using music download sites so far, I've stuck with ripping CD's, and WMP11 has many different ripping formats that you can use.

One of the final things for me, and it relates to the organising and searching, is the ability to jump between libraries of recorded TV, video and pictures as well as music.  This is something I personally find very useful.  Again, the search is all context sensitive, so you could search by actor in the video library, or tags in the pictures library.

Now you may have heard that today, there has been an update to the Xbox Live Dashboard and one of the new features is the ability to stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11, Zune software, or Windows Media Connect.  This is great!  We all know, as Chris Benard states on his blog, that Windows Media Connect is a CPU and Memory hogger, so streaming directly between WMP11's and Extenders is so much better!  Chris gives a pretty good guide on how to set all this up on his blog too.


You can also read more about this over at Digital Home.


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  • You can't use the Zune with Urge! How is this not clear?

  • Hi Wouter,

    I think you may have misread my post - I'm not trying to say the Zune works with URGE, I was purely stating 2 facts: Number 1 being I'm waiting for a Zune, and Number 2, I havent embraced downloading music from stores such as URGE.  I purely used URGE as it is a currently available example, not, as you suggest, because I thought it was compatible with the Zune.



  • i got a windows media player 11 but the language is not enlish and i failed to change the language. any body can help me????

  • Hi,

    So, if I understand you correctly, you'd like to change the language TO English?  Is this on Windows XP?

    I'm afraid you have to uninstall and then re-install.  If it's on Vista, let me know and I'll try to help you out.


  • Hey Matt,

    I found your site through google because you have a related topic to what i'm looking for.

    I'm in Korea working and bought myself a laptop here.

    Bad part is, it's all in Korean! That's not that bad because I understand some, but it's a real pain using Media Player 11. Do you know how to change the language to English?

    I've tried just about everything to uninstall, but that's impossible. lol

  • Hi,

    I got wmp 11 on vista ultimate. I have an avi with two audio tracks. The default is on czech and whenever i change to every single english language on Play > audio and language tracks >  from english [aus] to english [zimbabwe] it doesnt change it to english.

    I played the avi on divx and it can change from one audio track to another with no prob but it cant seem to work on wmp 11. help me out please.


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