Windows Media Player 9 Series became available for download yesterday at www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/. It includes a Smart Jukebox feature that lets users manage a collection of up to 10,000 songs and grants faster access to the audio and video library.
It can create playlists Microsoft is to release updated versions of its Windows Media Player and Windows Movie Maker software over the next two days and can update information about songs, including correct track, artist and album names.
Windows Media Player 9 Series offers support for Fast Streaming, which is included in Windows Media Services 9 Series in Windows .net Server 2003. Fast Streaming offers instant-on/always-on streaming for broadband users. It offers better sound quality than previous versions and supports 5.1-channel surround sound streamed across the Web at speeds of 128Kbps and 96kHz/24-bit audio fidelity.
The latest version includes a Premium Services tab so that users access music and video subscription services from providers such as CinemaNow, FullAudio Corp. and pressplay.
Windows Movie Maker 2 for Windows XP, which will be released today, includes a revised user interface with improved time line and storyboard views. It also supports the WMV 9 format, which offers improved file compression, and can store the equivalent of 15 one-hour DV (digital video) tapes in 10Gbytes of hard drive space.
It includes around 30 video effects, 60 video transitions and more than 40 titles and credits.
Microsoft will also unveil revised licensing terms for its WMA 9 and WMV 9 codecs, which are used to convert analogue sound and video to digital code and vice versa.