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Topic 381 of 395: Microsoft Media Player

Tue, May 5, 1998 (02:54) | Forrest H. Stroud (buzz)
Media Player is the latest universal media player released by Microsoft and is
designed to receive and playback streaming audio and video media over the
Internet or your private intranet. The player serves as the successor to the
standard media player in Windows 3.x/95/NT and will be a critical component of
the upcoming releases of Windows 98, NT 5.0, and Internet Explorer 5.0. It also
serves as the successor to the Microsoft NetShow player -- Media Player retains
all of NetShow 2.x's features and functionality and at the same time delivers a
ton of its own. Media Player is also the only client available that will
play encoded and/or served NetShow 3.0 media files.

The player is based on Microsoft DirectX 5.2 and specifically
utilizes DirectShow. DirectShow is the media-streaming architecture for Windows
that enables the delivery of the highest possible performance for multimedia
streamed content. DirectShow support and additional improvements allow Media
Player to put NetShow 2.0, the Windows Media Player, and most of the competition
to shame in terms of performance and audio/video quality. But performance and
quality are only two of the areas that Media Player excels in; perhaps even more
critical is the player's outstanding functionality and versatility.

In addition to support for NetShow 3.0 content, Media Player also offers support
for the following formats - streaming media for NetShow 2.x (Advanced Streaming
Format (ASF) and ASX files) and RealMedia 4.0 (RA, RAM, RM, and RMM files);
video content for Audio Visual Interleave (AVI), QuickTime (MOV and QT), and
MPEG (MPG, MPEG, MP2, MPA, and MPE); music clips in the Musical Instrument
Digital Interface format (MIDI, MID, and RMI); and audio sound bytes for
Macintosh AIFF Resource (AIF, AIFC, and AIFF), Sun Microsystems and NeXT Java
(AU and SND), and Audio for Windows (WAV) files.

One of the Media Player's coolest features is its codec auto-download
capabilities. The player automatically downloads new codecs from Microsoft and
third parties as they become available, ensuring that you will always have the
latest and greatest codecs at hand for your viewing pleasure. Additional
features include quick resize capabilities for changing the size of video images
at will (can range from 1/16th of the screen to full screen playback), a ten
second playlist preview option, a more intuitive and attractive interface, and
new buttons for rewinding and fast forwarding clips. Like NetShow 2.x, the
Media Player can also function as either a standalone player or a plug-in for
Internet Explorer (obviously) and Netscape Communicator.

NetShow 2.x got Microsoft into the streaming multimedia game, but Media Player
makes Microsoft a real competitor for the first time. Media Player has improved
on all of NetShow's 2.x features while at the same time eliminating its
deficiencies (most notably the requirement for two different players -- one to
play files in the Microsoft ASF format and another to play those in the Real
Audio/Real Video format). RealMedia retains at least one trump card in its hand
with the "RealFlash" animation content support offered by v5.0 of RealPlayer.
Still, in considering all of the major factors that come in to play in the war
of multimedia streaming clients -- audio and video quality, performance,
versatility, ease of use, and functionality -- perhaps it is time to crown a new

Pros: Outstanding real-time audio/video on demand, excellent support for
NetShow 3.0 and other A/V formats
Cons: Lacks the "RealFlash" animation content support offered by
RealPlayer 5.0

For the latest information on Microsoft Media Player, check out:
4 responses total.

 Topic 381 of 395 [apps]: Microsoft Media Player
 Response 1 of 4: Kevin  (kevdavis) * Thu, May  7, 1998 (16:27) * 1 lines 
This beta does not even run on my Win95 with DirectX 5.2. In fact, it doesn't even get far enough to CRASH. I would wait until a later beta...

 Topic 381 of 395 [apps]: Microsoft Media Player
 Response 2 of 4: John Tubbs  (WhytKnyt) * Thu, Sep 24, 1998 (17:26) * 2 lines 
Version 6.0? The Microsoft download site says it's version 5.2.

 Topic 381 of 395 [apps]: Microsoft Media Player
 Response 3 of 4: Conference Administrator (cfadm) * Thu, Jun 17, 2004 (19:37) * 1 lines 

 Topic 381 of 395 [apps]: Microsoft Media Player
 Response 4 of 4: Austin Blog  (austinblog) * Thu, Jun 17, 2004 (22:20) * 3 lines 
It sure has gotten sophisticated. It's one of the great downloads. I was marveling at it today when I searched and listened to "Air America" which isn't on my local radio dial.

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