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Microsoft Unveils Windows Media Player 7

Next-Generation Player Provides First All-in-One Experience for Consumers; Technology Preview Available for Technical Evaluators and Developers

REDMOND, Wash., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced the Microsoft® Windows Media(TM) Player 7, the next generation of the most used multimedia player among U.S. households with PCs.* Windows Media Player 7 delivers the first fully integrated digital media experience, enabling consumers to enjoy a full range of digital media including playback of CD audio, streaming and downloaded audio and video, jukebox capabilities for CD recording, media management, Internet radio, and more. Offering a completely redesigned and unified user interface for common digital media activities, Windows Media Player 7 delivers access to the features and content consumers want most, with a single click of a button.

Available today in a preview release for technical evaluators and software developers, Windows Media Player 7 marks the first milestone in making digital media easier and more accessible for consumers. Consumers today are faced with the confusion of juggling multiple applications and different user interfaces for playing their music CDs, streamed or downloaded Internet audio and video, Internet radio, or digital music jukebox applications. Windows Media Player 7 is the first digital media player for everyday consumers because it overcomes these common barriers to the mainstream use of digital media in four key areas:

    -- All-in-one integration. Windows Media Player 7 is a unified player that
       offers one place to find, organize and play digital media and provides
       one-click access to the most common digital media activities. This
       integration of common digital media activities includes these:

       -- Unified player. Playback of streamed and downloadable digital audio,
          video and Internet radio content is possible.
       -- CD playback and digital recording. Jukebox functionality enables
          users to play or copy an entire CD to their PC in just a few minutes
          with a single click.
       -- Enhanced media library. Users can customize, manage and store
          streamed and downloaded audio, video and radio in a single place.
       -- Media guide. Users can easily search, find, download and play audio
          and video content on the Web with the integrated WindowsMedia.com
          audio-video guide.
       -- Internet radio tuner. Fast, immediate access to over 1,500 Internet
          radio stations from around the world offers users the superior sound
          quality of the Windows Media Format.

    -- Easy to use. Every feature of Windows Media Player 7 is designed to
       make the digital media experience as easy as possible for consumers.
       New innovations include the following:

       -- New look and design. A simplified yet powerful user interface
          ensures that common activities are only a single click away.
       -- One-click portable device and storage media support. This makes it
          easy for consumers to take their music anywhere, with a new built-in
          ability to transfer music from the PC to the next generation of
          portable music devices, Palm-size PC devices or Compact Flash
          readers.

    -- Best audio and video experience. Windows Media Player 7 builds on
       industry-leading Windows Media audio and video technology by adding
       unmatched control of audio and video playback.

       -- Best audio. Windows Media Format provides CD-quality music in files
          half the size of MP3 files, doubling music storage capacity and
          reducing download times for CD-quality digital music.
       -- The best video quality at all speeds. Windows Media Player 7
          automatically adjusts video quality for all connection rates, from
          28.8Kbps modem connections to near-broadcast-quality video at
          broadband speeds.
       -- Eye-catching visualizations support. Customizable two- and
          three-dimensional animations change and move in response to music.
       -- Improved audio and video controls. These include an integrated
          10-band audio equalizer and advanced video controls that easily
          adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and hue.

    -- More personality. Completely customizable interface designs extend the
       functionality and fun of Windows Media Player 7, enabling consumers and
       content providers to create a unique digital media experience.

       -- Interactive skins. Skins allow consumers to change the look and feel
          of their player just as they change their music depending on their
          mood. In addition, this technology is standards-based using open Web
          standards such as XML and JavaScript.
       -- AMG-enhanced album and artist information. This provides users with
          integrated access to ratings, reviews and discographies for their
          favorite artists, straight from All Music Guide, the world's most
          comprehensive entertainment database for music.
       -- Great new branding and customization opportunities for content
          providers. Content providers can use the standards-based skins to
          customize the look of the player for their own brand. For example,
          they can create a player designed around a company or product logo,
          or the specific image of an artist. This creates a whole new way for
          content providers to connect with their audiences.

"Consumers have told us that they need an easier way to embrace the multiple forms of digital media on their PCs today," said Will Poole, vice president of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "Windows Media Player 7 is designed to bring these activities together into one unified place, and make digital audio and video an easy-to-use experience for PC users of all levels."

Availability

The Windows Media Player 7 Technology Preview for software developers and technical evaluators is available for download today at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/. Versions are available for the Microsoft Windows® 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems and will be a premier feature of the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition. The final release of Windows Media Player 7 is scheduled to be available later this year.

About Windows Media and Microsoft

Windows Media, the leading digital media platform, provides consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies, which include Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK), are available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . The Windows Media Player is the fastest-growing digital media player and is available in 24 languages. To date, there are over 100 million licensed copies of the Windows Media Player, growing by more than one every second.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

  • Analysis by Media Metrix Inc. for U.S. households, December 1999 Soft Usage Report, includes all versions of Windows Media Player.

NOTE: Microsoft, the Microsoft Internet Explorer logo, Windows Media and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE: Microsoft Corp.




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