Windows Media Player 11 has been released by Microsoft. The new player features a new interface, increased support for portable players, and integration with the Urge music service.
Mike Sievert, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows, said that the new features are "a preview of what's to come in Windows Vista".
There are new navigation options, which allow users to organise music by album art using a new "stacking" style interface, which is similar to interfaces used by iTunes. Microsoft has also added audio fingerprinting software, which will analyse new music and automatically update it with artist, track and album information, all by consulting an online database. Other new features added to the media player include a facility which allows users to manage recorded TV shows. There are also more options for syncing features on digital media devices.
What will interest users probably the most, though, is the inclusion of Urge. This is a joint venture between Microsoft and MTV, which will provide users with access to more than two million songs and is the preferred download service in Media Player 11. This is accessible as a subscription service, or on a per-song basis. It is currently only available in the US but wider ranging availability is planned.