Microsoft is working on an all-new Media Player for Windows 11

Humza

Posts: 1,025   +171
Staff member
In brief: Microsoft has applied a fresh coat of paint to one of its oldest default OS apps: the venerable Windows Media Player. Now just called the ‘Media Player’ in Windows 11, the revamped app is currently rolling out to Windows Insiders in the dev channel.

There’s no shortage of third-party, potentially better alternatives to the Windows Media Player, but the latter still holds a special place in the hearts of many Windows fans who grew up watching and listening to content on the default media app. Microsoft took it out of the spotlight in Windows 10 and buried WMP in the menus as it aggressively pushed its own first-party alternatives, namely Groove Music and the Movies & TV apps that debuted on the platform with Windows 8.

However, it now looks like the Media Player is primed to make a comeback, as Microsoft has given it the Windows 11 design treatment and released the app to Windows Insiders on the dev channel.

While it carries over much of the same capabilities and functionality of the old WMP, the new app comes with a slicker interface, with Microsoft boasting of rich album art and artist imagery in the player’s full-screen and mini-player modes.

In addition to usual features like creating/managing playlists and browsing local music and videos, the app will come with improved keyboard shortcuts for accessibility.

Media Player will also replace Groove Music, migrating users’ music collections to the new app. However, it looks like Microsoft’s Movies & TV app will coexist, for now, while the legacy WMP version will remain available under Windows Tools.

Expectedly, there are a few issues and bugs with the app, as Microsoft is currently testing them with Windows Insiders. There's no word on whether Windows 10 users will get the app in a future update. It looks unlikely, given that the OS has now entered its end-of-life cycle and will see fewer feature updates going forward.

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Yenega

Posts: 302   +206
Do people really use this tho?

Oh.. I actually burned a CD for an old car recently, or 1-2 years ago 😂
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,981
Do people really use this tho?

Oh.. I actually burned a CD for an old car recently, or 1-2 years ago 😂
Well... very few use it yet... since it's only in beta...

One of the main reasons I left Windows Media Player for 3rd party solutions was because they stopped supporting actual "media"... if it doesn't play everything, why should I use it?
 

Yenega

Posts: 302   +206
Well... very few use it yet... since it's only in beta...

One of the main reasons I left Windows Media Player for 3rd party solutions was because they stopped supporting actual "media"... if it doesn't play everything, why should I use it?
Talking about WMP in general, I rarely see people use it for anything and I'm not sure "Media Player" will change this

Most use VLC I guess

However I remember WMP (with Codec packs) actually have decent image quality back in the days, also compared to VLC
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,981
Talking about WMP in general, I rarely see people use it for anything and I'm not sure "Media Player" will change this

Most use VLC I guess

However I remember WMP (with Codec packs) actually have decent image quality back in the days, also compared to VLC
Definitely - but there's a REASON people left media player all those years ago... we use VLC (and other players) because Windows Media Player failed to do what VLC does... If WMP could actually do the same stuff, I (and I suspect many others as well) would have no problem switching back.

Most people have no "loyalty" any more... if something works best for you, that's what you use.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 535   +682
Windows Media Player was great for music, and by far still was one of the best media players when it comes to an organized media collection. MS had no reason to replace it, it was perfect years ago. The fact they keep going back to it is proof. Grove and all the newer media players are crap.

Back in the day WMP needed Codec packs to watch most video formats, but did so better than VLC. Granted I still use VLC and did so many years ago for how quick and simple playing video is on VLC, with no worry of format. But VLC is a shitty music player, and if you play music via VLC. You are a monster.

I welcome a Modern WMP that just works with any media content.

The Photos app just works, and I really wish my Mac had the same built in functionality. I like opening one photo and using the arrow keys to move through everything in said folder. Modernizing WMP will finally make the default windows apps decent again. As not installing VLC or other Alt for video viewing is a Sin. The old WMP still does a decent job as a media player, but honestly these days I just use Spotify.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,875   +4,368
They should partner up with an existing player people tend to use. When I install fresh Windows I just want the basics to have my PC running, as for programs I will install what I like my self. MS' programs are mostly bloatware I just remove.

Problem is, Windows wants to be MacOS where you have everything set up out of the box but they have their own identity which they should embrace and not copy others.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 242   +201
Windows Media Player was great for music, and by far still was one of the best media players when it comes to an organized media collection. MS had no reason to replace it, it was perfect years ago.

MS was always a mess with media playback, it started with hardware acceleration very late (Intel says thanks) and very few formats. Not only but the apps were extremely limited. Every other free software did better (and... well... free). Just see what XBMC/Kodi, media player classic, vlc and many other accomplished and what MS didn't.

For me W11 accomplishes in many aspects what all other windows didn't. Why? Because they are copying Apple (visuals, simplicity, optimization) because Apple is on their tail on the consumer premium and professional segment, as Google on the lowest end. At the end MS holds due cloud, middle segment and because worldwide most companies need the compatibility.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 535   +682
They should partner up with an existing player people tend to use. When I install fresh Windows I just want the basics to have my PC running, as for programs I will install what I like my self. MS' programs are mostly bloatware I just remove.

Problem is, Windows wants to be MacOS where you have everything set up out of the box but they have their own identity which they should embrace and not copy others.
As someone that is a Macbook user, there are plenty of built in apps that get replaced nearly instantly. And others that I hate how they function but I deal with. Like the crappy photo viewer app on Mac. iTunes still sucks, the Photo viewer app is annoying let me just open a single file and arrow key through everything in the folder instead of having to highlight everything first, Pages/Sheets/etc quickly replaced with 365, replace text editor with sublime, etc. Only decent stock app is garage band. iPhoto and iMovie is decent if you don't have access to adobe apps. But they are pretty limited. iMovie is a shell of its much much much better former version.

Built in apps are what they are, built in apps. On both devices there are 3rd party options that nearly do everything better.
 

mrSister

Posts: 74   +101
Too late. Foobar2000+VLC is a winning combo on Windows. Wish Foobar had a native version for Linux too, so I could have the same combo there :(
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,138   +1,337
I've always found MP useful depending on the task at hand.MP is very useful for converting music from MP3 to audio disk and vice-versa. It's greatest weakness was the lack of codecs which sometimes have royalty fees. Never used Groove Music, I saw that as bloatware after testing it out a bit when it came out.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,584   +3,157
TechSpot Elite
Honestly, I don't really care for Media Player and never really use it. I much prefer Media Player Classic (which has been open-source for quite awhile) and I get it bundled with the K-Lite Codec packs (and it still gets updated). It's not the most versatile media player (that title definitely goes to VLC because it can play literally anything, including .iso files) but it's able to play almost everything and is definitely the easiest to use with what is (IMO), the most user-friendly interface available for a media player.
1984.jpg
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,584   +3,157
TechSpot Elite
No matter what they do, I don't see how it can be better then Media Player Classic. But I am willing to at least try it.
I'm totally with you there. Media Player Classic is the shiznit!
MS was always a mess with media playback, it started with hardware acceleration very late (Intel says thanks) and very few formats. Not only but the apps were extremely limited. Every other free software did better (and... well... free). Just see what XBMC/Kodi, media player classic, vlc and many other accomplished and what MS didn't.
The funny thing is that Media Player Classic WAS developed and released by Microsoft and, in one of their usual "corporate logic" mistakes, they abandoned it. I mean, at least they let it go open-source but they ended up shooting themselves in the foot because, from the beginning, Media Player Classic has always been WAY better than Media Player. It's kind of ironic, eh?

It's amazing the amount of genius and goodwill that go into these high-quality open-source utilities, especially when you consider that they're just given away for free. Firefox, MPC and 7zip are all perfect examples of this. I'd take those three programs over Chrome/Edge, Media Player and WinRAR seven days a week and twice on Sundays!
 

GamerNerves

Posts: 175   +108
Will it be able to play BluRay and UHD content? How about DVDs? They went out of their way to cripple that functionality...

Very much this. How is it possible that an advanced OS like Windows is not able to play official Bluray discs just out of the gate? Why it has to be this way? Why some free program like Leawo can do this instead, but unfortunately not perfectly.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,819   +7,741
Very much this. How is it possible that an advanced OS like Windows is not able to play official Bluray discs just out of the gate? Why it has to be this way? Why some free program like Leawo can do this instead, but unfortunately not perfectly.
Blu-ray DRM has morphed over the years. One aspect is called, "Cinavia". Sometimes releases that have this protection, carry it over to the DVD version an well.

This stymied me recently with a DVD of, "Black Widow". The DVD apparently had Cinavia protection. I have a Blu-ray drive in the PC, and WMP refused to play it.

No problems whatsoever though, in playing the disc in a free standing DVD player.

I stuffed the Blu-ray drive in the PC, simply because I knew the tray opening mechanism was working perfectly, and the DVD drive in the machine had failed completely.

In fact, I'm sitting here thinking I should yank the drive, and put in a standard DVD recording drive. (I've been putting it off, but this thread brought it back up to the top of my "to do list").
 

Yenega

Posts: 302   +206
Definitely - but there's a REASON people left media player all those years ago... we use VLC (and other players) because Windows Media Player failed to do what VLC does... If WMP could actually do the same stuff, I (and I suspect many others as well) would have no problem switching back.

Most people have no "loyalty" any more... if something works best for you, that's what you use.
Yeah but VLC have never been about quality. It's a swiss knife, plays pretty much everything but lacks on the quality output.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 535   +682
Very much this. How is it possible that an advanced OS like Windows is not able to play official Bluray discs just out of the gate? Why it has to be this way? Why some free program like Leawo can do this instead, but unfortunately not perfectly.
It is really rare to see a Disc drive in general on a PC. The only new machines I see them on is Business class, and they never get used. PC's make for pretty crappy Blu-ray players, and these days I feel like the only people using a bluray drive on a PC is for ripping the media to their plex server.

While I agree it should be able to play out the box, it is just another license MS has to pay for. And no one is going to use it. So I get it.

But I should be able to open up any media in any modern codec. Music, Video, etc.

Same goes for rar files, windows should be able to open from the get go.