_(The new Windows Media Player 11 now has neater album management.)_
The beta of Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11) is out with a new design. The existing product, Windows Media Player 10 (WMP10) is good enough for most people already. But Windows Media Player 11 is sleeker and looks more evil, hehee…
_(Windows Media Player 10′s three-column library. Click to enlarge.)_
WMP10 has very good library features, however it isn’t exactly the easiest to use. The problems lies with too much controls being available at a glance, it just looks confusing. People who are listening to music don’t really want to think how your interface works. They just want the music, get it playing or something.
_(Windows Media Player 11 has features better library. Click to enlarge.)_
WMP11 is a huge improvement on their, it simplifies the existing design by hiding some of the more powerful features. An example would be that the file menu is no where to be seen, to get it back, you can right click on the top menus. The general public would be delighted to see the new interface. It’s now easier to use than before.
*New features in WMP11*
_(Now playing with a different color. Click to enlarge.)_
First thing you would notice is the new playback controls. It’s been simplified
Now, Windows Media Player uses breadcrumbs in its Library. You can easily browse through your artists and albums from the breadcrumbs. This kind makes the navigational pane on the left a little redundant for me. I switched the navgational pane off after a while
Look at the back and forth buttons too. It works like those you get in your browser too. You can press back to go back to a previous artist that you have browsed on or to your Burn page. It’s universal.
And I love the whole album art idea. You can now paste an album art into WMP11 and it’ll use it in future! This release places more emphasis into finding your music easily.
_(Ripping music with Windows Media Player 11. Click to enlarge.)_
And the search! I have to mention that search’s indeed lightning fast. I am still somewhat unconvinced of its speed actually. You type and it filters on the spot. And it’s so much faster than the WMP10 too.
Ripping is easy and you can choose the format you wish to rip in. Ripping is quite fast if done in WMA. I’m not sure why though, WMA just rips faster than MP3.
*Urge music service*
_(The URGE music service, by MTV and Microsoft. Click to enlarge.)_
I haven’t tried the URGE music service. I guess I didn’t really have to urge to do so. I heard it is ready already. I’ll give it a try in future. The URGE music service is a partnership between MTV and Microsoft, it supposed to be the iTunes equivalent that they came out with. I doubt it would be successful. To win this online music game, you need a popular music player, like iPod. Unfortunately Apple’s music player does not support MP3 or WMA formats.
_(Burning feature in Windows Media Player 11. Click to enlarge.)_
*Flaws of WMP11*
Windows Media Player can be used for videos, pictures and music. But it seems that most users, including myself, would use it for playing MP3s and WMAs. The library is design to let users search their music better. I tried to add videos, they do work but it’s kinda useless. As for pictures, I can’t find a way to assign keywords or tag the photographs. It would be great if Windows Media Player 11 would allow that.
*And the bugs*
Windows Media Player 11 beta is not without bugs:
* When I edit the year by right clicking on the year in album view, I will be able to edit. When I type in 2006, it gives me 2005 later. And when I type in 1998, it gives me 1997. It’s always minus one. What’s happening? It seemed like a bad joke.
* The Advance Tag Editor didn’t work very well sometimes when editing multiple music files. If I were to select all my Ayumi Hamasaki songs and rename her as Hamasaki Ayumi, some files still get left out if more one of the music files already have the name Hamasaki Ayumi as the artist.
* If sort by title, album art are used as the icons of each of the songs. Problem is that most of the songs still doesn’t have the icon. And only like one song in the whole album has that icon. Not very nice.
* And there are times when there is an album art when in the album’s view, but there is no art work in the overall album listview. Isn’t there something wrong here?
Asides thiese bugs, Windows Media Player 11 beta is sill one great media player for music. 4.5 out of 5 stars for that.