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Windows Media Player (WMP)

Windows Media Player (WMP) is a software application from Microsoft used to play, store and organize digital audio, images and video. While earlier editions of WMP were released for PC s running a variety of operating system operating systems, including Windows Mobile.

WMP uses the WMV , WMA and ASF file formats to encode audio and video downloaded from the Internet or ripped from compact discs or other storage media. Recent versions of WMP also include the ability to synchronize digital media with a portable media player, like Microsoft's Zune or Creative's Zen , and purchase or rent content from online media stores. Because WMP uses Microsoft's Windows Media DRM , not FairPlay DRM, files encoded using WMP are not compatible with the iPod .

Facing increased competition from Apple Computer's iTunes software, Microsoft released Windows Media Player 11 in the fall of 2006. The new version incorporated improved navigation, with graphical representation of media files, live search features, CD burning , media library sharing and improved support for streaming media over a network.

Windows Media Player is offered as a free download from Microsoft's Web site, with the exception of the mobile version of the software, which only ships with Windows Mobile devices.

This was last updated in November 2006

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