Streaming Media Bonanza from Microsoft
Microsoft delighted fans of streaming media with a triple play in late
May: a new integrated version of Windows
Media Player that includes streaming, a new Pocket PC-friendly web
site that offers streaming media, and a free CD with music and full-length
movies for the new Media Player, as well as games.
Microsoft had earlier offered streaming media via a preview release,
but that meant having both your regular media player plus the streaming
player on your Pocket PC. This new release, Windows
Media Player 7.1, combines them--and adds a host of additional
features, such as viewing movies in landscape mode.
WMP 7.1 includes full wireless support and also adds support for V8,
which offers the highest quality audio and video. It also adds easy
playlist management, Digital Rights Management, and integrated help. One
useful feature is the ability to shut down the Player application and
still continue to play music in the background, helping preserve memory
and battery life.
And to help you get the most out of you new Player, Microsoft announced
a version of WindowsMedia.Com
that's tailored to the small screen of the Pocket PC and offers a variety
of streaming content. (If you try to view it on your desktop, you'll
simply get the version that's intended for a large screen.)
View it on your Pocket PC, and you'll see a small selection of
streaming media in this beta version of the site. Offerings include streaming
video news sites such as CNet, MSNBC, and Slate (from Audible). There are
also a few selections of music.
A "Radio" area of the site offers a small number of streaming
radio stations, including KISS FM and Village Voice Radio. A
"Video" area of the site offers streaming videos such as music
videos, news, and "Memorable Football Moments."
Media Play Pack for Pocket PC is only available in the U.S. and Canada
and has movies, music, games, and more. It's free to the first 10,000
people to download, and after that there's a small shipping fee.
Streaming media can be fun. You'll find Microsoft's new Windows Media
site and a few other streaming sites listed in our mobile
directory. Let me know if you come across other streaming sites for
the Pocket PC: jim_karpen [at] pocketpcmag [dot] com.