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Microsoft Transforms Audio and Video Experience on the PC With Release of Windows Media Player 7 Beta

Only Player to Deliver All-in-One Experience Is First to Include SRS WOW 3-D Audio Enhancement Technology

REDMOND, Wash. -- May 2, 2000 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of the beta version of Microsoft® Windows Media™ Player 7. The beta release, available for download from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ and http://WindowsMedia.com/, furthers Microsoft's efforts to bring digital media to the mainstream by enabling consumers to enjoy a full range of digital media activities, including CD audio playback, streamed and downloaded audio and video, jukebox capabilities for CD recording, media management, and Internet radio. The Windows Media Player 7 beta version introduces pioneering new features including SRS WOW™ 3-D audio enhancement technology, breakthrough audio and video quality, unmatched support for popular portable devices and storage media, and new customization features.

"Windows Media Player 7 offers unparalleled ease of use and dramatic improvements in audio and video quality," said Dave Fester, general manager of marketing for the Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "These advancements open the door to digital media for millions of consumers."

The beta version of Windows Media Player 7 has made significant enhancements in four key areas:

  • Best audio and video experience. The Windows Media Player 7 beta includes SRS WOW audio enhancement technology, which creates a panoramic 3-D sound image and offers deep, rich bass on PC speaker systems of all types. This beta release also offers breakthrough audio and video quality, including playback of 60 frames per second (FPS) full-motion video.
  • All-in-one functionality. A new radio tuner and integration with the redesigned WindowsMedia.com makes it easy for users to find and enjoy movies, music, news, Internet radio and more. Windows Media Player 7 brings multiple functions into a single application and easy-to-use interface.
  • Ease-of-use features. Windows Media Player 7 offers one-click transfer of music to more popular portable music players and storage devices than any other media player.
  • More personality. New skins and visualizations add excitement, interaction and a truly personal experience to Windows Media Player 7.

Best Audio and Video Experience

Windows Media Player 7 builds on industry-leading Windows Media audio and video technology by adding unmatched control of audio and video playback. The Windows Media Player 7 beta is the first PC software to integrate the innovative SRS WOW 3-D audio enhancement technology from SRS Labs Inc. Including technology previously available only in consumer electronics devices such as home stereo systems and televisions, SRS WOW virtually enlarges PC speaker systems, delivering the audio equivalent of significantly larger speakers and creating the perception of being surrounded by the music. In addition, SRS WOW includes bass enhancement technology that accurately reproduces the bass tones from a stereo or mono recording, creating deep, rich bass beyond what the speakers themselves can physically produce due to size limitations. Over 50 million products from over 150 leading brand-name manufacturers, including Sony Electronics Inc., Pioneer-Standard Electronics Inc., Philips Consumer Electronics Co., Kenwood USA Corp., IBM Corp. and RCA Electronics, have shipped a variety of consumer electronics such as televisions, computers, home stereo systems, DVD players and car audio products with one of SRS Labs' patented, award-winning technologies.

In addition, Windows Media Player 7 builds on industry-leading Windows Media audio and video technology by adding unmatched audio and video quality, including 60FPS full-motion playback, support for film-sourced 24FPS content, and first-ever support for streamed playback of PC-based screen-capture content. These new improvements provide even better audio quality for CD recordings with the latest Windows Media audio technology. Windows Media Player 7 automatically adjusts video quality for all connection rates, from 28.8Kbps modem connections to broadcast-quality video at broadband speeds.

All-in-One Integration

Windows Media Player 7 offers one place to find, organize and play digital media and provides one-click access to the most common digital media activities, including playback of CDs as well as streamed and downloaded audio and video, digital recording, and more than 1,900 Internet radio stations. Also new in this beta release is improved integration with the redesigned WindowsMedia.com audio and video guide, also announced and available today. The new WindowsMedia.com offers easy access to ratings, reviews and discographies for favorite artists from the comprehensive All Music Guide (AMG).

Ease of Use

Every feature of Windows Media Player 7 is designed to make the digital media experience as easy as possible for consumers with an intuitive, friendly design and one-click transfer of digital media to portable music players and storage devices. This beta version also offers more comprehensive integrated support for music transfer to more portable devices and storage media than any other player, including RCA Lyra by THOMSON multimedia; Pocket PC and Palm-size PC devices; CompactFlash; Smartmedia; and Iomega Jaz, Zip and Clik! drives.

More Personality

Responding to consumer and content provider demand for a more personalized way to enjoy music, Windows Media Player 7 delivers features to completely customize the digital media experience. These include interactive skins that personalize and animate the look of the player and visualizations that move to the music and can be displayed in full screen mode to completely immerse the viewer. More skins and visualizations will be available for download from WindowsMedia.com. Also, to coincide with the beta release of Windows Media Player 7, CNET Download.com is introducing a skins category, offering consumers and developers an area where they can download and submit skins, at http://mediaplayer.cnet.com/. Content providers can develop skins using Internet standards to customize the look of the player for their own brand. For example, they can create a player designed around a company or product logo or the specific image of an artist.

Availability

The Windows Media Player 7 beta is available for download today from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/, http://WindowsMedia.com/ and the Windows Update Web site at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/. Versions are available for the Microsoft Windows® 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems and will be a premier feature of the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition. The final release of Windows Media Player 7 is scheduled to be available later this year.

 

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