Audio: The power of 10

For those that have not yet checked Windows Media Player 10 out, here's what you can expect.

Click here to view a screen shot.

Streamlined interface

It's immediately noticeable that WMP 10's interface is new and streamlined, and key tasks have been made a little easier. WMP 9's drop-down menus (File, View, Play, etc.) were set to auto-hide by default, which sometimes meant they popped up or disappeared at the strangest of times. WMP 10 has a Show Menu Bar toggle in the top right so you can see the menus or opt for the now squared-off menu-less view. Right-clicking in the top area when in this view will bring up the same menu options.

The left-side 'chrome' taskbar last seen in WMP 9 (displaying Now Playing, Media Guide, Copy from CD, Media Library, Radio Tuner, Copy to CD or Device, Premium Services, Skin Chooser) is replaced in this beta by a simplified top row of tabs: Now Playing, Library, Rip, Burn, Sync and Guide.

The Now Playing tab still features a drop arrow for quick access to Internet Radio in addition to your saved Playlists and music/video Library's contents, and the Now Playing view remains largely the same, bar a few minor tweaks. The right-side playlist column and left-side visualisation window are still present, though the latter's Now Playing Options controls have been moved from the bottom to the top.

Clicking on the TV-like icon for the Now Playing controls provides you with the same options as in WMP 9: a list of visualisations, plug-ins and enhancements. All the enhancements found in WMP 9 are back, including my personal favourites: 10-band Graphic Equaliser, Crossfading and Auto Volume Levelling, and Playback Speed (slower or faster playback).

Playback controls borrow some aspects from Apple's glossy Mac OS X interface, and feature song information together with a small graphic equaliser displayed just to their right during playback.

Improved Library view

WMP's Library view is where most of us will spend the majority of our time, as the multiple view arrangements display all sorts of information about your music and video files. Microsoft has improved WMP 10's Library by adding an always-on (unless you elect to hide it) far-right playlist pane. This is a better implementation than Nullsoft's Winamp 5, and allows you easily to manage playlists for playback or to burn to CD. Search functionality is now also provided and works quite well - though perhaps not to the same degree as iTunes or Winamp 5.

Other new Library features include dedicated views for recorded TV (useful for Media Center Edition PCs) as well as purchased audio/visual content (from services such as BigPond Music), or stores built into WMP 10 including MusicNow, CinemaNow and the (now Roxio-owned) Napster shopfront. Accessible at the top-right of WMP is the beginning of Microsoft's Digital Media Mall strategy which is intended to provide more choice than, say, iTunes Music Store.

WMP 10 also has a dedicated view to see which files have been copied to a removable device such as an MP3 player, or the forthcoming Microsoft-based Portable Media Players (PMPs). WMP's Janus digital rights management (DRM) now supports over 60 portable devices - you'll need a compliant device if you intend to transfer music obtained from online services such as the afore-mentioned BigPond Music. A full listing can be found at

This is also where WMP 10's other most interesting new feature - the Sync view - comes into play. Microsoft has developed a technology called Multimedia Transport Protocol (MTP) that allows MTP-supported portable devices to be recognised automatically without the need for drivers, third-party applications or other fiddling. Whether this becomes widely supported remains to be seen, but one benefit includes a 230MB USB 2.0 MP3 player that automatically synchronises music rated 4 stars or more in your Library.

PC Remote Controls

If you're a PC lounge lizard and fancy sitting back on the couch and controlling audio/visual jukebox software such as Winamp or Windows Media Player, these two infrared PC remote controls are a blast.

The $82 IR501 from Anyware Computers ( and the $US50 SnapStream Media Firefly ( have small boxes that connect to your PC's USB port with which the remote unit communicates. Each has unique features but both should work nicely within a 3m range. How cool is that?

WMP 10's Library view includes a playlist pane. Right-click a track and go to Properties to view licence information for purchased music.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Danny Allen

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?