Windows 11: New media player is being tested

Microsoft has rolled out the new media player for Insiders in the Dev Channel under Windows 11. The new app replaces Groove Music.

Windows 11: New media player is being tested

Photo Credits: Microsoft / promo

The venerable Windows Media Player has not been further developed since 2012, but it is over now. Microsoft has distributed the new media player as a preview version to Insider in the Dev Channel under Windows 11. The app welcomes users to the start page with the option to play music or video files. Alternatively, a URL can also be included as a source. However, Spotify.com does not work because such DRM-protected music cannot be played. Presumably, Spotify thwarted the bill here. Locally stored music and videos, however, can be played with the media player.

Rudimentary functionality of the new Windows Media Player      

The new media player will be distributed as an update for the previous UWP app Groove Music and is based on XAML. In the first preview version, the range of functions is still rudimentary, so that playlists can be created in addition to music and video playback, but nothing more is possible - yet. The app cannot currently play DVDs, only content stored locally on the PC or an external hard drive. However, Microsoft would like to know from users which features from the old Windows Media Player should definitely be ported to the new version.

The Films & TV app from Windows 10 remain - for the time being - independent and is not part of the new media player. With the Movies & TV app, you can watch digital movies and TV series bought in the Microsoft Store. If you want to play DVDs with films, you need the Windows DVD Player app, which costs almost 15 dollars for Windows 10 and Windows 11, or you can use free programs such as VLC Media Player.

Media player as the last UWP app?      

Groove Music and the Movies & TV app come from the age of Windows 10 and should become a kind of iTunes for Windows. In 2017 Microsoft pulled the emergency brake because it had noticed that very few users even use Groove Music and stopped further development. In addition to the app, there was also a Groove Music Pass, with which one wanted to compete with music streaming services like Spotify, but hardly any Microsoft users subscribed to the Groove Music Pass.

However, the history of Groove Music goes back to 2009. At that time, Microsoft wanted to compete with the Apple iPod with the Zune and the appropriate PC software, and it failed. In 2012, Microsoft started up again and launched Xbox Music, a music app for both Xbox One and Windows 8. When the group noticed that the app and the download shop were hardly used, they restarted in 2015 with Groove Music. The new media player will come to all Windows 11 users and probably also Windows 10 after the test phase has been completed. The app still bears the filename Zune Music. It may be the last Microsoft app to be released as a UWP app.

 After all, Microsoft has already announced that from the end of 2022 there will be no more new apps based on the Universal Windows Platform. If the developers want to continue to offer support and new app functions for their UWP apps, the apps have to be converted to desktop programs because the old Net frameworks will no longer receive support from the end of 2022.