Windows Media Player 11: Not Impressive

Post ImageOn Monday, Microsoft released the latest update to Windows Media Player, affectionately known as version 11. Apparently the release was supposed to happen a week earlier, but was delayed due to concerns about the quality.

They should have delayed the release even longer.

I wrote about Beta 1 and Beta 2, and in general, the final release hasn’t changed my opinion about the software. Here’s what I like about it:

  • The interface is clean and looks modern and attractive.
  • Searching is excellent, and really becomes the main way you interact with your media library.
  • Synchronization with portable devices is superb.

And pretty much everything else falls into the “indifferent” or “don’t like it at all” categories. They have tried to make the app easier to use, but as a result, they have taken out some of the functionality that advanced users such as myself want. The best example here is adding media to the library. I want to have explicit, tight control over what goes into my library and what stays out, so forcing me to monitor folders or play a file completely sucks. Give me multiple different ways to manage this kind of thing!

What else: lots of visualizations are missing, there aren’t any Canadian stores supported, sometimes it appears to freeze, and a bunch of other minor things.

The biggest problem of all? Windows Media Player 11 is not an “oh my god you must get the latest version” kind of update to previous versions. As far as I am concerned, WMP11 is the first such release of Windows Media Player. I think WMP9 was an excellent improvement, and WMP10 was better still. It sucks that I can’t say the same about WMP11. I was really hoping for something better.

I guess I’ll have to wait for version 12.

Read: WMP11

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