Sunday, November 15, 2009

Other Windows Media Player 11–Compatible Music Stores

Although URGE is pretty exciting, it isn’t the only online music service game in town. To access other services that are compatible with Windows Media Player 11, you have to dig a little bit: Open the Online Services menu (by clicking the small arrow below the URGE button in the Media Player toolbar) and choose Browse All Online Stores. This will present you with options to install support for other services. It isn’t possible to cover them all here, but a few do stand out, described in the following sections., now owned by Amazon, offers over 40,000 audiobooks and other content, including newspapers. There’s not much Windows Media Player integration here. Basically, what you get is the plain vanilla Web page, loaded inside the Media Player. If you’re interested in listening to Audible audiobooks on a portable player, you should ensure that the device is compatible: Audible maintains a useful database of devices that work and can help you download correctly formatted audiobooks.

Like Audible, eMusic loads a basic version of its Web site inside Windows Media Player, but eMusic tackles a decidedly different market than Audible. This service focuses on low-cost unprotected MP3 music, and it offers billions of tracks. The catch is that most of these tracks are from no-name independent groups that you’ve probably never heard of. On the other hand, the tracks are cheap. Some eMusic songs can be had for as little as 33 cents. Furthermore, eMusic offers a subscription service—for a monthly fee, you can download a set number of songs.

Movielink rents and sells digital video content, including TV shows and movies, both big budget and independent. The selection is somewhat sparse, at least compared to your local Blockbuster, but it’s not horrible. As with other video services, Movielink encodes its films with DRM—in this case, Windows Media DRM, which is completely compatible with Windows Media Player and most Media Player–compatible portable video devices, but not much else. Note that if you do purchase a movie or TV show from Movielink.

MusicGiants is a high-end music service with a twist: Its songs are all encoded in a perfect, pristine format known as lossless. This type of music is compressed, as are virtually all digital music files, but in a way in which none of the original quality is lost. MusicGiants utilizes the lossless version of Windows Media Audio (WMA) and markets it as High Definition (HD) Music, in order to cash in on the current craze surrounding HDTV. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing any WMA-encoded music, but because MusicGiant’s tracks are lossless, you can burn them to CD and then re-rip them back to the computer using a more compatible format, such as MP3, without a huge loss in quality. If you’re an audiophile, this is the service for you.

The predecessor to Napster was the original file-sharing phenomenon and the reason why peer-to-peer (P2P) networking solutions still have such a bad name. The current version of Napster shares only the name with its predecessor, however. Today’s Napster is a more traditional music service, offering both “a la carte” downloads of individual songs and albums and a subscription service that enables you to access any of the company’s millions of songs for as long as you’re paying. A Napster To Go service extends this offer to dozens of compatible portable audio devices. Unlike the other services, Napster requires a small software download, though you’re also free to access the service via your Web browser. Frankly, if you’re new to the online music service market, is the best choice, thanks to its compatibility and Windows Media Player integration; but if you already have an account at Napster or another service, they’re all still available—if somewhat deprecated—in Windows Media Player 11.

You can switch between any of the Media Player–compatible online music services at any time. After you’ve installed and confi gured any of the music services that are available from within Windows Media Player 11, you can simply open the Online Services menu and pick the service you’d like to use. You’ll see an entry for each configured service.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

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