Windows Media 10 beta Announced Wednesday

Microsoft will be rolling out the beta programme for their Windows Media Player 10 application today, with the emphasis on portability and DRM.

One of WM10’s new features will be easy synchronisation of media libraries with portable devices – something that iPod users have enjoyed since iTunes was released. WM10 needs to be able to see portable devices as a disk drive in order to perform synchronisation, but many modern players behave like this when connected to a Windows machine.

For devices that run Windows Media Centre Portable OS, such as the Creative Lab’s offering detailed yesterday, Microsoft have developed the Media Transfer Protocol to automatically synchronise files between the two.

Synchronisation is not straightforward for Microsoft as many different manufacturers provide a range of disparate hardware – something that Apple, with two basic iPods, does not have to worry about.

WM10 will also feature the new Janus DRM technology, allowing subscription music sites like Napster to employ seamless licensing across devices.

Many of the new features of WM10 will of course be dormant until portable devices supporting them start to appear later in 2004.

Windows Media

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?