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How should Media Player be improved?

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  • User profile image
    lars

    In my experience WMP doesn't support MPEG2 movies without some form of extra install. MPEG1, yes, but not MPEG2. That just has to change. The only valid reason I can see for overlooking this is licensing problems. But please do try to resolve that. It's a very big source of aggrevation and makes people turn to other players.

    Some players let's you do reverse or fast forward with the scroll wheel on the mouse. I'd like to see that in WMP.

    Personally I always run the older mplayer2.exe. First of all because I can pause with the spacebar. Very handy. Second, I don't want any skins. Ever. And I haven't found any way to remove them from the current version. I remember it as harder to get at the codec settings (context menu->properties->advanced) in the newer version. Please don't hide these away!

    I see the possible legal problems with supporting Quicktime and Realmedia out of the box. But if it can be done, please do it. The Realone player is awful and one of the most unusable intrusive piece of crap I've come across. Any effort that enables more users to get by without installing it is a contribution to humanity. I would also like to see DivX, Ogg and AC3 playback support. I think http://www.videolan.org/ is a role model in that aspect. It's a great player and the one that WMP have to outshine.

    And a final thought about the Windows Media Codecs in general. Alot of people never even consider using windows media for the simple reason that is it virtually impossible to convert FROM it. It's a large effort to ripp and encode your CDs and old videotapes - something you do not want to have to do twice. So people don't even consider Windows Media based on the fear of format lock-in. There are also cross platform issues. But the codec being a one way street is the main reason people never even consider windows media, no matter how good the quality is.

    /Lars.


  • User profile image
    Jeremy W

    Never even consider?

    That's a bit harsh. There are dozens of free converters for WMP -> just about everything.

    Heck, this search turns up a dozen: http://download.com.com/3120-20-0.html?qt=wmv+converter&tg=dl-2001&search=+Go%21+

    One of them is single-purpose as well: WMV to everything else: http://download.com.com/3000-2194-10283863.html?tag=lst-0-3

    Let's be honest. Codec lockin? If it hasn't happened in the last 10 years is it really, really likely to happen anytime in the near future?

    Besides, what codecs are available which are widely used, widely supported (tools) and are free of any vendor or corporate ownership? MPEG certainly isn't, nor is Quicktime, Real, VS...

    Is .AVI? I'm just curious what all those who are afraid of Codec Lockin are using.

  • User profile image
    lars

    "That's a bit harsh."

    That is what people tell me as soon as I bring up Microsoft Codecs.

    I'm not saying it can't be done. In the worst case you can even record the screen and loopback the sound card. But it's a hassle. The "WMV to everything" program is very neat. I was not aware of that application. Thank you. If you have any tips on application that can handle ASF sound files that would be even better. I have a few of those suckers that I want to convert. Still, I have to use a special program to do it. Not just rely on the supplied codec and the codec-aware application of my choice. 

    "Let's be honest. Codec lockin? If it hasn't happened in the last 10 years is it really, really likely to happen anytime in the near future?"

    Tried converting realmedia recently? It's the same story. I know of two programs that can do it, and they are both suck. I feel a very real codec lock in with my ASF files that I cannot convert atm. But maybe this will be relieved by a future post in this thread...

    "are free of any vendor or corporate ownership?"

    XviD is one. But I don't really care who owns it. I just care about the codec letting me convert/edit with the program of my choice (which in my case is Adobe Premiere and VirtualDUB). For instance, Virtual DUB had ASF support up to v1.2. Then a certain company made sure that support went away...

    "Is .AVI? I'm just curious what all those who are afraid of Codec Lockin are using"

    AVI is just a container for any codec. I use DivX5. Since that codec happily let's me both encode and decode it doesn't really matter what the DivX company does next, I already have to software to decode. And btw, it was only the v3 codec that was an illegal hack.

    Now, is there any Microsoft tools that allows me to convert FROM ASF/WMA/WMV (whatever the difference between them may be).


    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    sbc

    lars wrote:

    Personally I always run the older mplayer2.exe. First of all because I can pause with the spacebar. Very handy. Second, I don't want any skins. Ever. And I haven't found any way to remove them from the current version. I remember it as harder to get at the codec settings (context menu->properties->advanced) in the newer version. Please don't hide these away!


    You should try Media Player classic - it looks like the old media player and can play other video and sound formats (as long as you have Real Player, Quicktime, DivX etc installed). Spacebar pausing as well.

    Some prefer the old version as it is less bloated and don't need the extra features.

  • User profile image
    SKG

    This may seem like a simple request, but, how about replacing "Sound Recorder" with some feature in WMP that can record straight from my sound card/USB/FireWire?

  • User profile image
    ChrisL

    lars wrote:
    In my experience WMP doesn't support MPEG2 movies without some form of extra install. MPEG1, yes, but not MPEG2. That just has to change. The only valid reason I can see for overlooking this is licensing problems. But please do try to resolve that. It's a very big source of aggrevation and makes people turn to other players.


    An MPEG-2 decoder costs about $2.50 to ship per copy.  A DVD decoder is almost $5 per copy.  That's a HUGE cost for a free product like WMP.

    ---

    75% of the reported errors are due to codec issues.  So that should be the #1 thing to look at changing.  The consumer has no idea what a codec is and tell them to get the 4CC and go download that codec is not the way it should be.  Support should be included for DivX, XviD, Ac3, Mp4, AAC.  If QT and Real can be supported that great too.  If not, it needs to be _documented_ better.  If a user tries to play a .RAM clip WMP should know and tell the user it's not supported.  WMP should also offer a link to Real's site so they can download the correct software to view the files.

    ---

    Getting more support for portable players is a must.  Along with a burning engine that works right _every_ time.

    ---

    DRM support needs to be better documented as well.  The user has no idea what DRM is and even why they can't burn the song they just paid for b/c the license doesnt allow it.

    ---

    The common line switchs need to do more.  The advanced users would LOVE for WMP to launch fullscreen without ever seeing the GUI and start playing a video or DVD from a CD/DVD.

    ---

    MP3 ripping support should use LameACM.  I have failed many times to get it to work but still have not had major success.  (Or) better documentation of the licenseing cost's for the FhG encoder.  Again, WMP should have a good enough help system to know what the user is trying to do and suggest good ways to fix it.

    ---

    I second SKG's request.

    ---

    Chris Lanier
    Microsoft MVP - Digital Media

  • User profile image
    SMac

    Here's somewhat of a request from Tim Sneath awhile back..

    http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2004/03/25/96036.aspx

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    barogers wrote:
    sbc wrote: I find Print Screen doesn't always work - perhaps due to the encoding (DivX)?


    Most video is drawn in what's called Overlay mode, meaning that the frames are copied directly into a region of the frame buffer on the video card rather than through GDI. Print Screent (the keyboard button) operates at the GDI level.

    That said, many other media players have a special Capture Frame button that is smart enough to go find the frame you're looking for and write it into the clipboard. It's a handy feature.


    Overlay mode can only be used by one application which is why it would be nice to see use of it turned off in WMP by default.

  • User profile image
    yeep

    My ideas:

    * A better or clearer media library. I like the one in WinAMP 5, why not 'embrace and extend' that one? Smiley
    * A very simple, small skin that comes with WMP by default. A skin which I can collapse into a single small bar so I can keep the player out of my precious screen space as much as possible, whiles till being useful. Again, like the WinAMP 5 'WindowShade'-mode.
    * Icecast/Shoutcast support by default.
    * Threaded GUI. Sometimes WMP does something (like trying to access a network resource, or starting up a CD-ROM), or even opening an AVI file and it just hangs while it waits for some operation to complete or fail. I find this to be a major design flaw. The UI should _never_ stop responding.

  • User profile image
    sbc

    I have found that if you set another player to open AVI or other video files, the setting is (partially) ignored in folders with the folder template set to videos.

    i.e. If I double click a video file, it opens in Windows Media player, yet if I right-click the file and select open it uses the proper player.

    Is this a Windows bug?

  • User profile image
    redvamp128

    FOR WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER 9 I know it works for me on builds 3xxx and up - The CTL-I (eye key) but does not work when the player is at full-screen- It brings up a capture mode.

    I don't know if anyone has mentioned this feature-

    I would like to see like a play as ghost feature on my desktop similar to that of the Ati Dvd so I can see what song tittle is playing next without it having to overtake what I am working on.

  • User profile image
    jamie

    Pie in the sky request:

    Make really indepth skin called "Microsoft Stereo" (or something) that runs from Notification area - if i click it - what looks like an entire cool black stereo - slides up from bottom of screen - with tuner, amp, equilizer, tv, speakers.. the whole bit.
     
    If i click the speakers - it opens volume options.. i can maximize TV - or view full screen - or minimize tv - leaving rest of stereo open.  There should also be an option for different sizes - and perhaps a "Make floating - or Dock to bottom/top/side option.

    Also some way of viewing CDs- perhaps in a jukebox format - that displays all the covers..

    - k it wont be easy but if its gotta be big and bloated - go all the way..  MS Stereo (y)


    ps - a regular request would be to have Left and Right balance slider ( most tuner skins ( if not all?) omit this..

  • User profile image
    androidi

    When in fullscreen ESC changes to windowed state, in windowed state ESC could quit the WMP (in case boss comes).

  • User profile image
    Jaz

    from the looks of things, most people would prefer it if you just bought out Nullsoft.

  • User profile image
    jamie

    oh ya - one more thing

    ( and im HOPING to be proved wrong Wink


    PLEASE please make a simple page - or download -
    that has the following:

    A functioning inline tuner with all the functions - working - that you can download - and change to be your own.

    Going through the documentation at winmedia.com site is just to complicated.. codecs? licencing? bla bla..

    its to show baby videos to my family!
    Wink

    also:

    same thing as above for a real - not in browser - winmedia tuner skin,

    yes i know - i can READ all about it at ms.com.. but i have found no simple - inline and regular sample versions - that you can download and run - that have it really really easy to customize ( replace all graphics - move stuff around)

    hey - make the main template open in frontpage 2003 - help me learn behaviours and layers ( workin on it)

    if this already exists..   please tell me WHERE! Smiley

  • User profile image
    Shawn

    Jaz wrote:
    from the looks of things, most people would prefer it if you just bought out Nullsoft.


    Too late!  AOL bought them out a few years ago.

    Good point though.  Winamp is the only thing I use for audio files.  I use Media Player Classic for everything else.

    That being said, it would be really nice to be able to use WMP X to buy music with much like you can with iTunes.  Unfortunately, I think that the iTunes client is even more pathetic that the one that Real puts out. 

    Apple do you really need to install 3 system services and Quicktime AND set all four of them to start automatically when Windows?  (Maybe we can call it the most bloated Windows application. Ever.)

  • User profile image
    RicarDog

    Support for M4A/MP4/AAC file types. They are the next generation of MP3 files. Since it's an open standard, it's easier to implement than RealVideo, QuickTime, etc. Some popular players (WinAmp, iTunes) already have support for them.

  • User profile image
    jonathanh

    Before we lose another thread of product suggestions, could you all make sure you keep WindowsMediaPlayerFeedback up to date with your ideas? I've thrown in some sample headings, but add or change as you see fit - it's the wiki way...

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