Microsoft Finalizes Windows Media 9 Series

UPDATED Four months after making its public beta debut, the final version of Windows Media 9 Series was announced on Tuesday. The new Windows Media Player 9 was joined by the completed version of Movie Maker 2 for Windows XP, which made the beta rounds in November.

Among the new features in Windows Media Player 9 Series is Smart Jukebox functionality for managing digital music, new audio and video codecs and performance improvements. While leaving the interface similar to Windows Media Player 8, Microsoft has added a Premium Services tab to Windows Media Player 9 Series that allows users to access a variety of subscription services. Skins have also been added and updated, in addition to a Mini-Player Mode that shrinks Windows Media Player onto the taskbar.

"Windows Media Player 9 Series and Windows Movie Maker 2 represent our continued commitment to offering customers of Windows XP the best digital media experience for their PCs," said Microsoft's general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division, Dave Fester, in Tuesday's announcement.

Movie Maker 2 is targeted at users wishing to create home movies on the PC. It includes 30 new video effects, 60 transitions and support for Windows Media Video 9.

"Whether you want to listen to your favorite songs with the highest possible audio quality, watch a movie online with 5.1-channel surround sound, or create your own edited home movies in minutes instead of hours, both of these features really make it easy for mainstream PC users to tap the full potential of their computers," said Fester.

Windows Media Player 9 Series and Movie Maker 2 are available for download via FileForum and Windows Update.

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