AOL Media Player Beta Goes Public

AOL has finally let loose its new media player beta to the general public. As first reported by BetaNews, AOL Media Player (AMP) runs independent of the company's client software and is one of many new efforts to expose AOL products and services to Web users outside its "walled garden" of subscribers.

AMP was previously slated to be a component of AOL's Fanfare suite, which has since been disbanded. Although AOL client tie-ins will remain, AMP is now a full-fledged application, complete with media library, video support and CD ripping to MPEG4 AAC or Microsoft's WMA formats.

Like iTunes and Winamp 5, AOL's other media player, AMP also features customizable smart playlists, integrated streaming audio from Radio@AOL, and audio CD burning.

Despite the overlap, AOL says the new player is not meant to replace Winamp 5 - despite Winamp's development team dropping to just a few employees. AMP is targeted to more mainstream consumers, while Winamp users aren't likely to visit AOL's other Web properties, the company says.

BetaNews has learned that commerce integration will play a key role as AOL targets the mainstream Web. Taking a note from iTunes and Windows Media Player, future revisions of AMP are expected to include the ability to buy music from within the player.

The public release of AMP is the third beta, and includes some portable device support. Windows Media based devices do function with AMP, although AOL is still working on iPod support.

AOL Media Player Beta 3 is available for download via FileForum.

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