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Windows 11’s new media player plays both video and audio, and it completely replaces Groove. If you’re running Windows 11 and haven’t seen the new Media Player yet, hang on. It comes in an update Meanwhile, Microsoft will continue to offer the Movies & TV app, which also offers video and content services for movies and TV shows available in the Microsoft Store. These two programs aren’t your only options for media players in Windows, and frankly, it can be confusing as to which one you need. Don’t worry! Here, we’ll tell you which apps you need for different purposes, and then give you an in-depth look at the newest media player apps.
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The new Media Player app arrived as part of Windows’ annual “feature update” — dubbed 22H2. It is a continuation of Microsoft’s concurrent claim that Windows became
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Not a stable version of the software All I can say is that this means that some users will get the update before others, so if you still see Grove, give it some time.
You won’t find Microsoft’s new Media Player among the apps listed in the Microsoft Store — it now appears as Grove. Some sites report that you can get the new app by updating this Store entry, but it appeared as part of a standard Windows update on my system.
The media players included with Windows have taken many forms over the years Windows Media Player has been around in one form or another since 1991 The Movies & TV app, available in Windows 11, lets you watch videos stored locally or online, as well as shows you’ve bought or rented from the Microsoft Store. Replacement Groove plays music stored locally or in the cloud Windows Media Player, which came with Windows 7, has been hanging around on Windows for a decade…and it’s available in Windows 11 as well.
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In the new scheme of things, if you type “Groove” into the Windows search box, the new media player will appear, and if you type “Windows Media Player”, the old one will appear. That’s right, Windows 11 is included
Programs (four if you count Groove before the switch) that play video files and two that play audio. However, the programs differ in how they are used
In most cases using the old Windows Media Player The interface is always non-standard and ugly Note that none of these players can play standard DVDs or Blu-rays For information on how to play them, read How to play DVDs in Windows But there’s a reason Microsoft included the old player: It’s the only program that can rip CDs and has collections for those who want to digitize.
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As mentioned, the new Media Player app is not available in the Microsoft Store The only way to get it is to update Windows When this happens, Grove will be gone and all playlists in that app will now appear in the media player.
Below the search box in the new Media Player app are five mode buttons: Home, Music, Video, Play Queue, and Playlist. Home page shows recently played media The functions of the buttons are pretty obvious, but you can expand them into menu options, including the three-line hamburger menu at the top—if you expand the program window, these menus expand as well.
In Home View, you can open specific media files and URLs for streaming media This works for both video streams (here’s an example (opens in a new window)) and audio streams. However, it’s not for streaming YouTube or Vimo video (you can do this on CyberLink PowerDVD (opens in a new window). For more information about streaming audio in media players, see Streaming music and radio.
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The new player supports all standard audio file formats, including lossy FLAC and open source formats such as Ogg Verbose. I was able to play both 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound samples
You can open sound files in the Music section, although you can also open them in the Home section Instead, here you tell the program which folders to look for (the music folder makes the most sense) and all the audio files in those folders appear in the media player interface. If you just want to play a specific music file that isn’t in the audience folder, you can find the music file using File Explorer and open it with Media Player.
Like any good music player, the new Windows Media Player lets you play and repeat music from catalogs and playlists with mixes.
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The speed controller allows you to change the speed of the game Equalizer for adjusting audio levels in different frequency ranges for audio and video playback. I like that the equalizer can automatically move adjacent sliders to avoid accidental dropouts. Equalizer presets are more useful by optimizing the sound for playback on a laptop, headphones, car speakers, portable speakers and bass boost. The laptop settings really improved the sound for me Note that the music stops momentarily when adjusting and turning off the equalizer
You can go back 10 seconds or go forward 30 seconds using the screen keys or Ctrl left arrow and Ctrl right arrow. I was surprised that the large play button didn’t respond to my touch screen presses
Right-clicking on a song in a playlist opens a few options, such as setting the song to play next, adding it to your queue or playlist (I’ll explain how they differ in a moment), its quality or its artist. shows , and open its metadata for editing
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A playlist is simply a list of songs or videos that are set to play next, you can add to this queue by right-clicking on any media entry and selecting Add to Play > Play.
Playlists are groups that you can save and play at any time You create it by clicking on the Playlist button in the Playlist view that appears when you select the bottom left icon. Add songs to a playlist so you can add them in your order You can select multiple songs to add in the Music Library view, and from there you can add entire album and artist sets.
While playing a song, clicking the album cover in the bottom left will change the app view to full-screen view with the album art. The program can retrieve album and artist images from online sources like most music players
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Miniplayer mode places the app in a small box in the corner of your screen You can resize it to a very small square that shows nothing but an image of the artist with pause, play and scroll buttons. If you zoom in a bit on the mini player, you can also see the album cover art on the left. Mini Player is always on top of other windows so these controls are always available
The Properties view shows you all the metadata – title, album, year, track, length, artist, genre, and file format and bitrate. Note that the example below is a lossy FLAC file that sounds amazing Also note that the file resides in OneDrive, so you can access it from any internet-connected device.
Not only can you create your own playlists in the app, but you can also access online playlists that include many Internet radio streams. I tested this with SomaFM, which publishes .pls and .m3u file download links for its streams. It would be great if Microsoft included a feature to search for internet radio in the app, but I’ve come across a great tool for finding streams like this: the Radio Stream URL Search Engine (opens in a new window).
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As with audio, Media Player supports all video formats (and a few more) and codecs (currently 55), including open source formats such as MKV and OGV. The same note about adding folders instead of opening files is true for video, even if your video folders are separate from your audio folders.
I was able to play an 8K video file recorded by the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in the new app, while the old Windows Media Player said it encountered an error while trying to play. But one limitation I ran into is that the new media player can’t display 360-degree clips like the Movies & TV app.
All the same controls above for audio also work for video: change speed, skip forward and backward, equalizer, view file properties, create playlist and play cue queue. The video player adds several video-only features, including zoom-to-fill to remove text messages and support for closed captioning for videos that contain this information.
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Like movies and TV, Media Player lets you stream media playback to a compatible device, and it works for both audio and video. I