REDMOND, Wash., July 17, 2000 — Microsoft today made several announcements detailing the release of Windows Media Technologies 7, the new platform for authoring, delivering and playing high-quality digital media. In addition, EMI Recorded Music and DiscoverMusic.com today demonstrated strong support for the new platform with significant releases of digital music in Windows Media Format on their Web sites.
The Windows Media Technologies 7 platform consists of Windows Media Player 7 for consumers (the final version is also being released today), Windows Media Services for Windows 2000 for content delivery, Windows Media Encoder 7 for content creation, Windows Media Rights Manager 7 for digital rights management, and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) 7 for application development. These technologies are available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . Windows Media Services is included in Windows 2000 Server. The Windows Media Encoder 7 beta version also is available today, with the final release expected later this summer.
Windows Media Technologies 7 is an open, easy-to-use and extensible platform ready for the broadband Internet, which includes near-VHS quality video at 400 Kbps, near-DVD quality at 700 Kbps, CD-quality audio, secure content distribution, unmatched reliability and scalability, and is first to offer
computer screen capture over a 28.8 Kbps modem.
“We have now crossed the chasm to make digital media mainstream,” said Will Poole, vice president of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “Windows Media Technologies 7 delivers the full potential of digital media for consumers, content providers, developers and enterprise customers, and for the first time moves this technology beyond the early adopters to the everyday user.”
Included in the Windows Media Technologies platform is the final release of Windows Media Player 7, an all-in-one, customizable player that provides one place to find, organize and play digital media, whether it’s streamed or downloaded, on the Internet or on a hard drive. More than 200 million copies of Windows Media Player have been licensed, and use of Windows Media Player is growing faster than use of any other player.
“The release of Windows Media Player 7 represents a digital turning point for both our industry and millions of consumers around the world,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect. “Windows Media Player 7 delivers a unified, easy-to-use player that will break down the barriers to mainstream adoption of digital media.”
The new player now supports custom CD creation and offers one-click access to a built-in media guide, a media library, a radio tuner, portable devices, and custom visualizations and skins — including the “Digital DJ,” which enables the player to automatically create playlists from a collection of digital music based on preferences set by the user. It plays Windows Media formats with near-VHS and near-DVD video and CD-quality audio at half the file size of MP3, and also plays legacy MP3 files.
Windows Media Player 7 supports more popular portable music players and storage devices than any other media player. The player is immediately available in French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean. Over the next 60 days, Hebrew, Arabic, Italian, Brazilian, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, Slovenian and Slovak versions will also be made available.
Versions of the new player are available for the Microsoft Windows 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems, and Windows Media Player 7 is a feature of Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition. Microsoft today is also releasing Windows Media Player for Macintosh 6.3 and Windows Media Player for Solaris 6.3.
Currently, there are more than 3,000 Internet content providers and enterprise customers using Windows Media for music, movies, Internet radio, business communications and training. Leading Internet music and video providers have made new content available that takes full advantage of the new platform. Such providers include Alwaysi.com, AtomFilms, Atomic Pop, Capitol Records, EMI Recorded Music, House of Blues, Kick Media’s Movieline, LAUGH.COM, LAUNCH.COM, Lions Gate Films, MediaTrip, Platinum Studios, Raveworld.net, Rollingstone.com, SightSound.com, TVT Records, and Virgin.
In fact, Microsoft and EMI Recorded Music, the third largest music company in the world, today announced the availability of over 100 full-length albums and singles from EMI’s catalog in Microsoft’s Windows Media Format. It is the largest single release of digital music on the Web by a music company. The EMI albums and tracks will be featured at http://WindowsMedia.com / beginning at midnight tonight, and are also highlighted as part of the integrated Media Guide in Windows Media Player 7.
“Digital Delivery offers a tremendous opportunity for artists, music fans and retailers, and EMI is committed to being a leader in making high quality, secure digital downloads available to consumers,” said Jay Samit, senior vice president, New Media, EMI Recorded Music. “Windows Media is a great format for releasing music today and one that allows us to embrace digital music sales over the Internet.”
Also announced today, Discover Music, the leading provider of song samples for use by Internet music retailers, is now offering its entire catalogue — more than 2.5 million song previews from more than 180,000 albums — in Windows Media Format.
Discover Music is also offering expanded sample selection — in Windows Media Format only — by making samples of all tracks on many albums available, instead of limiting samples to the first few tracks, giving music fans more information about the albums they buy.
“We are pleased to enhance our service with the Windows Media Format,” said David Lambert, president and CEO of DiscoverMusic.com. “This will help Internet music retailers offer the broadest sampling experience in a high quality format.”