Windows Media Player 11 – The OTHER album art aware app!

So after making the post on CoverFlow yesterday I remembered that Windows Media Player 11 comes with a pretty nice implementation of album art visualisation for some of the default music selection/navigation views.

I don’t have a Vista installation handy at home right now for screen captures so we will have to make do with Paul Thurrott’s atrocious taste in music! (Sorry Paul, but you have to get called out for having Def Leppard, Phil Collins and Enrique Iglesias all showing on one screenshot).

Anyway, if you take a quick look at the screenshots you can see that WMP11 shows stacks of album art when browsing by genre, year and artist and a very nice album view showing album art and track listings side by side. Now, all of this is not as flashy as CoverFlow with its 3D loveliness but it is solving this problem in a slightly more real world way and it makes a very nice addition to Windows Media Player (which I do still prefer to iTunes, even iTunes on OS X).

My question for Microsoft though is this. Where is the 3D CoverFlow style album art browser integrated into WMP? You have built a fantastic new presentation layer which could implement something like that with no problems at all, why are you not exploiting it more in the apps you are intending to ship with Windows Vista?

Note: Apparently, Windows XP Media Center Edition also uses album art for navigation and has done since it’s first version but I don’t have an installation of that handy to test it either.

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10 responses to “Windows Media Player 11 – The OTHER album art aware app!

  1. Interestingly, after your blog of a few days ago, I notice that ALL of Paul Thurrott’s music is rated 3/5 :)

  2. Why are they not using this ‘fantastic’ new presentation layer in more Vista apps ? Probably because they are having enough trouble getting Vista into shippable state even WITHOUT half of the features they originally promised. Even Mr. Thurrott himself is less than happy with the state of play.

  3. Hi, just got a new mac mini today so far so good, i’ve had lots of problems with 2 minis before hopefully this will be better.

    Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of channel9 videos from MS over the past months and they have many videos of what they plan to do with their new presentation foundation. Here is a video where they show something very similar to Coverflow. It is a Avalon (WPF) demo, some cool stuff there. Since it’s a demo they aren’t planning on releasing this, but with WPF someone can make something very similar.

    And here is another. Just try to skip through the videos to get to the best parts :-)

    That NorthFace demo is pretty good and apparently easy to make.

  4. My friend recently got hold of a new PC running Media Centre and I am really impressed myself with the UI for the Media Centre itself. The environment seems to be 3D and moves forward and backward through space when you work your way through nested menus. All the cover art is indeed used in navigation.

  5. I recently bought a Media Center PC and I also own an Ipod. Needless to say I’ve been using iTunes which works flawlessly with the Ipod. All my Ipod’s music is backed up on my computer which is obviously where 100% of the music on my PC stays. Sure WMP and WMC will play the music, but this is also where WMP and WMC miserably FAILS to show me these fantastic features everyone is talking about. I can’t see any cover art because it is not compatible with the most popular and highest selling MP3 player on the market.

    No I’m not too impress so far with Media Center or Media Player.

  6. errm, that’d be because Apple decided to lock down their format so only their software could use it?


  7. creativity relies heavily on what comes before it.

    Wahaha, the struggle continues. Meanwhile, winamp, who I believe have the best player- hands down, have a plugin named coverplay.It’s in alpha, not made by nullsoft so it’s rudimentary at the moment but there you go. I feel with the “normalisation” of DRM I think winamp must exist before the masses ignorant to DRM do us all an injury unawares :)

  8. LOL
    Sorry, I can’t stop laughing at Enrique 0_0

  9. I think CoverFlow is a trade marked technology bought by Apple, and that’s why Microsoft will not officially implement it

  10. R. Wolfcastle

    Somebody was making a big deal about the iPhone using CoverFlow and album art yesterday…which made me smile and whip out my year old Sony Ericsson W850i.

    That phone (and many other SE phones with the Walkman 2.0/3.0 player) have been able to display cover art since early 2006.

    You need to use an app to imbed the cover art into the MP3. WMP10/11 does this for you in the advanced tag editor, it’ll use any square aspect ratio jpg/bmp/png file for this.

    Now granted, it’s not a slick as CoverFlow, but it does the job and looks good doing it..and I didn’t have to stand in line or sign a contract. :)