New Media Player for Windows 11 released for Insiders on the Dev Channel
Microsoft has released a new Media Player for Windows 11. The app is currently exclusive to the Windows Insider Program, more specifically, to the Dev Channel Builds.
Despite its name, the app is actually a replacement for Groove Music. Don't let that confuse you, because the new Media Player can play videos too. Microsoft has confirmed that the legacy Windows Media Player will continue to exist as part of Windows Tools.
How to download the new Media Player for Windows 11
1. Go to Adguard's website, click the drop-down menu on the left, and select Product ID
2. Paste the following code in the text box: 9WZDNCRFJ3PT.
3. Click the drop-down menu on the right, and choose the Fast option.
4. Hit the checkmark button, and the website will display a couple of dozen results.
5. Scroll down till you see Microsoft.ZuneMusic among the list. There are quite a few of these, the one you need will start with the number 11, and end with a .MSIXBundle.
Who remembers Microsoft Zune?
It's about 34MB in size. Download the installer, execute it, and run the app. It will update the Groove Music player to Media Player.
Note: Firebox blocked the download for some reason, claiming it is a potential security risk. Here's the result on VirusTotal, spoiler alert, it's clean. The app is Microsoft, obviously it is safe, but it never hurts to check.
Overview of the Media Player for Windows 11
The new Media Player for Windows 11 has a sleek interface that isn't dissimilar to Groove Music's, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The start page lets you Open a media file, Open a folder and play all the media inside it, or open a URL to play a video or music stream. Files that you open will be added to the music or video library automatically. You can access them using the sidebar to the left edge of the screen.
The sidebar has a search bar at the top and shortcuts to various areas like Home, Music Library, Video Library, Play Queue and Playlists. The playback control bar at the bottom is nothing fancy. It lets you shuffle the playlist, jump between previous and next tracks, rewind by 10 seconds or fast-forward by 30 seconds, and toggle repeat mode. Clicking the speaker icon brings a volume control slider in to view.
The Mini player mode has been retained, it displays the album cover art, and has the play/pause, previous and next track buttons. The ... button lets you view the song's Properties, access the built-in Equalizer, control the Playback Speed, Cast to device, and toggle Zoom to fill.
Right-click on a track or a video in your library, to set it to play next, add it to a playlist. The Music library remains identical to Groove's, you can access your collection by Songs, Albums and Artists. The new Media Player lets you sort tracks by name, artist, album or release year. You can filter the view by using the Genres menu.
The app supports Shuffle and Play too. Head to the Settings to choose your Music and Video library folders. You may switch between the Light and Dark themes for the app, or set it to follow Windows' theme.
When I tried installing the app on the stable version of Windows 11, it displayed an error that said, your computer needs to be running Windows 11 Build 22471 or above. So I tested it on Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22499.
I opened the MSIX bundle in 7-Zip, and the archive contains x86 and x64 versions of the app. So it is possible that the new Media Player will be available for Windows 10.
Note: If you try to play HEVC videos (h.265 or x265), you will be prompted to purchase the HEVC Video Extensions for $0.99. If you don't have it, the app will only play the audio. I have the license, and can confirm the media player works fine with HEVC videos.
I have only used the app for a day, but it has impressed me. The new Media Player for Windows seems to be a good upgrade over Groove Music, while retaining the simplicity and features of the old app. Groove Music player didn't recognize most of my tags, but the new Media Player did. The app downloaded media art automatically too, even though my tracks had one for albums. But it was nice to see a different image in the mini view uses panel.
The player resumes videos from the last playback point. I tested it with FLAC, MP3, MP4 and MKV media files, and had no hiccups with it, even in a virtual machine.Advertisement