Windows 11 resurrects the iconic Windows Media Player app

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Microsoft announced the arrival of a new Media Player Windows 11, which will replace Groove Music.

According to Microsoft, the new Media Player app is slowly rolling out for Windows Insiders signed up to the Dev Channel and is reminiscent of the iconic old Windows Media Player, while modernizing it with the new Windows 11 Fluent Design theme.

This was first shown by accident during a live podcast stream, but Microsoft remained silent until a recent Dev Channel update revealed the existence of this new and improved app.

However, with so many free media players available, it may be too late for Microsoft to make a good impression, compared to when Windows Media Player was at its peak in 2001.

The new app will appear as an update from Microsoft Store that will replace the current Groove Music app. Showcasing a black and orange, or white and orange color scheme, depending on whether your theme is light or dark, it’s a simple design but it works well and can play both audio and video files.

There’s HDR support here as well, so if you have a video file that supports it, the new media player won’t have a problem playing it.

Media player playing music video

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The layout of the app is very reminiscent of early versions of Windows Media Player, especially when browsing files in the library section.

While the original Windows Media Player application was available for download since 2012, this new version seeks to fill a gap in which Microsoft has missed the mark.

While Windows Media Player has been left out, other apps like VLC have taken over as the default video players that users are flocking to instead. With the various forms that computers take, from tablets to modular laptops, Microsoft’s media player could have been the play center for all the media available on your device.

With the app still in testing, we might see the new media player arriving in a future update to Windows 11 early next year to help recapture the role of being the go-to media player.


Analysis: a glaring omission is finally corrected

If you used Windows XP in 2001, chances are you have used Windows Media Player in some way. Quirky skins that you could use, like a green head or an orange heart, are remembered by many users.

Although there was a version of Windows Media Player available for download since 2012, it has apparently been discontinued, with the Groove Music and Movies & TV apps replacing it instead.

Windows Media Player has that feeling of nostalgia, whether it’s because of the skins or visualizations it previously offered. But just the name gives the app the right connotations for users who just want to play music as soon as their PC is upgraded to Windows 11. A name like “Groove Music” isn’t quite right, while “Media Player” basically says what it does on the tin.

Some users just want to use the apps preinstalled on their PC without wasting time looking for alternative apps, and this is where Windows Media Player can help.

Microsoft is eager to hear your feedback on the app, so if you want to share your thoughts, you can use the Feedback Center by going to Applications> Media Player.

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