Windows Media Connect 2.0 released

October 19, 2005

Visit Microsoft.com and download now by clicking here. Coming soon as an optional update via Windows Update.

The obvious question is, “What is Windows Media Connect and why do I care?”. Windows Media Connect 2.0 is a feature of Windows that enables other digital media receivers such as the Roku Soundbridge, D-Link MediaLounge or Xbox 360 to play streamed music, photos, and video* on plain old Windows XP. Xbox 360 you said? Yes.

And it works with services like Napster, MSN Music, FYE, and Yahoo Music in your Windows Media Player library. Whatever you say about DRM, the team is working hard to make sure this stuff will go around your house or on your devices as easily as possible given requirements.

Personally, I have a Roku Soundbridge connected to an older set of bookshelf speakers in our living room and I love it. During Halloween, I create a playlist and point a speaker out the window to scare the kids. Thanksgiving, it fills the dining room with mood music, and Christmas we use it to play our “opening presents” music. The rest of the year, I use it to listen to internet radio from Virgin UK while cleaning the front side the house that the MCE doesn’t cover.

The best news is that Windows Media Connect 2.0 is over 5x faster than version 1.0 and all with a smaller memory footprint. This really appeals to me- when you have over 10,000 songs indexed, this becomes pretty important. The teams are finally prioritizing this as key customers have large media libraries and digital media around the home needs to better support. Congrats and thanks to the Windows Media Connect 2.0 team- my son can hear “Freight Train” before he starts crying out of frustration and that’s worth more than you know to this father.

*Note: Not all devices support all media types.

4 responses to Windows Media Connect 2.0 released

  1. 

    Couple of questions for you…

    Is Windows Transcoding the tracks or "simply" relaying things…

    What kind of CPU is needed / recommended to handle high bit rate files?

  2. 

    Any idea when/if WMC will ever be supported on Windows Server 2003? It certianly feels like a server product to me…

  3. 

    Yeah… I was disappointed that I couldn’t run it on Vista… and in fact that’s the big (only?) reason I’m stilling running XP on my desktop at home. I’d prefer to try out some of the Sync stuff with Vista on the desktop and tablet.

    I did notice that WMP11 has the ability to "share" music (or at least I think this is new, I’ve never noticed it before). Is this WMC being folded into WMP? (If so, that would be GREAT!)

    Now I just need WMP to support my iPod and I can finally do everything within WMP 🙂

  4. 

    For the Roku link, I believe you want rokulabs.com not roku.com and likely the specific URL: http://www.rokulabs.com/products/soundbridge/index.php . For D-Link, you could also use more specifically: http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=318 .