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Saving, Sharing, and Playing Digital Media in Windows 7

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These days, practically all of the media we consume is digital. Digital cameras have almost completely eliminated film, and more music is downloaded (legally or otherwise) than is sold on CDs. Even movies and TV are increasingly being delivered to a PC as a stream of bits rather than on a shiny disc.

The natural hub for managing all those media files is a PC. Two full-featured tools included with Windows 7 that allow you to manage, play, and share digital music, movies, and photos: Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center.

Some digital media tools previously included as a part of earlier Windows versions are not included with Windows 7. On a clean instal¬lation of Windows 7, for example, you can import pictures from a digital camera and view them using Windows Explorer or Windows Photo Viewer. To edit those imported photos, however, you must use third-party software.

Windows Media Player 12 is the latest incarnation of the core media manager/player program included in Windows. It’s superficially similar to its predecessors in layout with a navigation pane on the left side, a contents pane in the center, and tabs on the right for displaying lists of items to be played, synced, or burned to CD or DVD.

Most simple tasks in Windows Media Player work without any customization. If you double-click an album in the library, it begins playing through the default playback device (nor¬mally, your PC’s speakers).When you insert a DVD, the player starts, switches to full-screen mode, and begins playing back the movie immediately.

What’s new in Windows Media Player 12? The most significant change is one you might not notice immediately: the player now supports playback of additional file types, including standard and high-definition movies recorded on digital cameras and saved in H.264 and AVC formats.If you previously had to install a third-party package such as Apple’s Quick¬Time to play back those movies, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you can now play them using Windows Media Player.

The other significant new digital-media feature in Windows Media Player 12 is the ability to stream media between devices on a Windows network. After you enable this capability, you can select a remote device (such as the HP MediaSmart Connect device) and use the Play To menu to send the contents of a playlist from your Windows 7 PC to that device over the network.

The other major media program in Windows 7 is Windows Media Center. For playing back media files, it shares much of the code from Windows Media Player. (One major capability that Media Center has that is not in Media Player is the ability to record TV from a TV tuner device.) Media Center uses what is known as a 10-foot interface, designed to be used in a living room with a remote control (although it’s quite functional on a laptop or desktop PC as well).

Source of Information : Microsoft Press - Windows 7 Inside Out

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