Windows Media Player (WMP) is a full-featured media player from Microsoft which is used for playing and organizing audio and video files. It comes pre-installed with all versions of Windows, except versions intended to run only on servers, and it is a free download application from Microsoft's website.
Windows Media Player was originally called Media Player.
Windows Media Player provides two modes of operation, namely the player library and now playing mode. The player library provides complete control over most features of the player, whereas the now playing mode provides a simplified view of the media. There are features which have evolved with each version of Windows Media Player. Apart from being a media player, it can provide radio station broadcasts with the help of the Internet. It is capable of organizing and searching media files on the hard drive. It can not only play DVDs and CDs, but can also create custom CDs and copy files to portable devices. It can also rip music from DVDs and CDs and help in synchronizing content with devices.
Windows Media Player is free for users running the Windows operating system. It can organize audio and video files by different categories like genre, year, rating, album or artist. One important ability of Windows Media Player is its ability to create playlists. Beginning with Windows Media Player 9, advanced encoding is provided. Users are able to capture and encode media from devices like cameras by using Windows Media Player. Movie creation is also possible using Windows Media Player, a capability which is not available in other popular media players.
One of the drawbacks of Windows Media Player is its inability to stream videos properly. This is considerably more noticeable on slower Internet connections. Another drawback is its limitation to sync to different portable devices, such as iPods.