WMP 11, iRiver Clix, and URGE

Windows Media Player 11 and URGE

Over the past few weeks, I've been playing with the beta versions of Windows Media Player 11. It's really a huge improvement over previous versions of WMP; the UI is much cleaner, focusing on being a great music player first vs. trying to be all things to all media types.

In particular I love the integration with MTV's URGE online music service. I played with the free trial of the service that allows you to listen to and download as much music as you want. It is incredibly addictive, finding old songs I'd almost forgotten, finding new music through their playlists (who knew there was so much great swamp blues?), and listening to current hits. I've spent hours and hours finding fun music online and enjoyed it enough to pay for a full year's subscription.

iRiver Clix

I also liked it enough to buy an iRiver Clix MP3 player. This is a very sexy little 2G music player (the terrible iRiver site does nothing to show off how slick this little guy is.). The whole screen is a big rocker switch, the UI is very swish in a Vista-like way, and the feature set is great (music, fm, video, Flash games, voice recording, photos). The Clix supports the DRM scheme from URGE, so I can download songs onto the player from the service as part of my subscription. It's been super fun listening to the songs on the Clix when I work out or in the car (through an FM transmitter I have).

The combination of WMP11, URGE, and the Clix is the first viable competitor to iTunes/iPod IMHO. I'm anxious to see what comes of the Zune player we're working on; in the meantime, I love this setup. (Note, I don't know anything about Zune aside from what I've read on the Internet and cannot vouch for the accuracy of the Wikipedia article I linked to.)

Try out beta 2 of WMP11 here.

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Mike Lax Reply

I'd been tempted to try WMP 11 but it breaks synchronization with my PDA (using Pocket Tunes from normsoft). It's my understanding other music products may no longer work correctly after installing WMP 11 as well.

breanna Reply

i love irivir clix! it is the bomb

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