Microsoft has released beta 2 of the next version of Windows Media Player for Windows XP, adding more online stores for buying digital music and letting users share content across various devices.
Microsoft released a new test version of Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP at mid-day Pacific Standard Time on Thursday. The software is available only in the US and can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11
In addition to allowing users to download music from MTV Networks' Urge and a host of other online music services, Microsoft also has added eMusic, VidZone and Music Giants stores to Windows Media Player 11. This brings the total number of online stores that a user can access from within the software to 14.
Microsoft also added Windows Media Connect functionality to the player in Beta 2 as a new feature called Media Sharing. Windows Media Connect allows users to stream the content of their Windows Media Player library to networked devices such as the Xbox 360.
Microsoft has not disclosed publicly when Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP will be in its final release. A version of Windows Media Player 11 also will be included in the next release of the Windows client OS, Windows Vista, scheduled to ship on PCs in January 2007.