In his keynote address at the Streaming Media West 2000 conference in San Jose, California, Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer gave the public its first peek at the new multimedia features that his company plans for Windows XP and Windows Server (formerly code-named Whistler). Ballmer introduced new media formats Windows Media Audio and Video 8, Windows Media Player (WMP) 8, Windows Media Encoder 8, and Windows Media Producer (a tool to create, edit, and publish rich media content). XP and Windows Server will include these tools, many of which will also be available separately, when the products ship in the second half of 2001.
"The next version of Windows will span ... the consumer market and the business market," Ballmer said. "Some of the most fundamentally unique innovations \[in XP and Windows Server\] are in this area of digital media." For example, the desktop and server versions will ship with WMP 8, which offers several enhancements (e.g., DVD playback and video transfer to portable devices such as Pocket PCs) over WMP 7. WMP 8—which will only be available bundled with XP and Windows Server—also sports a new Full Screen option so that users can enjoy DVD movies at the largest possible size. Additionally, XP and Windows Server will include a new version of the My Music folder that will feature a split-window view for album information and album-art thumbnail images for media files, as well as media-organization improvements. Also, My Music and My Pictures will join My Documents as top-level folders under the Start menu so that users can more easily access those folders.
"In prior versions of Windows we really focused on making digital photography and digital pictures very easy to use, and we're now doing the same thing for My Music," said Microsoft technical program manager Sean Alexander. "So for example, when you copy a CD to \[an XP\] PC, it automatically shows up in the My Music folder and \[supplies\] rich album cover art. \[XP\] automatically goes out to the Internet and retrieves the album art for all the albums you have in your media library."