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mrlowry
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Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

I just got a Philips NP1100 which among other things streams music files from the users computer. Out of the box it only streams files that can be found in the Windows Media Player 11 library. How can I get WMP11 to add Applelossless and AIFF files to it's library and to play them? Please tell me I don't need to re-incode everything, that's hundreds upon hundreds of CDs.

CharlyD
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

Have a look at Switch. It supports batch file conversion across many formats. The free download may fit your needs.

Elk
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

I don't think there is a way to play ALAC files directly in Media Plaer.

I also don't expect Apple to license its CODEC to its rival - but maybe.

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

Dear Sam,

There are third party plug-ins that you can use to add ALAC tag support to WMP. Two such are WMPTSE and Softpointer. I have seen reports of folks using both with success.

Elk
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

But these programs only add tags, not CODEC support and ALAC is not supported. Thus, he still can't play ALAC files in Media Player - nor can he even add additional tagging support.

(Unless I am seriously missing something - always possible).

Colnmary
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

Try WMP plug ins, They have a large selection of plug ins for Windows media Player as well as forums and cool programs. I have a Philips GoGear 30 Gig player that uses Media player as well.

Elk
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

That is one amazing collection!

I couldn't find a CODEC that would allow playing Apple lossless, but it might be hidden in there somewhere.

mrlowry
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

The odd thing is that WMP11 will PLAY AIFF files but won't add them to the library. I'd like to avoid converting the files if I could because there are thousands of them and because I'm concerned that a conversion would lose sound quality. I could use iTunes to convert them to WAV, but then the tags are gone.

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

You are seriously missing something Elk - the decoder! Apologies, in my excitement I inadvertently only gave half the story

Enclosed is a full description of this workaround by John Lockwood, its inventor:

Quote:
There is only _one_ way to play Apple Lossless (aka. ALAC) in WMP which is to use the filter available at http://www.dsp-worx.de/ scroll down to the January 8th 2007 entry.

Things work better if you also install a plugin to let WMP read MPEG4 meta
tags as used in .m4a files (both Apple Lossless and unprotected AAC). There
are two different ones available both also free, see -

http://softpointer.com/WMPTagSupport.htm
Or
http://wmptagext.sourceforge.net/

As the person who came up with this solution (and it was then written by
Milenko Mitrovic) I can assure you it does work. I have my entire iTunes
library in Apple Lossless format (ripped from CDs using iTunes) and shared
with WMP.

Things to watch out for.

1. This works for Apple Lossless files created using iTunes [Duh!]. I have
had reports that Apple Lossless files created using other software do not
work. As iTunes is Apple software and Apple Lossless is an Apple proprietary
format, if this filter works with iTunes produced files then it can be
considered it works fine and it is the other software at fault.

2. If you already have another filter installed which can play AAC (.m4a)
files then it might hijack playing all .m4a files including Apple Lossless
ones. You need to make sure no other such filter is installed or ensure that
the Apple Lossless one has priority.

Note: Milenko's one will play both unprotected AAC as well as Apple Lossless
so you don't need another AAC playing filter.

3. The .m4a file type has to be properly registered. The plugins for letting
WMP read MPEG4 meta tags generally do this for you.

PS. A reminder, in iTunes remember to fill in the Album Artist tag, WMP
relies on this heavily and iTunes does not automatically fill it in.

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

From the same seemingly knowledgeable source:

Quote:
WMP can play AIFF files _as standard_ but cannot read the meta tags in them (Apple use RIFF chunks in iTunes to store tags in AIFF files). As a result even though WMP can play AIFF files _as standard_ you cannot add them to its library.

jazzfan
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

All of the previous posts in this thread only further show why iTunes and Windows Media Player are not very good solutions for playing high quality (read: lossless) digital audio files on a high end audio system. Proprietary encoding formats, such as Apple lossless or Windows Media Player lossless, tend not to play very nicely together as the giant egos of Jobs and Gates battle for control.

I suggest that you spend some money for dbPowerAmp Reference and then spend some time transcoding all your Apple Lossless files to FLAC, an ego free lossless audio codec.

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

jazzfan,

I agree in principle but I don't think the world is quite that simple. The reason that Apple and Microsoft are able to force their proprietary codecs on the world is because they have significant market power, achieved through dominant positions in other related segments, in the case of Apple through the iPod, 72.7% market share according to the last figures I saw. I suspect that most people ripping to ALAC are doing so for iPod compatibility. As you imply, there wouldn't appear to be any other compelling reason.

Unless you are careful to choose hardware and software that is all equally open, ego-free lossless audio codecs will only get you so far in a world that Messrs Gates and Jobs are hell-bent on keeping proprietary. FLAC is a great choice, but then be prepared to jump through other hoops, e.g. you would need to Rockbox your iPod in order to play the resulting files there.

jazzfan
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
'Ego-free lossless codecs' will only get you so far in a world that Messrs Gates and Jobs are hell bent on keeping proprietary. FLAC is a great choice, but then be prepared to jump through other hoops (i.e. Rockbox your iPod if you want to play the resulting files there).

Yes Struts,

You are quite right about Messrs. Gates and Jobs being "hell bent on keeping (things) proprietary" but it is their insistence on DRM that will be their ultimate undoing.

Do you think that's it's merely a coincidence that the proprietary lossless codecs are also the same ones that support DRM? And we all just love DRM so much since DRM really goes a long way in simplifying digital music playback. Proprietary or DRM, they are just slightly different versions of the same evil - the evil that prevents you from enjoying something that should rightful be yours to enjoy. Therefore, I avoid both evils just as I would the plague and I strongly urge anyone attempting to build a computer based digital music library and playback system to do the same.

You are also right about having to jump through hoops to get FLAC to work on an iPod but I'd rather have lossy files on an iPod and be able to play lossless files, i.e. FLAC files, through my main stereo via a SqueezeBox or other streaming music device without jumping through hoops. That certainly seems better than having my music in a proprietary lossless format which does not play nicely with other proprietary software (free or paid).

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
...but it is their insistence on DRM that will be their ultimate undoing.

Well that particular lightbulb at least appeared to switch on in Steve Jobs's mind a while ago.

Alas, in the context of the broader iPod market, or indeed computer audio as a whole, I suspect that lossless encoding is still an extremely marginal phenomenon and Mr Jobs would undoubtedly point to the iPod's support for mp3 as being far more significant in this regard.

jazzfan
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
Well that particular lightbulb at least appeared to switch on in Steve Jobs's mind a while ago.

Yes, I read that self serving piece of nonsense when it first appeared well over a year ago and yet as of this writing Apple has made little to no progress regarding removing the DRM from their music downloads. If you're going to be such a Jobs fanboy then I suggest that you spend your time on one of the Apple forums, forums where any criticism of anything Apple or Jobs related is simply not tolerated.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not anti-Apple, per se, I'm just against proprietary formats and DRM. I think that I will start another thread with some of thoughts about this subject before the end of the day.

Elk
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

Excellent find, Struts! Great option for those that have ripped their files to Apple lossless and need Media Player access.

I, too, love FLAC and it has become enough of a standard to be transportable as long as you stay away from MS's and Apple's proprietary products.

Not owning an iPod I don't have the "iPod can't play FLAC" problem. What I don't understand is why knowledgeable types buy an iPod when they know it is hamstrung. (I have nothing against iPods nor Apple.)

RGibran
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

What I don't understand is why knowledgeable types would buy a music streaming device knowing it would not natively handle the file format they have their music library ripped in?

RG

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

Again that's true, although I had an iPod for several years before I bought a streamer and one of the reasons I found it so easy to get started with my streamer was the amount of music I had already ripped for my iPod. I still find it convenient to be able to synch tracks to my iPod without having to do a file conversion although as I reported in another post, the aggravation iTunes is causing me has me on the point of switching to FLAC going forwards.

I have yet to test dbpoweramp's batch converter to see how well it handles tags, album art etc. when converting from ALAC -> FLAC. However, if it does a good job then it's probably goodbye ALAC forever as far as I'm concerned.

jazzfan
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
I have yet to test dbpoweramp's batch converter to see how well it handles tags, album art etc. when converting from ALAC -> FLAC. However, if it does a good job then it's probably goodbye ALAC for ever.

Music to my ears, Struts. As far as dbPowerAmp's batch converter is concerned I can tell you that so far it has handled all the conversions that I've tried with relative ease and the tags are always perfect. One of the best features of the software is it's ability to make full use of a computer's dual processor chip by transcoding two files at once, one file per each "half" of the processor. I don't know about album art since I don't normally embed the album art into the file tag. For SqueezeCenter one can have a stand alone album art file (my usual and preferred method) or an embedded image, it makes no difference.

Elk
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
Again that's true, although I had an iPod for several years before I bought a streamer and one of the reasons I found it so easy to get started with my streamer was the amount of music I had already ripped for my iPod.


Of course!

And who wants to rip and tag all of that music again?

I hope the converter works well for you. This would be a delightful solution.

mrlowry
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
What I don't understand is why knowledgeable types would buy a music streaming device knowing it would not natively handle the file format they have their music library ripped in?

RG

I received it as a gift and to NOT make a good effort to get it to work and use it would be RUDE.

I agree with everyone that if everyone would get on board with FLAC everything would be easier. But they do charge a licensing fee to manufacturers from my understanding.

mrlowry
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
You are seriously missing something Elk - the decoder! Apologies, in my excitement I inadvertently only gave half the story

Enclosed is a full description of this workaround by John Lockwood, its inventor:

Quote:
There is only _one_ way to play Apple Lossless (aka. ALAC) in WMP which is to use the filter available at http://www.dsp-worx.de/ scroll down to the January 8th 2007 entry.

Things work better if you also install a plugin to let WMP read MPEG4 meta
tags as used in .m4a files (both Apple Lossless and unprotected AAC). There
are two different ones available both also free, see -

http://softpointer.com/WMPTagSupport.htm
Or
http://wmptagext.sourceforge.net/

As the person who came up with this solution (and it was then written by
Milenko Mitrovic) I can assure you it does work. I have my entire iTunes
library in Apple Lossless format (ripped from CDs using iTunes) and shared
with WMP.

Things to watch out for.

1. This works for Apple Lossless files created using iTunes [Duh!]. I have
had reports that Apple Lossless files created using other software do not
work. As iTunes is Apple software and Apple Lossless is an Apple proprietary
format, if this filter works with iTunes produced files then it can be
considered it works fine and it is the other software at fault.

2. If you already have another filter installed which can play AAC (.m4a)
files then it might hijack playing all .m4a files including Apple Lossless
ones. You need to make sure no other such filter is installed or ensure that
the Apple Lossless one has priority.

Note: Milenko's one will play both unprotected AAC as well as Apple Lossless
so you don't need another AAC playing filter.

3. The .m4a file type has to be properly registered. The plugins for letting
WMP read MPEG4 meta tags generally do this for you.

PS. A reminder, in iTunes remember to fill in the Album Artist tag, WMP
relies on this heavily and iTunes does not automatically fill it in.

I've installed the plug in that allow for the reading of the tags, I've downloaded the January 8th 2007 entry folder of files but I'm unsure what to do from here. Would you be able to provide step by step directions?

Indirectly through your suggestion I came across http://www.mcetunes.com/ do you have any experience with that? I've downloaded the free trial when I play around with it I'll report back

Elk
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts


Quote:
I agree with everyone that if everyone would get on board with FLAC everything would be easier. But they do charge a licensing fee to manufacturers from my understanding.


FLAC is open source - so no fee.

Unfortunately this does not solve your challenge however.

I wish I had the knowledge of Media Player to specifically help you out.

struts
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Re: Need help from Windows Media Player 11 experts

I couldn't seem to get the register.bat file to work regardless of where I extracted the zip file to (I am using Vista), however I tried this version which is packaged as a proper windows installer and it worked fine.

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