Last year, Microsoft inadvertently showed off a new media playing experience that it was working on. However, little was known about it due to the fact that only a screenshot of it had appeared online. Then back in November, Microsoft confirmed the existence of the new "Media Player" app for Windows 11, and started rolling it out to those in the Dev Channel.
Fast forward to today, and there appear to be conflicting reports that the Media Player has started rolling out to non Insiders, however that report also does not share any Microsoft Store links for the download so either they don't know, or have not been able to confirm availability outside of the Insider channels.
All we do know is that it was announced for Dev Channel Insiders back in November, and Microsoft has not made any further announcements regarding availability. Yesterday Microsoft did announce Beta channel availability for the updated Notepad, which is also a Windows 11 exclusive feature, that app has not left Preview status yet.
However our friends over on Ghacks.net have found a way to fast track Media Player availability on the general release of Windows 11, so if you are not an Insider you can still install the new Media Player if you want. Do note that this will replace Groove Music on Windows, so you have to be cool with losing that for this.
How to install Media Player
- Go to https://store.rg-adguard.net/, and paste the URL of the Groove Music app's Microsoft Store listing in the text box. Here's the link:
- Click the drop-down menu to the right-hand side, which says RP, and select the Fast.
- Proceed by clicking the checkmark button next to it, and a long list of links will appear. Look for the file name: Microsoft.ZuneMusic_11.2111.54.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe.msixbundle It is about 35 MB to download.
Note: below the correct link, there's a similar file with the number 54.70, that weighs about 92 MB. Don't download this version, as it cannot be used to update the Media Player.
- Run the file that you downloaded, and the operating system will display a pop-up that asks whether you would like to update Media Player. Click the update button to confirm the action, and wait for it to finish the process.
The Start Menu (All Apps) lists the app as Media Player, but Windows Search does not find the app, it will show the legacy Windows Media Player as the result. Ghacks further notes that oddly enough, searching for Groove Music lists the new Media Player in the results. We can only assume that the search indexing still points to the older version because the Store app uses the same listing.
One thing that users might enjoy is that Media Player finally handles subtitles properly it seems from our limited testing. The above example was with an external .srt subtitle next to the media file.
This workaround does not work on Windows 10 and it remains unclear whether the app will also be available for Windows 10 in a future update, but since the Groove app is being replaced, one can only assume that the Media Player will support the old operating system.
As a reminder of what you're getting, below is a summary of the new features.
Microsoft has noted that the new app has been designed with Windows 11 aesthetics in mind, so you'll get rounded corners and other design elements related to the OS.
Other features that Microsoft has touted are album art and "rich artist imagery" that will be visible both in the full screen mode as well as the mini player. Keyboard shortcuts and accessibility-focused enhancements are in tow too.
The legacy Windows Media Player will co-exist with the new Media Player app for now though, if you would rather use that. Microsoft noted back in November that it was aware of issues related to playing content stored in network locations, although we were able to play media over the network just fine, which may indicate a newer version fixed that. Microsoft has not committed to a general release date for Media Player on Windows 11 yet, and has not indicated that it will arrive on Windows 10.