With the RTM version of Windows 8 now available for certain users, more and more Windows 8 specific apps have been showing up in the Windows Store. Many of those apps will be designed to play back audio files.
In a new post on the official Windows 8 app developer blog, Microsoft offers up some new information on the media playback features that can be used for Windows 8 apps. The blog post centers on discussing the new Playback Manager and Media Transport Controls (shown above).
The MTC UI (as it is affectionately known in the halls of the Media Platform team) allows a user to play/pause audio whether it is in the foreground or the background, even if the app has been suspended in the background. This UI is invoked when a user presses the volume buttons on a keyboard or slate. It shows up everywhere: the new immersive environment, desktop, and even in the lock screen. It is a great addition to Windows 8 and your apps can (and should) make use of it where appropriate.
The new Playback Manager is also Microsoft's attempt to give users a way to avoid having more than one audio file playing at once. The blog states:
For example, if a background capable app is playing music and is moved to the background, and then the user opens a new app in the foreground to play music, Playback Manager mutes the audio in the background app. This allows for a more fluid and intuitive user experience. Users hear what they want to hear, not what they don’t.
The post includes some sample code so that Windows 8 app creators can use the new audio features in their apps. It also talks about how streaming audio apps will work in the OS. Microsoft says that developers of such apps will have to do some extra programming in order to have them work even in the low powered "connected standby" mode of Windows 8.
Source: Windows 8 app developer blog | Image via Microsoft