The new Windows 11 media player is now available in the beta channel
Microsoft’s new Media Player app for Windows 11 is now available to Windows Insiders in the beta channel, the company announced. The app first rolled out to Insiders in the Dev Channel in November. It’s a unified media player experience that replaces both Groove Music and the Movies & TV apps.
The new Media Player app appears to capitalize on the popular Windows Media Player app that has been at the heart of Windows for years. With Windows 8, Microsoft tried to split music and video into separate apps (Xbox Music and Xbox Video, initially), and that carried over into Windows 10, then Windows 11. Now they’re brought back into the same app.
In addition to merging music and video playback capabilities into a single app, the new Media Player for Windows 11 has an all-new design that’s more in line with the rest of Windows 11. All icons have been redesigned and the media player itself has a prominent play button in the center, which stands out a bit more than in Windows 10 apps.
It lets you add all the folders you want to search for music and video files, create playlists, and all the features you expect from a media player app. It also supports a picture-in-picture mode for video and music files so you can keep things in view while you’re doing other things. When playing music files, the application displays the album art from which the currently playing song is taken.
If you’re worried about losing the classic Windows Media Player, don’t worry, it’s still hidden in the Windows Tools folder in the Start menu. Despite all the alternatives Microsoft has tried to develop over the years, it hasn’t completely killed the classic media player.
Recently, Microsoft announced Media Player as one of many new features in Windows 11 in February. It is therefore a bit surprising that it is only available in the beta version. Last week, Android app support was made available in the Release Preview channel, which is usually the last step before general availability. To be fair, the new Media Player app shouldn’t require so much testing. You can also check out our list of Windows 11 preview features to see what Microsoft is planning for the future.