Windows Media Player is a multimedia player and library file application developed by Microsoft, which is primarily used for playing standard audio, video and image files on personal computers running Microsoft Windows, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile based devices. The WMP is designed for both Windows and Macintosh OS X operating systems. A Windows Media Player can only play files that are already installed on the computer while a Macintosh Media Player can stream files that have been downloaded from the Internet. Despite their different modes of operation, both the WMP and the MACM are capable of reading most common multimedia files and standard audio and video formats. However, Apple Macintosh only allows a small selection of the formats that the WMP can read, such as AVI, FLV, MPEG, and MP4.
The WMP players also differ in terms of the way they handle data and the way they allow the user to select a particular format. The WMP allows the user to browse the file system for a file before it is played. A Mac user will need to drag the file from the player's main window to the Play dialog box, and then choose Play. On the other hand, for Windows Media Player, data can be accessed using the Files menu and then the relevant file will be opened for playback. In addition, although the WMP is more efficient when dealing with large files and multiple audio or video formats, the Mac version offers the ability to perform transcoding of the files to smaller file sizes using the Advanced transcoding tool.
However, despite the fact that Windows Media Player is more efficient when dealing with video and sound files, the Mac version still trounces it when it comes to pictures. The WMP simply doesn't have as many features as the MAC operating system when it comes to manipulating images. Also, Macs do not have the Flash plugin that is required for viewing high quality pictures. Finally, while Mac users are free to use any extension of the Windows Media Player, Mac users need to purchase a license each time they want to use one. This licensing requirement is generally quite cheap considering the features that Windows Media Player offers.