Chapter IV.1. Jammin' with Windows Media Player

In This Chapter

  • Understanding C.R.A.P. music and video formats

  • Setting up Windows Media Player for your benefit — not Microsoft's

  • Buying music that won't bite

  • Ripping music from an audio CD

  • Copying music to a CD or digital player

  • Finding the Media Library: where your music is kept

Windows Media Player (WMP) is da man. Er, uh. Wait a sec. Let me start over. WMP sucks. No, that's not what I meant. Hold on. I have this loud thud coming from my speakers, the Water Ambience visualization looks like smoke in Godzilla's eye, and Trent Reznor is screaming "You can't take it away from me." Lemme turn the volume down. There. Yeah. That's better.

What I meant to say is that Windows Media Player sucks you in from the moment you start it. As the Windows 7 built-in boom box, it plays CDs, of course, but it also lets you play, organize, and generally enjoy almost any kind of music and most videos stored on your computer, whether the tunes or "vids" came from CDs, an online store, the Internet, or that smelly guy with a big baseball cap at the flea market.

Wait! Before you buy more music or try to rip a DVD, you need to know something: the industry's dirty little secret. Some of the music you buy and many DVDs and recorded TV shows are protected by digital rights management (DRM), and the companies that pull the strings can not only dictate how and when you listen to the music (or view the videos) but also change the rules, retroactively, and you can't do ...

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