Windows Media Format Secures 2 Deals

Microsoft Corp. Wednesday garnered some endorsements for its Windows Media Format — a digital media platform that unlike the MP3 platform includes an integrated rights-management system for streaming and downloading audio/video files.

Compaq Computer Corp. has chosen the Windows Media format as the default digital media technology for its new iPAQ personal audio players. In addition to finding Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 integrated into the iPAQ, Compaq customers will also find a new customized Windows Media Player 7 on the Presario PC line.

“Consumers are demanding more and better capabilities from their computers and electronic devices,” said Sean Burke, vice president for Presario products at Compaq. “With the inclusion of Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 and Windows Media Format, these Compaq products will give users what they want — greatly enhanced audio and video quality; faster and easier downloads, playlists and personalization for music and video; and fun features that help them get the most out of their machines.”

Separately, in a smaller but related deal, Microsoft announced an agreement with, Inc. under which ZapMedia will integrate Windows Media into its upcoming ZapStation as the default digital media format. The new ZapStation will store, playback and protect digital entertainment content in a digital media system for the living room.

Microsoft boasts that the Windows Media format doubles the amount of music storable on standard 64MB MMC card from one hour to more than two hours, as compared to MP3.

“Consumers want an integrated and easy-to-use way to experience digital media,” said Will Poole, vice president of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft.

The new customized Windows Media Player 7 for Compaq offers a special Compaq-branded skin with links to Compaq partner Web sites, along with a co-branded Compaq and content guide to help users find digital audio and video on the Web. The new Compaq custom version of Windows Media Player 7 is available at here. It is also preinstalled on all Compaq Presario PCs that have been available on the Web and at in-store kiosks since Aug. 15 through Compaq’s “Built For You” program.

In addition, a new software driver will be available next week for Compaq iPAQ PA-1 customers, offering integration with Windows Media Player 7’s portable music device feature. The update will allow users to transfer their personal music collections from Presarios, or other PCs that support USB, to the iPAQ PA-1. The Windows Media Player 7 software update for the iPAQ PA-1 will be available Sept. 29 here.

Meanwhile, the ZapStation is designed to deliver personalized entertainment and news content to a consumer’s home television and stereo system. ZapMedia is partnering with internet service and broadband providers to assist in the acceptance of broadband as a primary in-home conduit for multimedia data.

Features include:

  • Broadband and Dial-Up access for home entertainment systems

  • Streaming Windows Media digital audio, video, MP3 and other formats, as well as play traditional CDs and DVDs

  • Integrated Storage for more than 10,000 digital audio songs and up to 30 hours of digital video

  • Internet and email access through television

  • Remote control driven television interface

“Microsoft’s Windows Media Technologies have fast become a leading integrated platform to capture, playback and protect audio and video, which is important in securing the most popular content from top-tier providers,” said Eric Hartz, CEO and president of

ZapMedia. “These core technologies from Microsoft will enable our customers to access sought after audio and video content already available in the Windows Media Format and help ZapMedia complete its vision of becoming the ‘ultimate entertainment experience.’ The ZapMedia system will create a personalized, interactive library of a user’s favorite songs, movies and videos.”

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