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Thursday, September 02, 2004

PC Magazine Opinion: How Good is the Portable Media Center?

PC Magazine Opinion: How Good is the Portable Media Center?: "How Good is the Portable Media Center?

September 2, 2004
By Michael J. Miller

So how good is the Microsoft Portable Media Center (PMC)? Not bad, not bad at all, especially for a first-generation product. It has a good user interface and was pretty intuitive to use, despite a few glitches.
Effectively, the UI is a new version of Windows Media Player (version 10). I've never been a huge fan of WMP, despite its decent performance, preferring the UI in jukebox software like Musicmatch. But the new version is a lot cleaner, with the basic controls now on the top (instead of on the side), and with more intuitive controls such as Rip and Burn. And it finally lets you create MP3 files without a third-party add-on.
The new version adds a Sync screen, where you can select material to be copied to a PMC or a supported music player. From this screen, you can select music, recorded TV shows, video, or photographs to move to the device. You can also set it up to sync automatically, transferring the most recent content to the device.
The PMC devices, and other upcoming music players that support Microsoft's new Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), will also let you take music you are renting�say from Napster's streaming service�and put it on the devices using Microsoft's new 'Janus' DRM technology. This lets you play the music, but only if you sync often enough for the software to verify that you're still licensed to listen to the music. This is an interesting development, though I wonder how many people will pay extra for the ability to take their music with them on such a device.
In general, everything worked pretty well for me�transferring songs I ripped, renting songs, and downloading tracks I purchased. And I "

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