Microsoft has released its latest digital media software, Windows Media 9.
At a glitzy star-studded launch ceremony in Los Angeles last night, chairman Bill Gates formally unveiled the software.
Windows Media 9 has been in development for nearly four years and comes with a $500m price tag.
It boasts improved media management features and aims to create what it calls "a more TV-like experience" for the PC.
New audio and video software means that content creators can get 20 per cent smaller file sizes without losing quality, according to Microsoft.
But Media Player 9 will only have limited support for MP3 files, unless the consumer pays for an add-in product.
It features auto playlists to help organise digital music files, and a dozen preconfigured auto playlists for organising songs into categories, such as genre, rating or most-played.
Buffering times have also been reduced, with Microsoft claiming that the technology can use all the bandwidth available to the PC to deliver more content at once.
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