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Last (of yea, except for RealPlayer... ) Windows Media Player 10 is one of Microsoft's best pieces of software and is some much better then last generation of MS media players. The jukebox itself is stuffed with features such as its ability to monitor changes to your digital media files and update itself, simple sync and burn, ratings, and auto tag features are all very nice.
One of changes in V.10 is ability to rip files if format and with ( or without ) DRM of your choice. You also get ability to listen to Internet radio streams with WMP, and although they tend to be more corporate then hip shoutcast radio you can still find some good music. WMP also features a lossless ripping of CD's but I was less impressed with results then I was with Apples Lossless.
And finally there is RealPlayer. The free RealPlayer 10 is better then previous version although that is not saying much imho. It still takes over your file formats by default, tries to force you register, runs in background (phoning home ?) unless you can find settings to tell it not to - all of problems that it has always have. I say stay as far away from Real as possible even if you can use "Harmony" to use your iPod with Real store. While I may be being over critical of Real's jukebox - I do think that there are other alternatives that are less intrusive and have better feature sets.
All in all I think that either iTunes or WMP is a solid choice and far and away best media players available. Winamp is a okay too as long as you don't need to rip music or burn it back to a CD - but it is worth download and install just to listen to Shoutcast stations from time to time. Personally I use WMP at work and iTunes are home, so take that for what it's worth. I think that I like WMP a little better, but not so much that I would take time to switch my iTunes set up at home.
This article was originally posted on Online Music Blog and was written by James Kendall of Copacetix Digital Creation.