You can use Windows Media Player to find and subscribe to music, video, radio services, and other types of content from online stores provided by Internet content providers. Depending on the store, you can do any number of things with the content, including playing, downloading to your computer, buying, burning, and synchronizing the content to a portable device. All downloaded content appears in the library. All content downloaded during the current session of the Player also appears in the Downloads category (this category is cleared when you exit and restart the Player).

To get started, you can browse through the wide number of stores that are available in the Player until you find the stores that you like. You can then sign up with as many stores as you want and begin shopping. Note that the stores that are available depend on your location.

Some of the stores that are available in the Player are more integrated with the Player. These stores appear as a category in your library, and you can access the content in these stores as if it was another library in the Player. For example, you can drag files from the store to create a playlist or a list of files to burn or sync. You can also search across the entire contents of the store. There are other stores available in the Player as well. These stores appear as webpages within the Player, and offer a variety of services. You can browse the available stores to find the ones you want to shop from.

Some stores require you to install additional software on your computer before you can use them. To add or remove a store plug-in, you must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group.

The content that stores provide is typically protected with media usage rights, which specify what you can do with the content. For example, the file's media usage rights might specify that the file cannot be burned to an audio CD, or they might limit the number of times the file can be burned to an audio CD or synchronized to a device.

Each store specifies what rights they grant to you for the content that they provide. See DRM: frequently asked questions for more information about protected files as well as an explanation of the differences between media purchases versus media subscription services.

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To browse the stores

  1. Click the arrow below the Online Stores tab (the tab furthest to the right), and then click Browse all Online Stores.

    A webpage is displayed that lists all of the stores that are available. Click a store you are interested in, and the Player will display the store.

    For specific questions about how to use a particular online store, see the customer service or Help links on the store's webpage.

  2. If you want to return to this store regularly, you can mark it as a favorite by clicking the arrow below the Online Stores tab, and then clicking Add current service to menu.

    If you decide at a later time that you no longer want the store to be in the favorite list, simply click the arrow below the Online Stores tab, and then click Remove current service from menu.

To shop from a different store

If you have signed up with several different stores, it is easy to switch between them.

  • Click the arrow below the Online Stores tab (the tab furthest to the right), and then click Browse all Online Stores to find the store you want to shop from.

To use the Media Guide

The Media Guide in the Player contains a live webpage that is hosted by WindowsMedia.com. The guide is like an electronic magazine; it is updated daily with links to the latest movies, music, and video on the Internet, and includes a broad range of topics from worldwide news to the latest developments in the entertainment industry. You can play everything displayed in the Media Guide feature by using the Player.

  • Click the arrow below the Online Stores tab (the tab furthest to the right), and then click Media Guide.

To listen to online radio

You can use the Player to listen to radio stations that broadcast over the Internet. The Internet Radio feature (formerly known as Radio Tuner) provides a list of some of the most popular stations from around the world.

  1. Click the arrow below the Online Stores tab (the tab furthest to the right), and then click Media Guide.

  2. Click the link for Internet Radio (because Media Guide is a live webpage, the name and location of this link is subject to change).

    Note that some online stores also offer radio programming.