Microsoft, early next month, will release to the public the first official Release Candidate of Windows 7.
PhoneNews.com has obtained an early copy of the release, and has been focusing on one new feature in particular, absent from the previous builds: Windows Media Player Remote Media Experience (RME).
At first glance, RME appears to be nothing more than the equivalent to iTunes Sharing, enabling the Windows Media Player library to communicate with other clients on the network. The service requires a premium SKU of Windows 7, essentially, any version other than Starter or Home Basic. But RME is not designed to simply stream music. Microsoft has begun to take advantage of the acquisition of WebGuide4, and appears positioned to combine RME with Windows Live, offering a competitor to Orb and other free placeshifting solutions.
While unfinished, the underpinnings appear to allow for across-internet streaming of content, and will re-encode high-bandwidth files (TV Shows, movies, etc) dynamically as connection speeds slow. However, there is a catch: It’s not cross-platform. You’ll likely need a Windows Mobile device to tap into the final form of the service. However, it also isn’t clear how open the platform will be. Microsoft has not updated the Windows Media SDK with any RME underpinnings.
If opened properly, third-parties could author access gateways (complete with encoders) to carry content to a broad range of devices. Such a move would also attack Apple’s weakening position as a complete media solution. iTunes lacks placeshifting beyond the local network, and has no support for dynamically re-encoding content.
The Windows 7 RC contains other new features not present in previous public releases. The operating system added an XP Mode, which mimics Mac OS Classic. The notable feature adds a dedicated virtualization mode, designed to support legacy Windows software, allowing Microsoft to remove dead weight from the operating system in future versions.