Power Downloader checks out the new Winamp Beta

Power Downloader finds out that a new 10th anniversary edition of Winamp is just around the corner. He downloads and installs the beta to see what's new.

Power Downloader

Power Downloader's life is not always spent catching criminals and traveling the world. Every once in awhile, Power has to do tedious tasks like processing documents, adding content to a database, and organizing files. When repetitive work needs to get done on his computer, Power likes to listen to his favorite music to pass the time.

There are several good music applications to choose from, but some are stronger at certain things than others, and Power knows that not everyone uses the same program. Most people's music applications change over time and according to specific needs (like iTunes for managing music on an iPod for example), but one classic program has always been high on Power Downloader's list of favorite music applications: Winamp.

Winamp is one of the old standby music players for Windows users with an easy-to-understand interface and a virtually unlimited ability to customize to your specifications. The general playback controls are solid, and with a multiband equalizer and an incredibly flexible playlist, Winamp is an obvious choice for many users. But when Power Downloader recently heard that a brand new Winamp 5.5 Beta was on the way, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Winamp, he immediately checked out the beta to see what was new.

With the Winamp beta installed on his hard drive, Power Downloader quickly noticed a revamped interface unifying the classic modules and the added support for album art. Digging deeper into the new features, Power thought the new Media Monitor was particularly interesting, giving him the ability to play music files from an open Web page. An added playlist generator let Power search for more music in his library that fit a specific criteria, so getting a shuffled playlist of a chosen genre was as easy as a couple of mouse clicks. The retooled Media Library let Power quickly browse through all of his available media types and worked as a control center for the player. Finally, the support for remote access to music and videos on the Web made Power Downloader think he might stick with Winamp for a while.

With his latest software distraction out of the way, Power Downloader was able to get back to the tedious task of comparing notes of old criminal files and new ones. But with the new Winamp beta playing his favorite songs as he worked, Power knew the time would fly by.

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.