Microsoft has unveiled a new range of media software which it boasts will enhance the quality of digital sound and video downloads from the web.

Branded Windows Media 9, the new offering includes an audio/video player and features for online broadcasters. The product is not designed solely for PCs – the software colossus plans to use it to enter new markets such as mobile phones and TV set-top boxes.

One of the most important features of Windows Media 9 is its inclusion of technology preventing the unlicensed copying of media content – a big draw for the copyright-conscious entertainment giants Microsoft is trying to woo, though maybe less popular among everyday users.

The new product is billed as an improvement on the software offered by competitor RealNetworks, though the latter argues Window Media 9 is nothing more than an attempt to catch up. As ever, though, Microsoft will have the advantage of being able to bundle its offering with its many other applications.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff