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After reading that Xbox Music had added a cloud based music locker service using OneDrive I decided to give it a quick test.

Due to my frustrations with the Xbox One, the loss (or at least the continued depreciation of…) Windows Media Center, I have switched over my music collection to work with Apple TV (and subsequently iOS on our new iPhones).

I have to say that our music experience at home has been pretty good after this shift.  (The Remote App works great and if I am willing to listen to non-cd quality I can stream music directly from iCloud.  The sound quality is noticeably better when streaming in loss-less directly from a PC running iTunes.)

Two years ago I ripped all of our CDs to loss-less FLAC files using DB Poweramp.  From there I convert the FLAC files to either WMA Loss-less (when using XBOX/WMP) – or more recently AAC Loss-less.  Some of our music is 24-bit purchased from HDTracks.  The Apple TV downgrades HD (24-bit) music to 16-bit (CD Quality) automatically.  My great hope for the XBOX One had been that it is capable of 24-bit playback via HDMI.

So here is what you actually read the article for.  I test uploaded a 24-bit AAC Loss-less file (Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories – not that it matters…) and attempted to play it back with both the Windows 8.1 Xbox Music App and the Xbox Music browser player.  Both gave me an error message stating that the music was not in a format that could be played back.  The few specs from Microsoft that are on the Xbox Music / OneDrive website do state that AAC is supported AND that WMA Loss-less is supported.  It does not make the claim that AAC Loss-less is supported.  My small test seems to confirm that AAC Loss-less is not supported.

In my case this means converting my FLAC files to WMA Loss-less and then uploading them via OneDrive, if I want to use this service.  If I knew that 24-bit audio was supported, it might be worth it.

That is, except for OneDrive’s major defect.

A while back I decided to backup all of our pictures and music to the cloud.  Since I have an Office365 Subscription which comes with unlimited OneDrive storage – I decided to use OneDrive.  It took a WEEK to upload our photo collection.  (When uploading documents in a complex folder schema it went totally berserk – creating unreadable duplicates and  nearly destroying my documents archive.)

Out of frustration I decided to try DropBox for cloud storage.  It uploaded the same photo collection in 12 hours.  My test upload of a single album to OneDrive today was also VERY slow.  If Microsoft truly wants us to move our digital lives to OneDrive, they are going to have to fix their upload problem.

FLAC support would be super nice too.  *AHEM*

The thumbnail viewer of Windows Media Player 1...

The thumbnail viewer of Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7 Home Premium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPDATE (6/16/2014):  Since this post gets a lot of hits I feel the need to do a brief update.  I do not think that the technique here works any longer with the newer versions of Android OS and Google Music player.  I abandoned using Android out of frustration with this process once my phone updated to Ice Cream Sandwich.  (Windows Phone does sync natively with Windows Media Player – FYI).  If you are using a version of Android (2.x or 3.x) this process may still work. 

 

I dislike loading extra software onto my PC or phone.  I’m always worried that whatever is being installed will clutter up my otherwise clean OS and create conflicts and performance issues.

Therefore, I use Windows Media Player to organize my music collection and prefer to use the stock music player on my Android phone.  Unfortunately, WMP does not transfer playlists to the Android music player when it syncs the music files.

After much research and experimentation I finally discovered that it is possible to simply cut and paste a native .wpl (Windows Media) playlist into the Android “Music” folder and the Play Music app will see it and play it.  No additional software required.

Google Play Music

This is a nice discovery considering that Windows Media Center is my preferred home entertainment platform.  Thus, you can make a playlist conveniently on your PC, use the same list on your Xbox360 for the home and have that playlist work on your Android phone.