Windows 10 will make it easier for audiophiles to enjoy lossless music, with support for the popular FLAC format across all modern and desktop programs.
Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul revealed the plans for FLAC support on Twitter, with a screenshot of FLAC files loaded in Windows Media Player. He then clarified that this is platform-level support, so any modern or Win32 application will be able to handle the format.
FLAC has become the de facto standard format for live, audience-recorded music, and is also used by high-quality music vendors such as HDTracks. While FLAC files tend to be larger than MP3s, they don’t remove any audio information during the compression process. That means the audio quality won’t degrade if the user rips audio from a CD and burns it back again, or repeatedly converts to and from uncompressed WAV files.
In previous versions of Windows, FLAC users had to download third-party media players or plug-ins that specifically supported the format. Windows 10 should change that, making FLAC as easy to access as a WAV file or an MP3 in all kinds of media applications.
Why this matters: Windows 10’s FLAC support will be a big boost for the format, as users will be able to just click on a file to play it with no extra hassle. Just to speculate a bit, if users can also sync their FLAC files through OneDrive and play them in Xbox Music across devices, that’d be a powerful tool for lossless audio fans—and one that other major music locker services aren’t offering.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.