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MTP Function Driver

The Media Transfer Protocol is a set of custom extensions to the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) devised by Microsoft, to allow the protocol to be used for devices other than digital cameras, for example digital audio players such as MP3 players, and other portable media devices, for example portable video players. Media Transfer Protocol (commonly referred to as MTP) is part of the "Windows Media" framework and thus closely related to Windows Media Player. Support for Media Transfer Protocol in Windows XP requires the installation of Windows Media Player 10 or Windows Media Player 11. Windows Vista, however, offers support for MTP natively – putting this protocol on a par with other protocols such as USB MSC.The USB Implementers Forum device working group is presently working on standardizing MTP as a fully fledged Universal Serial Bus USB device class. When that process is complete, MTP will be a USB device class peer to USB mass storage device class, USB Video Class, and so on.

MTP enables Windows XP, Vista and any other supported OSs to recognize the device as a standard media device. Using the MTP Function Driver, users can communicate with their USB media device through any standard multimedia application without the need for additional software on the host side. The MTP protocol is designed for content exchange between a portable media device and a PC, as well as command and control of the device remotely from the PC.

The protocol is implemented for use across USB. The host connecting to an MTP device is called an MTP Initiator whereas the device itself is an MTP Responder. The main purpose of the protocol is to transfer media files and associated metadata to/from devices, with optional additional support for remote control of the device, reading and setting of device parameters such as special DRM-related device parameters for restricted content. The device can also send events to the host. A main reason for using MTP rather than for example the USB mass storage device class is that it allows the device to have some intrinsic file system, whereas USB mass storage almost always use FAT. Further, when a FAT filesystem is attached to a host computer the file system is "owned" by the host and thus the device itself cannot for example add, remove, play or rename files during this time without risking corruption of the file system. MTP (or PTP) does not necessitate such device lock-down. It will also handle the situation where a device is unplugged in the middle of a file transfer, whereas a FAT filesystem will be corrupted. Additionally, the MTP allows MTP Initiators to identify the specific capabilities of device(s) with respect to file formats and functionality. MTP Basic has been proposed for standardization and shall become available on multiple platforms.


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