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Microsoft reveal Zune details

Written by Ben Reid @ 14 Sep 2006 12:42 User comments (40)

Microsoft reveal Zune details Microsoft Corp. has today unveiled details of the first products it plans to launch under its new Zune brand.
The Zune, Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPod, is scheduled for release this holiday season in the U.S. It will include a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and "a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music," according to Microsoft's Press Release.

The Zune device, which will retail with a choice of three colors (black, brown and white), will come equipt with many features including Wi-Fi, a built-in FM radio, and a 3-inch screen. As expected, it will store music, pictures and video. Supported audio formats will be MP3, unprotected WMA and unprotected AAC. Supported video formats will be MPEG-4, WMV and H.264.

In its Press Release, Microsoft also noted that sharing of music between Zune users will be possible through the device's Wi-Fi technology. It said, "Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace."

The Zune Marketplace gives consumers the opportunity to either purchase music tracks individually, or buy a Zune Pass subscription to download an unlimited amount of songs for a flat fee.

The device will be preloaded with content from a whole host of record labels including DTS, EMI Musics Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune and Playlouderecordings, amongst others.

"The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning," beamed J Allard, Microsoft's vice president of design and development. "With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections."

Source:
Press Release

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40 user comments

114.9.2006 13:08

Quote:
Supported audio formats will be MP3, unprotected WMA and unprotected AAC. Supported video formats will be MPEG-4, WMV and H.264 (Apple's video codec).
What the downside is the wma support as it says it will only work with unprotected wma files. This will just make all those programers come up with a crack for this new technology. The wifi technology is great and I think can be used for good and bad stuff too. It all depends on who get their hands on it. :)

214.9.2006 14:35

fairuse4wm or something cracks the protection doesn't it? Well, this sounds ok, but if it didn't have all this DRM, i would buy it.

314.9.2006 14:53
dziglar12
Inactive

Wait a minute... Doesn't unprotected signify no DRM?

414.9.2006 15:24

dziglar12, it simply means that the Zune will not play files that have DRM on them. This sounds weird to me as this may signify the "Zune Marketplace" doesn't have DRM. But, we will just have to see.

514.9.2006 15:28

Looks okay I guess. I mean, the thing has a slight retro feel to it... black? fine. white? fine. Brown? hmmm... "...or buy a Zune Pass subscription to download an unlimited amount of songs for a flat fee." Provided the price of such a pass is reasonable, I think this is an interesting alternative for people who buy music online.

614.9.2006 15:31

Looks like MS is setting itself up for success. The biggest gripe with Apple's iPod has always been it's DRM. Maybe Creative won't be the only worthwhile choice anyway.

714.9.2006 15:52

wow the zune looks cool.. i might get one ! =]

814.9.2006 16:14

it may look good, but i see this as just feeding the beast. microsoft is too good for its own good (as well as the good of the rest of us). personally, i think we should be supporting all the little competitors wherever we can, as competition amongst these companies is nothing but good for the consumer.



914.9.2006 16:40

Quote:
"Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.
so you can only listne to the song 3 times before it gets erased?!?!?! what if its a new mix from one of your friends? does it still get deleted? that would be really annoying.

1014.9.2006 16:48

the little device will not see any difference between music your friend mixed and the newest justin timberlake/eminem duet...so you're S.O.L. on that one.

1114.9.2006 17:02

... On second though, I think I like the simple look of it. Here's a link to some high-res pictures on Microsoft.com if you want to take a closer look: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/zune/default.mspx ...I still don't like the brown one :-[

1214.9.2006 23:22

Quote:
it may look good, but i see this as just feeding the beast. microsoft is too good for its own good (as well as the good of the rest of us). personally, i think we should be supporting all the little competitors wherever we can, as competition amongst these companies is nothing but good for the consumer.
So you're a creative zen guy, right? Because Apple has a stranglehold on the music player market, as well as as in music downloading services. Anyways, if it's a quality product, and it's made by a manufacturer other than Satan, then I'll definately consider buying it. I don't like Ipods, for what it's worth, so any alternative is worth looking into.
Quote:
so you can only listne to the song 3 times before it gets erased?!?!?! what if its a new mix from one of your friends? does it still get deleted? that would be really annoying.
I believe that's kind of like a "preview" feature for songs available on the marketplace, because I don't think it's legal for microsoft to require you to purchase a home recording from one of your friends.

1315.9.2006 2:36

Accutally doesn't sound bad at all! The selling market thing is a bit like napster by the sounds of it. But like i've said on all other mp3/music online news: If people are happy with Apple and iTunes or whatever, they have no reason to switch.

1415.9.2006 3:18

i'm at a loss should i get a plain ipod video or THIS!

1515.9.2006 4:23
Danshaku
Inactive

Quote:
Supported audio formats will be MP3, unprotected WMA and unprotected AAC. Supported video formats will be MPEG-4, WMV and H.264.
well the post doesn't mention anything about unprotected mp3 so if music you buy is in mp3 (whitch is most likely) you get DRM with it.

1615.9.2006 5:04

well this being a microsoft product anyone want to bet me that there will be a patch posted to their website prior to the release of of the product... if history tells us anything its that it will crash.. not that Im a fan of the Ipods its just that this is a consern that history will repeat it self. if this will only play windows dominate formates then arnt we just signing on for a nother proprity peace of equipment .. and how will it interfase with the macs....? if you want to have the latest and the greatest try a I-STATION from Digital Cube its sold in the UK and will be entering larger markets this year it plays DivX mp3 avi's and alot more it plays all the standers also it has a wi fi and sports a GPS system standered so why hasnt microsoft made some thing better or just a whole lot less exspencive because the consumers are willing to let them bye with out demanding more for your hard earned dollars.....on ebay people are selling Nano nockoffs for less the 75.00usd that are 4gb in size that work just fine so why are we all stuck on the IPOD name? maybe its us the buyers who need to open our eyes and relise that we are being ripped off.

1715.9.2006 6:54

i happen to agree, given microsofts track record with software and their latest consoles ,this just happens to be a product that in theory may seem nice. reality probably is this will face the same plagues that all microsoft products do and atleast this time maybe consumers will get a portable heater out of it......im just kidding, but a company as large as they are with as many resources that they have should be able to deliver topnotch products which IMO they haven't been doing for quite some time now.

1815.9.2006 9:15

*** Got it off http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/zune/docs/ZuneFS.doc "This feature allows recipients to play full-length sample tracks up to three times in three days. Recipients cannot resend music that they have received via the sharing feature." Ok so we cant share.. that's kinda lame.. Just imagine this: You have a selection of songs that your friend(s) wifi-ed to you. And since it's supposed to be 'sample tracks', after 3 days or 3 times it was played (whichever comes first); it 'erases' the tracks. But not before 'tagging' the track's signature. So the next attempt to have the same track wifi-ed over to you would be useless as the device would instantly recognise the track. From where i stand, the only way to get around the problem is to re-encode to track yourself and change the ID tag. Cumbersome...

1915.9.2006 9:28

oofRome: yes i am. i've had my 60 gig zen nomad for over a year. it gets great battery life, is extremely durable, and was far less expensive than the competition. i don't need to carry photos and videos around with me..that's what a laptop's for (i hate small screens), but when i'm walking class to class on campus, or working out, or am away from my lappy or desktop, my lil nomad rocks my world. plus, it functions as an external hard drive quite easily. for my purposes, nothing from any other company compared, especially for the money... but i will hold no biases; if a product proves itself in it's price range, i will try it and most likely recommend it.

2015.9.2006 10:16

Looks interesting, but I think these devices are a not worth the investment. I mean theres a huge selectoin of smartphones that can do much more then this, plus its a cellphone.

2115.9.2006 10:39

The way I see it, when this comes out it will be nothing more than a fancy MS crippled device. Give it about a year, and there will probaly be so much dev going on with it that you will probaly be able to do virtually anything with it. (Emulators, unlimited sending of any song with wifi ability, internet, etc.) I already have a 30GB iPod Video, but I might consider this. In due time that is...

2215.9.2006 12:31

Quote:
"Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.
It would suck if it got erased after 3 plays and plus, it is only going to be a sample track anyways. But being able to buy the track right then and there on your own Zune will be pretty neat.

2315.9.2006 12:32

My bad, I guess it will be a full track.

2415.9.2006 15:37

Maybe, just maybe, the reason it took so long for MS to cum out with its own version of mp3 player, was that it wanted to do it right. Create something that would actually compete with Ipod. Of course there r players out there that r better than the Ipod, but people have there heads so far up there bungholes that they don't notice. The zunes probably will have problems, WHAT electronic device that is mass produced doesn't? We have 2 ipods in our household, and although we haven't had any problems with them, they r not worth the money. Small capacity, no special features like fm tuner, the add ons cost more than the Ipod's. I wood had never oked 2 by them if it wasn't 4 the fact that females will not be caught dead in public without the latest fad in fear of being laughed at. I want quality plus quanity. What is the point of paying 300 bucks for a mp3 player so I can watch a 2 inch video or 150 bucks 4 a player that only holds enough music 4 a 2 day stretch. If it wasn't for Ipod the mp3 players with be at a more reasonable price. But since Ipod owns the market they can dictate the market. Hopefully zune will help change that. My point being, How much do u think a new ford truck would cost if chevy quit making them, or vice versa. Btw, is there a price yet 4 zune?

2515.9.2006 16:21

I have an RCA lyra that plays all my protected and un protected music, wma or mp3 and I am not interested in watching itty bitty movies and videos I spent a fortune on a Home theatre and 37inch lcd HDTV why oh why would I want to watch a pocket video. The only other place I watch video is when traveling I take my laptop download Movielink videos to take along with all the adapter cords to plug into the hotel tv or watch on the plain from my laptop. I think all this mini tv stuff is a fad and waste of money. Yet the two Steve's continue to find ways to make thier companies rich thats Ballmer and Jobs at work for ya!!!

2615.9.2006 16:52
flyingv
Inactive

The biggest problem that Microsoft is going to have with this player is the MP3 market is so flooded with products already. I'm surprised that they would even spend the time, let alone the money, it cost to create this thing. Do they not make enough off of the products that they already produce and that they feel that they have to get involved in this part of the market also? LOL!!!

2715.9.2006 20:33

I guess i can see why MS design the device in such a way. Look at ipod for instance. Its simple design had people from all over went googoogaagaa. With minimal buttons and simple GUI. (Now we all know infringed creative's design.) So MS is banking on that simple idea. But wat i would like to see are these: 1) Minimum of 24hrs battery life for continuous video playback. 2) Video output sockets. 3) No AVL. 4) Touch screen. 5) Include AVI format for video playback. Or go one better, the ability to install video codecs. (MP4's fine for small screen, but i dun think i wanna watch it if it gets to the big screen.) 6) Downloadable 3rd party softwares.

2815.9.2006 20:53
v965hdss
Inactive

Any thing to do with microsoft sucks. All they want to do is dominate the market and make loads of money. They don't have a great track record of invention/inovation, they just buy up the competition. I'm afraid that they will now screw-up the MP3 player market, and now that dreaded blue screen on a MP3 player!!!!

2916.9.2006 4:33

Quote:
All they want to do is dominate the market and make loads of money.
Doesn''t every company want this to happen?

3016.9.2006 8:34

The exact wording in the press document for audio file support is: Zune software can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264

3116.9.2006 18:08

I love my iPOD but looking at Zune it looks badass,is a beautiful design.Did you guys see that in one of the pictures the brown Zune is lay down in one side?looks like if can be seen videos in that way too..???ps:what is the price for this piece of technology,30Gigs Zune?

3216.9.2006 18:13

The high res shots look great... the UI is looking alot nicer aswell... Looks like a winner.

3319.9.2006 7:53
gogochar
Inactive

I'm still not gonna buy one.

3419.9.2006 13:16

Why we can't share with Zune?

3519.9.2006 13:19

because bill gates always wanted to be the husband in prison, and that's why he has his company treat the customers the way he does.

3619.9.2006 13:50

Really beautiful but in that way i will never buy it.I think that people will stay with Ipod.

3719.9.2006 13:54

or do the smart thing and go third-party XD

3823.9.2006 1:47

.....i think that a software will make posssible to rip whatever you want.

3929.9.2006 15:42

All I am going to say is that there will be a new firmware, most likely linux-based, released within three months after launch. This new firmware will be able to accept any sort of wi-fi transfers, up to infinity, and DRM will not work like it is supposed to. History DOES always repeat itself with microsoft products. We started putting linux on our pcs, and then our Xboxes. the 360 is only a matter of time.

4026.9.2007 16:31

ZUNE to TV!

Is there a way to play zune video files on your TV through RCA or S-video? I think this would be cool to have a full DVD5 DVD on your Zune and then hook it up to a TV to watch anywhere.

Does any 1 know if you can do this?

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