AfterDawn: Tech news

Zune HD is finally here

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 27 May 2009 21:38 User comments (43)

Zune HD is finally here The long awaited Microsoft Zune HD media player is now official, with the company introducing it today (without a price tag however).
"Zune HD is the next iteration of the Zune device family and brings a new level of listening and viewing experiences to the portable media player category," says the press release.

The Zune HD will have a built-in HD radio receiver and can output HD video. The player has Wi-Fi capabilities and an OLED touchscreen with a resolution of 480 by 272 pixels.

"The Zune music player is an integral part of the Zune experience," said Enrique Rodriguez, VP for Microsoft's video group and and will bring "cross-platform experiences and video content to living rooms around the world."

The software giant said it will also use Xbox Live to help spur Zune HD sales, "prominently" placing Zune content in the Xbox Live interface, allowing users to to download videos and songs for easy playback on the media player.

Through an HDMI docking station, Zune HD users will be able to playback 720p content on any HDTV.

The player is coming in the fall, but there was no exact date or price given just yet.

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43 user comments

127.5.2009 22:38

I thought the .zune was dead.

227.5.2009 22:47

Originally posted by 713tex:
I thought the .zune was dead.
That was just a wonderful dream you had...it lives on to be an HD device that does not even have an SD screen!

327.5.2009 23:27

Uh oh, if it's that thin it must be flash memory like the iPod touch, meaning it'll be really expensive or just useless for HD cause there isn't enough space :/

If not, I like :)

Oh, and I love how they make Xbox Live sound like the classifieds at the back of your newspaper :P

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 May 2009 @ 23:29

428.5.2009 0:47
llongtheD
Inactive

Dang, seems like alot of microsoft haters on this site. If it doesn't force you to use a program to transfer files, like itunes nazi like control of YOUR files, it might be worth taking a look at.
I actually have an iphone, but can't stand itunes, and won't have another apple product. It will be interesting to see how good the zuneHD is, when it is actually released.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 0:48

528.5.2009 1:24

Originally posted by KillerBug:
an HD device that does not even have an SD screen!
/facepalm

628.5.2009 1:37

i make it pretty known to everyone i talk to or come in contact with or stand next to in the grocery line that i hate apple and itunes. microsoft isnt as bad but its still nothing to have pride in.

archos has better media players, google has better phones, sansa has better mp3 players

728.5.2009 1:42
llongtheD
Inactive

@ korgoth3

I'm sure the people in the grocery line just love hearing your opinions on it, lol. Just kidding.
Agreed on the other points.

828.5.2009 2:51

with my experiances with microsoft products in the past we have all decided to stay away from microsoft made hardware (as it always fails somehow) and there marketing is not very good hd OH if i wanted to watch hd i would hook my computer to my tv for hd not buy a zune which will probly need a $100 seperate attachment to utilize the hd (doesnt say it comes with docking station)

for people who hate itunes and think zune will be better (not saying itunes doesnt have problems buts its genraly more usable)
zune software has very unorginized slow interface that doesnt really work well. forced updating to latest software so if you have 1.0 you have to get the latest before you can sync or do anything else (i didnt have internet awhile when i got mine so since i couldnt update i couldnt use my zune because it required an update

the reson apple made itunes is for ease of use no drag and drop every thing into a music folder on device (should still have drag and drop though) just simply plug in choose artists and sync

with the new version of zune say hello vista or 7 cause xp. microsoft doesnt like you so zune doesnt support xp anymore


in Genral microsoft failed at making a user freindly mp3
they need to stick with operating systems and forget about hardware
if they did that there os's might be a little better (less buggy)

sorry for the rant (im kinda anti-microsoft) but im done now

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 2:56

928.5.2009 3:06
llongtheD
Inactive

@ MrPuffin

I guess the point of my first post was lets see how it turns out once through production, instead of dooming it to the grave before even released. I'm not trying to sound like a fanboy, I've had plenty of frustrations with their products/operating systems in the past. You hit the nail on the head though, by saying their marketing wasn't very good. Apple definitely has them beat there, but I don't buy a product just for the marketing.

1028.5.2009 4:21

I might just have to get one so I can upload some of the games I have been working on in XNA 3.0

I was quite surprised to learn that they are compatible with Zune players too. Some of these are pretty addictive and would be sweet to have on a small portable screen.

I currently have an 80 GB IPOD Classic, and love it.

Sounds like this player will have decent functionality and it might just be worth a second look when it is released.

1128.5.2009 7:58
varnull
Inactive

Quote:
with my experiances with microsoft products in the past we have all decided to stay away from microsoft made hardware (as it always fails somehow)
by some miracle both my 2002 made 1.1 xbox machines are still going strong.. not even a new laser in all that time.. everything has a fail rate.. the newer something is the less likely it is to last.. made down to a price and disposable.. waste and designed in obsolescence.
that's our world we have created.

portable devices are usually mistreated by the user rather than go wrong, and with an expected life of about 12 months between new models the manufacturers don't really want to make a long lasting quality product.. it's in their best interests to make crap and sell sheeple new ones every year.

microsucks use the same factories in the far east that all the other manufacturers use.. same crap on the inside.. different brand name on the outside.

what puzzles me is why the hell people want to stare at a tiny screen to watch a boring same old hollywood garbage film.. in HD or not.. jeeez. .. can't they just look out the window or read a book or something instead

1228.5.2009 8:32

An HD shitbrick.

They just keep trying.

You have to give them credit that.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 8:32

1328.5.2009 9:59

Quote:
QUOTE:
MrPuffin
“with my experiances with microsoft products in the past we have all decided to stay away from microsoft made hardware (as it always fails somehow) and there marketing is not very good hd OH if i wanted to watch hd i would hook my computer to my tv for hd not buy a zune which will probly need a $100 seperate attachment to utilize the hd (doesnt say it comes with docking station)”
Last I checked you didn’t speak for everyone nor do I agree with your argument. I’ll take MP over iTunes any day but that sure doesn’t make me a MS lover either. I like Sony TV’s but pretty much feel anything else from them is expensive garbage including iCrap which was far from the first MP3 player, just to show how dumb people can be. Archos and others were making very good system well in advance, WELL.

Quote:
QUOTE:
MrPuffin
“the reson apple made itunes is for ease of use no drag and drop every thing into a music folder on device (should still have drag and drop though) just simply plug in choose artists and sync”
Just more crap spewing, what can I say…

Now as to the Zune, what a typical marketing lie HD? at 480 by 272 pixels, sorry but that definitely is NOT HD. I personally wouldn’t buy a Zune and this HD lie doesn’t change that sediment in the least, what a joke!

Keep Puffin MrPuffin… :~)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 10:05

1428.5.2009 10:30

Pretty cool looking machine. If this takes off, maybe we can have a zunePhone. Then if you want an Apple iPhone and don't like the carrier you could get the zunePhone. I would take one with Sprint or Verizon after my AT&T contract of course. Anyway, looks sharp. Anyone know the size drives that will be released?

1528.5.2009 10:43

llongtheD,

Quote:
If it doesn't force you to use a program to transfer files, like itunes nazi like control of YOUR files
The old one forces you to use a program so they can be nazies if it ever catches on which will be NEVER. I wonder if they will bundle better ear buds. Then it would sound better. No one bundles as low as Apple. I am sure Apple figure their customers are morons.


MrPuffin, actually the concensus is the Zune as superior hardware. It was the software that was a huge problem. Had it used WMP it MIGHT have been a ipod contender. M$ has a way of screwing up every thing it makes. If they were not sooo huge they would be out of business. I don't really think they could take anything away from Apple. At least Apple makes what they can market and they do a great business. My hat is off to them for that.

Well, the switch in OSs will not effect you if you haven't upgraded in a year or 2. For that you need to have the internet turned off when you use the software. What a pain!

1628.5.2009 12:00

Through an HDMI cable you can play 720p content on an HDTV. That's why they think they can market it as "HD." Completely useless? Dunno. Depends on what video formats are supported and how much storage space there is. I've carried many 720 movies/tv shows to a friends home on mini USB drives. He happened to have a Popcorn Hour, so we played them off the USB. I wouldn't mind if all I had to do load the video on this device and play straight from it. Then I can bring stuff to anyones house.

Not saying that I would buy it though. Just seemed that everyone was focused on the fact the device screen itself is obviously not HD.

1728.5.2009 12:22

The battle between Microsoft and Apple in these players is an irrelevant one, at least to most consumers. I don't like iPod's but I recognize that it's given MP3 players a face and name. I love Zune and I have no doubt that this will be great. Still it's not even the players. I just like the alternative itself. The Zune has a cool UI, it's really quick syncing, and best of all it's not with iTunes. I hate iTunes. I mean I know how to use it but damn is it possessive.

1828.5.2009 14:01

Shinraboy, you are the first person who has actually claimed they like the interface. I guess it is all to taste. But speed??? Quick syncing??? I think iTunes is terribly slow but iTunes moves at warp speed compared with the Zune when I was using it. To sync it was an overnight deal. Mind you I didn't try playing with the software for long. I let my son deal with that interface. ITunes I was able to stomach for months but the Zune software was minutes. It was like having a blow torch blowing full blast in your face.

Still, if I had to buy a disked player it might very well be a Zune. When I pay that kind of money I expect the player to last a few years.

llongtheD, I don't know how I missed your post. I suspect the HD Zune will not have much more lift off than a lead ballon and far less than Vista. Like the first Zune, it is mostly a copy of an Apple product well after Apple has the lead. They don't add anything exciting. I guess they are relying on name recognition to take the lead from Apple.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 14:16

1928.5.2009 14:13

@ MEZ

Hmm. I don't know I had synced up 56gb on my 80gb zune in a half hour....and I meant the UI of the player itself. The software desperately needs work lol

2028.5.2009 14:56

Quote:
Like the first Zune, it is mostly a copy of an Apple product well after Apple has the lead. They don't add anything exciting
What about HDMI out? That's really exciting if nothing more. Does the ipod touch have oled? (not snippy, i really dont know.)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 14:56

2128.5.2009 15:24

A what ?????HD. Face it, like it or not Apple set the standard for both mp3 players and smart phones. Everything else is just pale imitation.

2228.5.2009 15:32

Is going to be touch screen?......"I hate touch screens products"!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2009 @ 15:42

2328.5.2009 15:54

I think its stupid that everyone is hating on iphone and ipod because of itunes, there are soooooooo many other programs that let you put on and take off music, videos and other files. I know a lot of people who love their apple products and don't use iTunes at all

2428.5.2009 16:06

Why does everyone hate iTunes? I don't understand :S

2528.5.2009 16:24

I have a first Gen Zune, and the only problem i ever had with it was the small glitch at the end of the year, but it fixed itself, so I'm sticking with Zune. Probably gonna get this one when it comes out though.

2628.5.2009 16:45

Quote:
A what ?????HD. Face it, like it or not Apple set the standard for both mp3 players and smart phones. Everything else is just pale imitation.
There's no arguing that at all. They've given MP3 a face and they've set the standard for touchscreen products.

Still it's not about competition it's about variety. Imagine if everyone and their mother had an "i" something. Boring as hell. iPod is iPod and nobody can take that away. But there's room for other stuff too.

a good amount of people don't like iPhone. Not because it's an Apple product but because of it's lack of copy and paste, mms, I mean REALLY?! C'mon one of the biggest phones in history doesn't do something so basic? It's a bad joke. Im sure they've fixed by now but that was just idiotic.

When it boils down to iTunes it varies I guess....

2728.5.2009 17:18
atomicxl
Inactive

They'll probably price this at some crazy amount. My laptop already have HDMI out so I don't really need a Zune to watch HD media.

The best thing about this imo is that the old 16gb Flash Zune will probably be cheap now. I had an old HDD based Zune and loved it to death. It broke (dropped while HDD was spinning)and I HATE the replacement player that I purchased.

I'll definitely be picking up the old flash ones as soon as they drop the price.

2828.5.2009 19:44

I'll probably pick one of these up when they come out. I've been very happy with the my zunes.

2929.5.2009 2:05

Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
Quote:

Last I checked you didn’t speak for everyone nor do I agree with your argument

Keep Puffin MrPuffin… :~)
i wasnt trying to say that i speak for every one and you dont have to agree with what i was saying

(its all about your own views i may dislike microsoft but if you tell me apple sucks thats your opinion and i respect that)

also what did you mean by keep Puffin MrPuffin

someone also told me dont buy a product off of marketing alone didnt say anything about buying cause of that just said they need better marketing (could have worded differantly

My Sig Was 6 Lines Dear God It Must Be The End Of The World
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3029.5.2009 3:03

I have Owned an Original Zune 30g since a month after release <that is almost 3 years ago now>. I do not use the software for anything more then a sync interface. I have folders set to auto sync to keep my library up to date and i have pod casts it auto downloads and syncs for me. All i have to do is plug it in to charge at night and it does it wireless. Updates have been free and aside from capacity there is nothing a new zune can do that mine can't. Audio Quality is more then respectable with a pair of shure ear buds and if you know how to set up the sync software handles a fair number of formats and bit rates. As far as why would somebody watch video on such a small screen? i tend to watch old episodes of TV series when on the bus or otherwise caught in situations when i don't want some moron trying to strike up a conversation because HE is bored. Bundle that with a Zune pass and the ability to search for new music on any unsecured hub? I really dont see what all the complaining is about. Zune.. Good Product, and it gets better every year.

3129.5.2009 8:28

Shinraboy, I am more than impressed! They must have made VAST improvements. That is the problem with not staying current. We did avoid the 'upgrade of death' that killed ALL Zunes that had the update and did an unfortunated sequence of events ending with trying to play a high bit rate tune.

Morreale, other than being designed to be used by idiots and slow as molasses in January the real complaint is most of the changes made in the last 3-4 years to iTunes have been improving security and attack routines. Why would anyone put a policeman in a box on their computer? I love the shoot first ask questions attitude they have. If you complain they assume you are lying.

MrPuffin, go for it! You are one of the only Apple supporters that is technical enough to make a good argument. Don't let mean old Mr Movies push you around!

Scaldari, a 10 dollar mp3 player has excellent audio (with high end ear buds) so I do not think audio quality is much of a defense. For that matter, I have seen several defenses of the Zune Hardware but have not seen any attacks on the hardware. They are still putting in first rate HDs and vivid screens into all the Zunes.

The general complaint is the Zune team is a bunch of clueless morons coming up with dopy gimmicks to insult our intellegence as if they were as clever as the Apple team.

3229.5.2009 10:19

"Scaldari, a 10 dollar mp3 player has excellent audio (with high end ear buds) so I do not think audio quality is much of a defense. For that matter, I have seen several defenses of the Zune Hardware but have not seen any attacks on the hardware. They are still putting in first rate HDs and vivid screens into all the Zunes."

Beg to differ, sitting on a $600 pocket PC based one that is almost painful to listen to. But for the sake of Mobile Pandora ;) lol. Also, at least to my ears, the Zune has noticeably superior audio then the iPod.

3329.5.2009 12:03

Quote:
Long awaited
???????????

Who want this?

It's a sad new attempt to get a share of the pie from Apple.

3429.5.2009 12:33

hrmm
well i know ive used the video out function on my zune to play movies at friends houses, and the only complaint has been video quality on larger screens... so i guess... anybody who wants a pocket device capable of transmitting a HD picture to a display?

Quote:
Quote:
Long awaited
???????????

Who want this?

It's a sad new attempt to get a share of the pie from Apple.

3529.5.2009 14:21

I am way to lazy to go out and hunt for a review I read a few years ago and the newer reviews do not include audio quality specs.

Analog->digital and Digital->analog conversions were perfected in the 80s. I really doubt that the Zune has inventer a new way to do conversions.

From memory, which isn't all that great anymore, excluding power output, the different modles were within a 100th of a percent of one another. Maybe the Zune has more power so it sounds better.
I will have to listen to a Zune this weekend just to see for my self.

3629.5.2009 17:15

Quote:
Quote:
Long awaited
???????????

Who want this?

It's a sad new attempt to get a share of the pie from Apple.
Okay. Cause Apple should be the only one to be able to distribute any kind of MP3 players, so they can jack up prices, and come out with a new feature so they can create a newer ipod every 3 months... to me thats a waste, and people still buy that crap.

At least from the first 3 gen Zunes if there was an upgrade you could always get the new software, not counting the touch sensor, you could still have all the same features the 3rd Gen did on your first Gen.

3729.5.2009 18:20

Originally posted by SSSJDanny:
Quote:
Quote:
Long awaited
???????????

Who want this?

It's a sad new attempt to get a share of the pie from Apple.
Okay. Cause Apple should be the only one to be able to distribute any kind of MP3 players, so they can jack up prices, and come out with a new feature so they can create a newer ipod every 3 months... to me thats a waste, and people still buy that crap.

At least from the first 3 gen Zunes if there was an upgrade you could always get the new software, not counting the touch sensor, you could still have all the same features the 3rd Gen did on your first Gen.
yes i agree with you to a point but most of apples improvements were on hardware not software that is why they are worth getting

the zune 1st gen has all the same components as the 2nd and 3rd gen except for hard drive and touch pad

not to mention that the newer gen zunes are slower than the first gen as they put a cap on the processing to save battery

so i wonder why do we buy new ipods
(hell if pc's were the same as zunes we would start with 333mhz and be getting 100mhz pc in the future just cause it looks different and has a new HD with same exact features)

besides some people don't want to have new features on my old zune i would rather run 1.0 but because of forced updating i have 3.0 which is slower and lags compared to 1.0
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 May 2009 @ 18:21

My Sig Was 6 Lines Dear God It Must Be The End Of The World
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381.6.2009 23:26

I wish the makers of these products would start making lossless formats, like FLAC, a priority.

392.6.2009 8:10

nprfan, there is some activity in that direction. There are some persons that do prefer to listen to lossless, even on a space limited device.

I never had anyone give me a good reason why you would want to listen to lossless on a player with any size limitation. Most persons that only listen to lossless are wholly ignorant of the technologies involved. There are good reasons to keep a lossless library. Playing that music is smarter and easier than converting to lossy to play.

I am only picking on those that refuse to listen to lossy because it doesn't sound good enough for them. They figure the bigger file must be better. Then analog junkies have you by the balls. They rightly contend most of the data on analog media is lost when it is converted to digital. Unlike digital, analog media ages especially when it is used. Unlike digital, some of these defects are in prime human hearing range.

Everyone uses lossly compression in digital photography. Maybe the lossless junkies don't know that and if they did, maybe they would go back to film.

There is no hearable difference between a well made mp3 and lossless. That is a scientific fact supported by the digital audiophiles of the world. There are tools that will allow you to compare the analog output of lossless with lossy. These ought to be the same with the human hearing range. mp3s cut out ultrasonics to greatly reduce size. The high bit rate mp3s do not remove any data in the hearable range. As humans age, we lose the ability to hear high pitched tones. Most 30 year olds with a trained ear can't discern a well made 192 CBR mp3 over lossless. 320 is massive over kill. 12,500 (lossless which is still lossy) is 4 times massive over kill.

The reason some listen to lossless is because they want to. I just talked with a good friend last weekend that only listens to wave files on his player. He claims flac files are too weak for him to listen to. He will only listen to waves. I figure he isn't hurting anyone.

If you like, I can find out what he uses. Then you can listen to waves!

402.6.2009 13:13

Just because you think a thing doesn't make it so.

There is a whole community that tests almost every aspect on a hifi encoder such as LAME. Saying they don't know what they are doing would piss off that entire community. It is a kin to saying the US foot is a milimeter short. Who are you to claim the guys at NIST don't know what they are talking about.

Data compression transparency article - 192 CBR using a high fidelity endoder will produce a transparent to lossless audio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_(data_compression)

How they test (using ABX)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABX_test

Sorry to get off subject!

414.6.2009 1:02

Have to agree with some comments here. I like the Zune! I prefer it over Apple, but the speed of sync leaves a lot to be desired. I've read quite a bit on the Zune HD and I don't think I'll buy it. I'm simply not impressed by flash memory or touch screen or the accelerator. I do understand, however, the only way to make it thinner is to go with the flash drive, but read it might not be larger than 32GB and that simply will not do. I like the 80GB & 120GB drives. Do that with the flash and I'll buy it, providing it's of comparable price. Bought an 80GB and 120GB on brand new - still in an unopened packaging- for $100.00 and $120.00 respectively. Make software or speed up the processor for them that will make it sync faster without sacrificing battery life (improve that tooo) and I have no need to buy any other PMP!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Jun 2009 @ 1:09

4229.6.2009 21:19

the zune hd have control remote like de zune 120gb

4330.6.2009 7:16

YOBUZZB, anytime you can buy a descent player for a buck a gig is a great deal.

Apple disks last about 1.5 years. The Zune disks last like the old ipods. I like flash drives becuase they have a longer life but more importantly, I would prefer to be able to listen to 36 hrs of my 320 hrs of music vs 4 hrs of 12,800 hrs. Isn't scrolling through 120 of music looking for what you want very annoying?

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