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Zune wireless amounts to less than a hill of beans (Updated)

Written by Dave Horvath @ 03 Oct 2006 7:33 User comments (61)

Zune wireless amounts to less than a hill of beans (Updated) A recent article snatched from Microsoft employee David Caulton has given some insight to the new Wi-Fi enabled Zune player. Poised to be the one true competition for the iPod juggernaught, the Zune appears not to be living up to the feature hype.
In a list of things that the wireless connection built into the Zune can and cannot do, David Caulton opens our eyes to how Microsoft views it's consumer's needs.

What the Microsoft Zune's Wi-Fi CAN do:

  • Connect to other nearby Zunes
  • Transfer songs to other Zune users on a 3x3 policy. Plainly stated, the media will last for 3 days or 3 listens before it expires. As an added benefit to you, the media will remain catalogued if you choose to buy it later.
  • Send and receive image files for unlimited viewing. It seems that license holders for copyrighted images aren't as important as license holders for copyrighted music.

What the Microsoft Zune's Wi-Fi CANNOT do:

  • Connect to the Internet. Let that one sink in a little bit.
  • Download songs directly to the Zune via the Zune Store
  • Sync to your PC via Wi-Fi

So it seems that Microsoft has officially crippled any worthwhile feature within the Zune's wireless connections. It can be assumed that this was to keep it's DRM loving counterparts happy that a broken wireless antenna is a lot safer than giving consumers features they can actually use.

Update: It seems that the reporters have been somewhat trigger happy in shooting down Zune. According to SlashGear the 3 plays / 3 days limitation applies only to DRM crippled songs sent by a friend from his Zune. MP3 songs sent by friends will play forever. That is certainly good news. Thanks to anubis66 for the update!


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61 user comments

13.10.2006 6:36

i guess im sticking with my ipod.

23.10.2006 6:49

If this is how the Zune is goin to be, then no one will purchase it. Ipods although have there downfall do not have so many limitations.

33.10.2006 7:16

MS likes putting unesseresray limits on stuff...

43.10.2006 7:41

I have to admit that I wasn't really in the market for one of these anyway, but now I'm definately not...

53.10.2006 8:40

hmmm...another wonderful microsoft product.

63.10.2006 8:44

I can see for a potential hacked firware that allows you to access the internet, you know there is always someone out there thats gonna take M$ Pos and turn it into gold

73.10.2006 9:06

XD Why'd they even bother with wireless if they were just going to cripple it from the start. Not being able to sync to a PC via wireless is ridiculous.

83.10.2006 9:09

Venom5880 one an say the same abuot BWC on the 360,its like WTF are they thinking....

93.10.2006 9:17

Well you got to hate Microsquish were they dropped on their heads at birth? Who in their right mind would buy this crap with all of the limitations imposed. I really thought this might be worth trying out and I could use something right now too, but no way if what is stated above is true.

103.10.2006 9:20

they might do like SOny and start saying one thing then do another just for the free animadverting of it ><

113.10.2006 9:23

Originally posted by lxfactor:
i guess im sticking with my ipod.
- what he said..
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Oct 2006 @ 9:24

123.10.2006 9:31

Wow, M$ must have forgotten to get that brain transplant when they were making final specs on the Zune. I thought for sure this would be an awesome thing for M$ and would actually be worth buying. They are too worried about what the RIAA has to think compared to what matters most, the consumers!

Transfer songs to other Zune users on a 3x3 policy. Plainly stated, the media will last for 3 days or 3 listens before it expires. As an added benefit to you, the media will remain catalogued if you choose to buy it later.
Well that is totally different and majorly disappointing from what I read earlier. I thought you could transfer songs between Zunes and it would be the full song with unlimited listens etc.
Send and receive image files for unlimited viewing. It seems that license holders for copyrighted images aren't as important as license holders for copyrighted music.
I'll bet its only because the true artists (ones who can paint and take awesome pictures) do not have a company like the RIAA that robs them of money while suing everyone.
CannotSync to your PC via Wi-Fi
Wow, that one just put the last nail in the coffin. I thought for sure the Zune could connect and wirelessly transfer music to itself. If it did that, as well as an unlimited listen policy for music transfers I would have actually contemplated getting one. I guess I won't now. Peace, Pop Smith

133.10.2006 9:31

Well so long as it wors properly when synced to a pc and doesn't break every other day that still makes it superior to Apples iPod, but I think I'll stick with iRiver anyway :p

143.10.2006 10:04

I'm stickin' to P2P.

153.10.2006 10:05

the new ipod 80 gb has brighter screen, more space, and batter last 3 times longer.. (6hrs video mode).. and its only 350... 50 more than the old 30 gb..

163.10.2006 10:49

come on everyone saw that coming its going to need a patch its a microsoft product...... lets get real the price is to high and the fetueres havent really improved if the net was the only thing your adding well my cell has that and mp3's so microsoft neds to think of something that will make people want to carry it like free text messaging or a gps location device for traviling city to city or something that I dont even know I'll need but hey its their "R+D" that will be their downfall, why not add free wifi(VOIP) phones to it now theres an idea that would put one in everyones hands by the end of for thought

173.10.2006 11:37

It's a complete waste of time having the WiFi stuff added. Dump it and drop the price!!! Unless a hacked version of the firmware can remedy the limitations (I think thats not too unlikely !!) just leave the WiFi off. I actually may buy one because of the inbuilt FM tuner. I'm not keen on the iPod. Mainly because of the crap software and the iPod's interface. I can change album and track on my ol' portable cd player without taking it out of my pocket. You try that with an ipod... ;0) Especially when it's raining...

183.10.2006 12:40

i thought the Zen Vision:M was the iPod killer.... Mac sacrificed its market share to sell iPods.

193.10.2006 14:32

The Zen Vision:M is much better than the iPod. I would've gotten one had I known it was coming out when it did.

203.10.2006 18:36

worthlessly overpriced

213.10.2006 21:45

not really that zune looks way better than that ipod. havent seen apple do nething with them except new color which no one wants

223.10.2006 22:00

the wifi issnt so bad you guys.. the songs you send are only restricted to the 3x3 if they contain DRM. any normal mp3 of yours can be sent for unlimited play.

234.10.2006 1:31

Im glad to hear normal MP3s will be able to be transfered and used without limits, this greatly changes my view on Zune. But one has to remember that this feature only becomes useful once enough people have Zunes. And that could take awhile. Meanwhile, using the WiFi connection for synchronization (or for anything else for that matter)would have been great. Less cable clutter is always good.

244.10.2006 1:35

I think Microsoft in limiting the WiFi functionality on this generation of the player want to ensure that they have compelling features for the next Zune. So since I dont have a burning need for an HDD-player at the moment, I think Ill wait a few years and see how this plays out.

254.10.2006 3:06

Well, I'm going to stick with my ipod, but, I must admit that a zune is better than an ipod. The fact that we can share stuff is cool and bigger screen is better for movies. I am disapointed by the fact that there is no internet, which surprises me, but it is better over all.

264.10.2006 6:45

Wi-fi limitation actually not that bad. I don't buy DRM infected tracks anyway and this is even more reason not to. I wonder though. Is the MS store gonna be like the itunes store: If you buy itunes DRM songs you can just burn them to disc and then re-import them as DRM-less mp3's. Same for MS songs? As for syncing wirelessly that would be cool, but what about speed? Would it be so slow that you would'nt want to do it wirelessly anyway?

274.10.2006 7:07

still everyone it's like the market has forsaken us the cunsmer... how about they listion to us and build it for less or build it witth more on it. my I-station has the standard mp3 AVI and photos but games and the fm tuner that alows you to record to mp3 is defently one of the coolest options ... they need to make more things that will improve the users experance or drop the price . if we rush out to buy what ever they tell us we need then we become sheep what ever happen to companies bending to the will of the masses.(consumers) how about a player that will play multi platforms wmf,itunes, mp3s, and more hey one that plays all will rule at the end. because all others will be perpitory to one company .... lets think befor we buy and make them the microsofts and apples build what we about if the make a player that will alow full dvds to be transfered to it with out compression like with the umbs for the psp's, sony accually had a good idea just a bad media it should be a plug in like a flash chip for the movie then it might be more incryptable...

284.10.2006 7:51

if that wifi connected to wifi internet, the zune would control alot more market share than they do. have you heard the new things apple is doing to the ipod? 80gb, 3d accellerator, wifi with internet, all for $299($350 maybe, cant remember right now). the zune is nothing yet, the first generation model may not be worth your time. whats up with not playing video on a huge otherwise battery wasting screen?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Oct 2006 @ 7:52

294.10.2006 12:14

I'll keep this short, sweet, and to the point:

"Hi, we're Microsoft. We like to release really good hardware, with absolutely crippling limitations that are completely unnecessary. Eventually, users find ways to get around the unnecessary limitations we've implemented. As soon as they do, they'll actually start to enjoy our product. So we'll start implementing further measures to prevent them from enjoying the product with other users. Eventually, we'll even pursue legal action against the same individuals who show other users how to fully enjoy our product, despite the fact that these people will actually help us sell more units of our product. Thank you for choosing Microsoft, what can we do for you today?"

-End Rant.-

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Oct 2006 @ 12:15

304.10.2006 12:17

handsom dude...I LOVE YOU!!! LOL

314.10.2006 15:00

Well after reading the updated part it still woudnt make me go out and buy a Zune player. It just seems not right.

325.10.2006 5:05

There's just gonna be a HUGE under counter market for tech gadgets like there's a HUGE under counter market for certain drugs (coke, pot, heroin...)

336.10.2006 12:53

Sure it's limited, but Zune's wireless is the first small step in an exciting direction. I'm sure future generations of iPods will have some form of wireless, and it'll be fascinating to see how Apple chooses to leverage Wi-Fi sharing. Almost certainly, though, the Wi-Fi will have DRM strings attached. But I hope in future models of Zune, and of iPod, that Internet browsing, and wireless linking to iTunes or Marketplace will be enabled. - frabgod

346.10.2006 12:57

frabgod I say creative will make a Zune clone that better than a Ipod and Zune put together in the next year or so.

356.10.2006 14:37

I hope you're right. I think the more companies that go after this and bring their own creative solutions, the better things will be for we consumers.

366.10.2006 14:45

frabgod Ipod has become stagnant in its innovation,when stagnation sets in someone will always come along to replace them. I mean I don't call Ipods video playing Ipod innovative its a Ipod with a screen,media players have been around longer than that...the Zune t a step back and a step forward so its no diffrent than the vid Ipod. I might trust half of creative products now adays (their low end sound cards have been giving me nothing but pain these last 2 years) but they do make sweet media players and uber sound cards..

376.10.2006 15:26


creative will make a Zune clone that better than a Ipod and Zune put together in the next year or so.
Yes, they will. And like almost every other product they make that isn't a sound card; no one will buy it, or even know what it is. M$' Zune will fail for many years because M$ will make such a big deal over the first generation (which will be mostly useless), that no one will want to touch the (possibly?) better 2nd and 3rd generation models.

*Sigh* Such is the way of the consumer market.

"Its not stupid, its advanced!" - The Almighty Tallest, Invader Zim

386.10.2006 15:34

well creative has not had much luck in its branding shceme hey dont need to make Cameras or Video cards media players are fine and all I just wish all there sound cards were still top qaulity the lwoer end oens are the pits,the 80+ ones are still qaulity and when they start to have install issues and other thigns go wrong with them I will lsoe more respect for creative...

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

Check out my crappy creations

397.10.2006 4:32

Zune will have the same fate as Microsoft's entry into the consumer wireless market. Here today, gone tomorrow. MS needs to stick with what they do best. Make buggy software that requires 1 to 15 patches every Tuesday of every week of every month of every year...and...charge $299 for it.

407.10.2006 4:49

MS cant make good hardware...look at thier stuidly designed Buletooth KB and mouse set you cant even get into the fing bios with it 0-o

417.10.2006 7:58

Good bye Zune preorder,"did i said preorder?

427.10.2006 20:10

microsoft again wanting money well they aint geting a cent.

AMD Athlon 3200+ s939 MSI MOBO 500Wpsu 2x120mm fans 1x90mm fan and 1 stocky heat sink with fan quiet as WD1x120GBsata2 WD 1x200GBide 1.5GB of ram X300 graphics card 1 of the cheapst pci express 16x cards on the market under $45

4316.10.2006 12:18

I really do have to laugh at all the M$ bitterness around the web. Let's be honest with ourselves; only a very very select few of us have honestly put the effort into getting another OS. We all complain about how buggy the software is, even though next to no one ever experienced crashes after the initial launch of xp. And you can't say I just 'missed' all the bugs, because I was running an advance copy received from someone in the M$ loyalty program, on a machine that didn't even have a net connection to *get* the patches with for the first two years it was out...

I'm not a huge fan of them, but let's be honest with ourselves here; they're just like every other big company out there. Sony, Microsoft, you name it; if they aren't the goodwill, they're out to make a buck by whatever means possible. Let's not forget how almost every major console has shipped with big issues on day one because of product rushing and insufficient testing.

But look at it this way, with patches, you're at least not stuck having to take back a product to the store, and HOPING they have a replacement for you... And it's free(Unless it's antivirus :D )

M$ screwed up bad on the Zune... Bad. I can't fathom what they're thinking. But it bugs me that some people have so strong of an attitude against a company, for operating just like every other company out there. It's about as smart and mature as a ten year old who lives to 'fight the man'.

Anyways, Zune = Poopoo. M$ = The same as every other company on earth.

"Its not stupid, its advanced!" - The Almighty Tallest, Invader Zim

4416.10.2006 12:21

they tend to take it to the extreme, and offer failing and inadaquate products and services. i myself own a pc because i inherited it, aswell as grew up with them. i have an ibook, so theres a reliable OS.

But they all do sort of the same thing, and that is rearrange what you thought was real, and they remind you of the beauty of very simple things. You forget, because youre so busy going from a to z, that theres 24 letters in between... You turn on... tune in... and you drop out...

PS3 Username: Anubis66

4516.10.2006 13:05

I have tried new OS's and its all the same dosnet play alot of games dsnet support the programs I use,I will be trying lunix yet again next year to see if it can meet most of my needs.

With that said MS dose make nice stuff but they are either needlessly costly or poorly thought out and in case of the 360 at lunch it was both,its still limping from the launch even today....Vita it a double edged sword with a dull blade as a handle,the zune is just another mp3 player.

MS can do better but they simply wont like any good corporation they tow the line of forum,function,quality and in the end most of the time pay their CEOs to much and don't put enough effort into the things they sell.

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

Check out my crappy creations

465.11.2006 6:35

Are you sure? My understanding is that the Zune will ADD the time bomb when it transfers anything. Regardless: I give it maybe 2 weeks before someone hacks the firmware and disables DRM adding completely and permanently. Another 2 weeks and someone will develop a "Zune Emulator" so you can interface with your PC. G'Bless the Hackers.

475.11.2006 9:30

So all we want is a DRM killer

485.11.2006 12:08

NightSurf the time bomb is only on files traded/given to others.

496.11.2006 7:35

Right, I was unclear: I believe the Zune will actually ADD the bomb when transferring to another Zune whether the file already has DRM or not. Example: You rip a CD to your computer, copy it to the Zune. No DRM. When you transfer it to another Zune it will add the bomb at that point. I think.

506.11.2006 8:35

Nightsurf is correct, the DRM gets applied to any songs shared wirelessly - whether they originally have DRM or not. I guess it's a protection against a file being stripped of DRM, or ripped from CD, and being passed around. I think though that it only applies to files sent wirelessly. i.e. if someone emails you a song, and you sync it to your Zune from your PC, DRM does not get applied. Note: we've posted a visual of Zune's menu and options hierarchy at the Zunerama site:

516.11.2006 10:10

Wait a minute - does this aply to simple MP3s as well. Because I thought these were kept safe from any DRM BS.

526.11.2006 18:26

If it is shared from Zune to Zune wirelessly, it gets the bomb. 3 days or 3 plays....POOF! But like I long before this is hacked?

536.11.2006 18:41

all i have to say is:

you don't want to love something that hitler does, do you? :-P

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Nov 2006 @ 19:06

546.11.2006 21:37

@auslander lol I wouldn't put MS and hitler in the same boat but ohh well lol :)

557.11.2006 2:54

NightSurf ( its not DRM presay its more the OS logging what files to remove,of coasre alittle code added on to a MP3 to tell the OS to remove it is about the same,well ya might not be a bad thing that the Zune has to be wired to get on the net...because wireless firmware auto updates to hack the hacks is annoying :3

567.11.2006 6:59

borhan9: you wouldn't, but i would. ^.^ ever notice Bill Gates's personal copy of Mein Kampf? he went through and crossed out each instance of "juden" (jew) and wrote in "Mac User."

577.11.2006 10:04

I just read the update to the article and that is a good thing. Does that mean we can get rid of DRM if possible and then we can play the files forever also.

587.11.2006 10:19

hopefully we'll be able to put Linux on yet another MS product, making it halfway useful.

597.11.2006 15:58

ZIppyDSM said: "it might not be a bad thing that the Zune has to be wired to get on the net...because wireless firmware auto updates to hack the hacks is annoying :3" Oooh, now that WOULD be fascist! Good point, M8.

606.1.2010 14:56

I think apple paid people to hack there firmware so people would buy it with the intention to jailbreak it.

Even if they did not this is a good idea. M$ needs to pay someone to "hack" the zune. No one wants a basic mp3 player/FM radio. Even with other things it ALWAYS better hacked.

I have been attempting to hack it. No luck. Really really difficult to even get the firmware.
I have been successful in installing custom apps through c# though.

If i dont have the hack in a few months someone else will. I will not wait a year. I will have moved on to hacking something easier if it takes that long.

618.1.2010 5:01

Really, who keeps digging through all these old posts?

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