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Old 05-27-2009, 05:00 PM
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Default Microsoft Announces Zune HD*

http://www.zune.net/en-us/press/200...0526-zunehd.htm

"Microsoft Corp. today announced the evolution of Zune, the company’s end-to-end music and entertainment service, to a new platform and new markets. Zune will extend its video service to Xbox LIVE internationally this fall. This marks an important development in the Zune strategy and brings the Zune brand to more than 17 million international Xbox LIVE subscribers. In addition, Microsoft confirmed the next generation of the Zune portable media player, Zune HD. Available in the U.S. this fall, Zune HD is the first portable media player that combines a built-in HD Radio receiver, high-definition (HD) video output capabilities, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen, Wi-Fi and an Internet browser. “The Zune music player is an integral part of the overall Zune experience, and we’re proud to be growing and extending our offering beyond the device,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV, Video and Music Business Group. “Delivering on Microsoft’s connected entertainment vision, this news marks a turning point for Zune as it brings cross-platform experiences and premium video content to living rooms around the world.”"

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's not to worry too much about specs and wait until the device is in hand to test it out.  Microsoft releasing their iPod Touch competitor (finally, after almost three years) doesn't impress me.  Microsoft's labelling of it as "HD" doesn't impress me because there's nothing "HD" about it.  The resolution on the screen isn't HD (Not even close), and for the most part, if radio stations are multicasting their "HD" station, the quality is nearly indistinquishable from standard FM radio.  The only thing HD about the Zune HD is when you hook it up to a dock to play your HD content on an HD TV.

Oh yeah, and buying one locks you into one OS and, in the case of the marketplace, a very limited number of countries.  In the year 2009.  How quaint.

I'll wait until I see one in person because specs are specs and rarely translate into anything meaningful in the real world. I'm just disappointed that Microsoft went the "HD" route with it because the Zune HD has as much relevance to HD as the Radio Flyer has to radio.

Of course, if you're a fan or think you might be, our sister site Zune Thoughts will be providing exhaustive coverage so head over and check them out!

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Old 05-27-2009, 07:19 PM
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The other interesting variable is: What does this mean for the Zune (and Windows Mobile) as distinct platforms? Will there be a developer API for the Zune (and, if not, isn't that a huge mistake)? If so, will that dilute WM as the Microsoft PDA brand? Also, what does this mean for media on WM? Microsoft still doesn't quite have a good answer to the iPhone.

All that said, I hope the HD is a success. Competition is a good thing. However, there aren't enough details released today to be able to determine that. I'm actually kind of surprised Microsoft preannounced the HD this far ahead. I understand that they want people to "hold out" for the Zune over whatever Apple may launch in the next few months, but won't they Osborne their own devices? Will people buy Zunes if they know the next-gen is right around the corner?

--janak
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
but won't they Osborne their own devices? Will people buy Zunes if they know the next-gen is right around the corner?
People are buying Zunes?
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by doogald View Post
People are buying Zunes?
Okay, rephrase. Many of the vocal Zune fans who prefer it over an iPod tend to be the technical-Windows-user-type. If I was in that category, I'd certainly wait.

--janak
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:06 PM
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It's pretty simple actually: the Zune HD can play back HD-resolution content. Bam. It doesn't matter if the screen isn't 1280 x 720 - what kind of short-bus person would think a 3.3 inch 720p screen would make sense is beyond me - what matters is the kind of content it can handle. Thanks to whatever GPU it's using (likely the Nvidia Tegra), it can handle high-resolution content unlike any other device on the market today...including the iPod Touch.

You're right in that specs don't make a device automatically great, but this is definitely a quantum leap beyond the previous generation Zune products - and with the Zune software being approximately 286% better than iTunes, it's a win-win.

We'll see...
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
It's pretty simple actually: the Zune HD can play back HD-resolution content. Bam. It doesn't matter if the screen isn't 1280 x 720 - what kind of short-bus person would think a 3.3 inch 720p screen would make sense is beyond me - what matters is the kind of content it can handle. Thanks to whatever GPU it's using (likely the Nvidia Tegra), it can handle high-resolution content unlike any other device on the market today...including the iPod Touch.
iLounge disagrees. Personally, I don't care about the moniker (or video output) that much. To each their own.

Quote:
You're right in that specs don't make a device automatically great, but this is definitely a quantum leap beyond the previous generation Zune products - and with the Zune software being approximately 286% better than iTunes, it's a win-win.
I've had this debate with you before, and it's probably not worth revisiting, but this is your opinion and not mine.

--janak
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
iLounge disagrees. Personally, I don't care about the moniker (or video output) that much. To each their own.
That article is shockingly easy to refute: they completely miss the fact that the device can play back HD content without needing the dock...it's just not DISPLAYED at HD resolution. They talk about how great it would have been to have an 800 pixel wide display - well guess what, that's still not HD. It would have to have a horizontal resolution of 1280 pixels to qualify as HD. They complain about people having to maintain two libraries - one for SD content, one for HD content - but the Zune HD has no such limitaton. You can load up HD content and it will play. No need for two video collections, and this is important, no need to transcode HD content!

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Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
I've had this debate with you before, and it's probably not worth revisiting, but this is your opinion and not mine.
Well of course it isn't - I didn't sign my post "Janak Parekh" now did I?
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
That article is shockingly easy to refute: they completely miss the fact that the device can play back HD content without needing the dock...it's just not DISPLAYED at HD resolution. They talk about how great it would have been to have an 800 pixel wide display - well guess what, that's still not HD. It would have to have a horizontal resolution of 1280 pixels to qualify as HD. They complain about people having to maintain two libraries - one for SD content, one for HD content - but the Zune HD has no such limitaton. You can load up HD content and it will play. No need for two video collections, and this is important, no need to transcode HD content!
Ah! I misunderstood your point as well. Once MS publishes the formats (or perhaps earlier), it might be worth sending the iLounge editors a note.

That said, I'm not sure it's going to be so easy for MS to market this fact. I don't know how much of the public captures and transcodes video content on their desktops. (The iTunes store, moreover, just makes this invisible by downloading both SD and HD content anyway, so consumers that obtain video content that way don't even notice.)

--janak
 
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
Ah! I misunderstood your point as well. Once MS publishes the formats (or perhaps earlier), it might be worth sending the iLounge editors a note.
They understand it - they quoted this at the bottom of their article:

Zune HD & AV Dock, and an HDTV (all sold separately) are required to view video at HD resolution. Supported 720p HD video files play on the device, downscaled to fit the screen at 480 x 272 not HD resolution.

They just don't think it matters, and I think it does. A very frequent question I get asked is whether netbooks can handle HD video...netbooks without HD screens. People really do care about HD video, even if it's not on an HD display.

EDIT: I should also mention that the last time I contacted an Apple-focused site to talk about a serious inaccuracy they mentioned in an article, it turned into a ridiculous mess. Daniel Eran can not be reasoned with. He believes what he wants to believe, and facts to not enter into the equation.

Quote:
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I don't know how much of the public captures and transcodes video content on their desktops.
Not much, I'll give you that. But that's the public that gets video legally. Think of the untold millions of people who pull down HD movies and TV shows off torrents. Being able to slap that on a portable device to take it with you, without transcoding? That will matter to them.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:34 PM
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Unfortunately, it still looks as if MS is REACTING to Apple and I just wonder how much traction an admittedly delicious sounding device like this can make against the iPod Touch. According to me, MS needs to actually beat Apple to the punch with something innovative, and so far it hasn't.

At least it's better looking that the current Zune!
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LinkBack to this Thread: http://forums.thoughtsmedia.com/f383/microsoft-announces-zune-hd-93889.html
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The Mobile Gadgeteer | ZDNet.com This thread Refback 09-11-2009 06:16 PM
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Is the HD in Zune HD just a marketing gimmick? | The Mobile Gadgeteer | ZDNet.com This thread Refback 05-30-2009 03:58 PM
Is the HD in Zune HD just a marketing gimmick? | The Mobile Gadgeteer | ZDNet.com This thread Refback 05-29-2009 01:33 PM
The Mobile Gadgeteer mobile edition This thread Refback 05-28-2009 09:34 PM
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