Log in

View Full Version : What Are Your Wishes For the Zune in 2007?

Jason Dunn
01-08-2007, 05:00 PM
Since we've just started 2007, I thought it might be interesting to see what the community was hoping for from the Zune team at Microsoft in 2007. Realistic, do-able features that can be added to our current Zunes via a software update. What would you like to see? Here's my 2007 wish-list, and I think all of them are realistic:<br /><ul> <li>Read Embedded Album Art</li> <li>Fully-supported &quot;Zune as Hard Drive&quot; mode</li> <li>WiFi sync back to PC (this would take a lot of work, but it's important to have)<br /> </li> <li>On-device codec support for DivX, Xvid, MPEG4, Flash/FLA (transcoding is a bad solution, I want real support for these file formats, even if it costs the Zune team money)</li> <li>WiFi sharing of videos</li> <li>DVR-MS support for getting Media Center TV shows</li> <li>Resize photos to 240 x 320, not 480 x 640<br /> </li> <li>View portrait photos in portrait orientation</li> <li>Update the Zune Marketplace to show which songs are not able to be shared<br /> </li> <li>Expand the Zune Marketplace - I'm tired of going to look for bands and songs and not finding them</li> <li>Extending the 3 day/3 play DRM to be 30 day/3 play</li></ul>What are some of your 2007 wishes for the Zune? And what do you think of my wishes - am I delusional in hoping for this much?

01-08-2007, 05:27 PM
In going along with the Album Art feature, I'd love to see the images not be compressed so much. Even with using high quality artwork as a source, they just look blurry and ugly on the Zune when they really shouldn't.

I'd be happy to sacrifice a little bit of storage space for better looking album art, especially when it's so prominent in the now playing screen.

I would also like support in the Zune software for tagging videos. Both the type of video (ie movie, music video, tv show, etc) but also stuff like the description.

Also, I don't know why it bugs me so much, but I HATE it when software comes and doesn't use the native Windows borders. This is especially annoying in Vista where you have the nice glass borders (and WMP11 with the beautiful use of transparancy). I'd love for the Zune software on Vista to be updated to look more like WMP11.

01-08-2007, 05:42 PM
1) Gapless audio playback for WMA, AAC/M4A & MP3. (So, we're on parity with iPod & iTunes.) The only gapless we have now is with WMA on the Zune Software itself.

2) A way to optionally browse by "Album Artist" only on the Zune, so we optionally don't get all the extra contributing artists. This would be the near equivalent to iPod's "group Compilation" toggle feature. If you'll note, Zune on the desktop lists Album Artists only while doing an Artist browse, but the Zune portable uses both.

3) Native WMA Lossless playback on the Zune portable; no transcoding, please. (Of course, with an option to still force a transcode... not everyone wants to waste Zune space on Lossless.)

4) Ability to play & manipulate content on the Zune directly from the Zune Software. For example, with iTunes/iPod... you can play music, edit tags, change artwork, etc. just like the music is located on the computer. You can't do this on the Zune... making any changes requires you to delete it from the Zune and re-add it. You should (at the very least) be able to play the songs directly from your portable.

5) Native H.264 video support on the Zune itself.

6) More source video format support for the Zune Software. At the very least, support DivX & XviD so it can be easily transcoded.

7) Optional 640 x 480 resolution video file support for Zune device, so TV or Xbox 360 output can be used effectively. 320 x 240 isn't enough.

8) Zune Marketplace content urgently needs Album Art bigger than 150 x 150.

9) Native podcast ("netcast" if that's your thing) support.

10) Audible.com support.

11) Use "WMA Pro" as an audio transcoding format on sync if needed. As the Zune supports the WMA Pro audio codec, why not use the better codec for forced audio transcoding? Right now you can only force "quality" transcoding to old standard WMA... with a "Select maximum quality level" of 64, 128, 160 & 192 kbps. Too bad. Take advantage of Zune's great WMA Pro ability.

David Tucker
01-08-2007, 06:25 PM
Read Embedded Album Art - Don't care at all
Fully-supported "Zune as Hard Drive" mode - Would be nice but not overly important to me
WiFi sync back to PC (this would take a lot of work, but it's important to have) - I really want to see this
On-device codec support for DivX, Xvid, MPEG4, Flash/FLA (transcoding is a bad solution, I want real support for these file formats, even if it costs the Zune team money) - I would like this too but at least there is transcoding so there is a solution in the meantime.
WiFi sharing of videos - Almost a given I think
DVR-MS support for getting Media Center TV shows - Should already be there...hopefully its introduced
Resize photos to 240 x 320, not 480 x 640 - Don't care
View portrait photos in portrait orientation - PLEASE
Update the Zune Marketplace to show which songs are not able to be shared - I guess no harm with it. Don't care much. I probably wouldn't even remember later
Expand the Zune Marketplace - I'm tired of going to look for bands and songs and not finding them - I'm sure they're working on this one ;)
Extending the 3 day/3 play DRM to be 30 day/3 plays - I doubt it'll happen but hopefully they adjust it. 3 plays seems like a nice limit by itself...I'd like one thing and I know its not happenning. I'd love to be able to have the Zune marketplace accessible on my XBox.

01-08-2007, 07:13 PM
I want to be able to erase music/vids from the Zune.

A better "shuffle" mode.

A faster UI. Even after the latest update it seems when skipping a song the Zune can take a second or two to catch up with the button presses.

Thats about it. Over all, I'm very happy with the Zune. A bit of spit and polish and it will be a killer MP3 player!

01-08-2007, 07:18 PM
Complete integration with the Xbox 360
Marketplace - We should be able to buy/download content at the "account level" then have the Zune client software sync the marketplace content when opened.
Wireless streaming of music from the zune to the Xbox360
Access the Zune Marketplace from the Zune itself via WiFi
Get rid of the Zune software all together. WMP 12 should have full Zune support and Marketplace support. There is no need for the two apps.
The recently announced Windows Home Server OS and appliances need to support Zune Marketplace (and ZunePass). This way content from the Zune marketplace can be shared throughout the home and while traveling.
Album art does suck and needs to get better
Wireless sync to the PC - and I dont see this is a huge effort - technically anyway.

01-08-2007, 08:24 PM
custom eq please

01-08-2007, 08:36 PM
How about a fricken' UK release? :p

H.264 support would be excellent, as would WiFi sync. Gapless playback across all formats is a must too.

Damion Chaplin
01-08-2007, 08:58 PM
Been waiting for this post...

1) Gapless playback, at least on the Zune.
2) Native DivX support. Xvid would be a nice bonus, but DivX is as must.
3) Support for embedded album art.
4) True out-of-the-box Drag-and-Drop support. I want to load up the Zune without using the Zune software.
5) A clock displayed on every screen that syncs the time with my desktop.
6) Hey, how about listing what freaking track number we're on?!! Seriously, $20 CD players have this function. While we're at it, show me of how many songs in the list we're talking about (i.e. track 5/12).
7) I would LOVE the ability to browse via Folder, rather than Artist or Album. I have all of my music arranged in nice little folders and I don't need to browse them in any other fashion.
8) I HATE the fact that the Zune picks up each and every 'contributing artist'. I have an entire entry for Coldplay, but the only 2 songs of theirs I have are on the Garden State soundtrack. I don't want them listed by themselves. If I had actual Coldplay albums, I'd be even more annoyed that it mixed them together...
9) It's a Microsoft product... Where's Solitaire and Minesweeper? ;)
10) More file navigation options from within the Zune itself. In particular, I want the ability to delete files off my Zune when I'm done with them (like movies).

All of these are possible with a little (OK, maybe a lot) of firmware tweaking. However, if every single one of them were added, the Zune would be close to the perfect player (for me)...

Aaron Roma
01-08-2007, 10:47 PM
A better "shuffle" mode.
Out of curiousity, what complaints do you have with the shuffle mode?

While there are lots of improvements I'd like to see, the ones that most immediately affect me are:

1) WiFi Sync
2) DVR-MS Support
3) Integrated Netcast/Podcast support
4) View portrait photos in portrait mode
5) Nano size player

01-08-2007, 11:04 PM
In Zune windows software the ability to uncheck songs so that they don't get sync'ed to the Zune. At the moment I have to delete all songs that I don't want syn'ed. (unless I'm missing something?)

01-08-2007, 11:50 PM
Here is my list:
WiFi sync back to PC
WiFi sharing of videos
Ability to delete files directly from Zune
A clock
Video playlists
Edit song and video information
PRessing the action button when watching a video would show the timescale so you can tell where you are in the video
More songs on the Marketplace; add videoRob

01-09-2007, 03:50 AM
Great list of improvements. Here's something I would like to have as an option: as a new song begins, the display backlight comes on for about 5 seconds so I can glance at the song name, album art, etc.

Damion Chaplin
01-09-2007, 03:00 PM
Oh, I forgot two really important ones:

11) Global Resume Function. I want to be able to turn on my Zune and tell it to Resume. It would pick up exactly where I left off - whether listening to music, watching a video or viewing a slideshow. Whatever it was I was doing, I want it to resume. It should be a selection on the main menu.
12) Bookmarks! I need to be able to set a bookmark somewhere in a 3-hour film or podcast. I listened to a 3-hour podcast last week, and I kept having to fast-forward through the first 2 hours to pick up where I was. Very annoying.

01-09-2007, 03:20 PM
Out of curiousity, what complaints do you have with the shuffle mode?

It's not very random. I have several hundred songs on my Zune and in a 4 hour listen time I may hear several songs twice.

flatline response
01-09-2007, 06:32 PM
My rants (for now):

1. Since I use playlists to control what I listen to...program in the ability to SAVE the frickin' quick list as a REAL playlist (at the very least, on the DAP, if not transferrable back to the Zune software), so I can go on and do another playlist on-the-fly without having to completely erase the one I already created. Took a few generations of iPods to happen before Apple got it right; hopefully the same won't happen with the Zune. (firmware update...please?)

While I'm ranting about playlists...please...what was the design team's collective mindset in NOT allowing the ability to EDIT the quick list? There's currently NO WAY to delete a selection from the quick list, short of going back to the Zune software and delete the actual song file from the player itself, then adding back on (if so desired). Or clearing the ENTIRE list and starting all over again. How stupid a workaround are those?

2. The Zune software NEEDS A NAME. iTunes is an easy reference. 'Zune software' is...well, cumbersome (not my original choice for a description...that original would've been deleted and I probably would've been banned for life ;) )

3. Back to playlists (again). The Zune needs to implement a form of smart playlists, similar to the iPod/iTunes example, where ID3 metadata can be used automatically to establish the contents of a playlist. It would be GREAT if I could have at the ready a playlist that autoloads, say, all music on the Zune for listening that's of a specific genre, or all the music loaded on the DAP in the past month. This is another thing that I miss from the 5.5G iPod when I use my Zune.

4. Gapless playback. Again, it took Apple FOREVER to get this right, but ultimately they did and MSFT should follow their example (as before, with the hope that it won't take several iterations of Zunes to get there). While I'm at it, a crossfade playback option would be great as well.

5. Where's that BIGGER hard drive option, Microsoft/Toshiba? 30GB does not make me forget my 80GB iPod anytime soon. While I'm at it...work on a BETTER battery charge life as well.

6. As another poster commented: do a better job with the shuffle play mode. The 'random' aspect is, well, not very 'random' (again, a lot like earlier iPods).

7. I can do without the psuedo-PDA functions that the iPod pretends is useful. I can forego the stupid game play with that stupid excuse of a UI (click wheel) that Apple thinks the video iPod is capable of. But I really, REALLY miss the clock and various time-related features, especially the sleep mode function.

8. There's a lot of noticeable low-level noise with the Zune; iPods are not immune from this, but the noise table is lower on my 5.5G than on my Zune.

9. I can think of a lot of gripes about the Zune software (especially when it comes to parsing/searching by various metadata fields), but it does work even if it's nowhere close to being as friendly as iTunes (to me). But I admit the ability to take advantage of my Logitech MX1000's back/forward buttons when navigating the various data panes is nice indeed. If only the Zune software (again, a NAME please) didn't occasionally hang when using the back button on the mouse.

10. I'd really LOVE IT if the scrolling speed could be customized. Now that my Zune's HD is getting pretty full, the second, fast scroll speed is actually TOO FAST to comprehend all the content that flashes by on the LCD. At first I thought the Zune's up/down click scroll nav was as good as the iPod's click wheel, but the click wheel's advantage in control of speed is decidedly superior, even if it means my thumb gets a workout. Being able to customize the scrolling speed would help mitigate that.

11. Next gen...think about using a LCD display strategy that doesn't require a backlight in order to be usable. One nice aspect of iPods' display mode (up to now) is that the backlight can be completely turned off whenever ambient lighting permits. Great for extending the battery charge whenever the LCD needs to be accessed.

12. The ability to DELETE content directly with the Zune; a feature I miss from my Nomad Zen days that Apple has NEVER bothered with on the iPod. Since the Zune software (NAME!!!) almost always ends up re-reading and re-creating a database of all the songs on the Zune whenever it's reconnected to the computer anyways...why not let the Zune have the power to nuke a poorly chosen or tired song off the player's HD?

That's it for now...though if I concentrate on it I can probably come up with a bunch more if I were willing to burn a few more brain cells.

01-10-2007, 06:46 AM
flatline response, re: #3... the Zune Software does have "Auto Playlists" -- right button on Playlists and away you go. Same as WMP 11, just slightly hidden for simplicity sakes. re: #8, I haven't noticed this, even with high-end 'phones. I just tested again. Nothing noticable.

flatline response
01-10-2007, 08:21 AM
flatline response, re: #3... the Zune Software does have "Auto Playlists" -- right button on Playlists and away you go. Same as WMP 11, just slightly hidden for simplicity sakes. re: #8, I haven't noticed this, even with high-end 'phones. I just tested again. Nothing noticable.

Thanks for the 411 on #3; I should've realized that I've got to check out what the right mouse button can offer at ANY time. It's Windows, after all.

As for #8: I use UE Super.fi 5 Pros about 80% of the time with my Zune; the hiss is really only noticeable whenever media isn't playing. But it's certainly hard for me not to miss. When I use my Ety ER-4s canals (along with a mSeed Faith headphone amp--my current fav--or any of my CMOYs), the hiss is even more apparent. It might be my particular Zune, but again, my iPods all exhibit some level of noise as well.

flatline response
01-10-2007, 09:06 AM
Never mind me forgiving my Item #3. My gripe still stands.

I've tried the auto playlist feature as designed, and it sucks. The autoplaylist can only be created within context of the Zune software, which means it autoloads whatever songs from the library that fit the filtering criteria. That means it tries to LOAD all those files from the library to the Zune each time I try to save the autoplaylist to the DAP. I only want the autoplaylist to work with the files that are already on the Zune, not as a filter for synching.

At least with the 5.5G when I create the smart playlist I can save it directly to the iPod's HD so it only will work with whatever's on the DAP, and not try to synch additional files from the library. Plus, I can actually EDIT the iPod's stored version of the autoplaylist criteria...something the Zune software doesn't allow for.

Another gripe: I didn't realize how long it takes for the Zune software (NAME PLEASE!) to figure out all the media content that's already on the player. MSFT, you need to make this process happen faster.