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Old 11-08-2007, 11:13 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Two Bits of Bad Information About the New Zunes

After the Zune was officially announced last month, I peppered my Zune contacts with questions that came up from Zune Thoughts readers in our forums, and things I was curious about. Most of it has been covered in my previous posts, but there are two points that I think are worth mentioning.

The first is gapless audio playback. This is an important feature to anyone that listens to electronica music that's mixed to blend together as a single song, or anyone that listens to live albums where the whole album is meant to be a seamless live concert experience. Both are types of albums/music that are generally listened by the more hard-core music lovers among the population. You know, the people that the Zune is aimed at? Sadly, the new Zune still will not support gapless audio playback. It seems like a fairly small feature, and certainly one that should be standard on any audio player aimed at music lovers. Lossless WMA audio support has been added, so that's great news for you audiophiles using WMA lossless, but gapless audio playback is something I think everyone would have appreciated.

The worse news, however, is the reality about the new Media Center TV show synchronization: if you look at the bottom of the Zune description page, you'll see this:

“Requires a PC running Windows Vista® Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate and an integrated or external TV tuner.”

Windows Vista only? No Windows Media Center 2005 supported? I asked my contact on the Zune team about this, and he confirmed that it's Vista-only. The Zune desktop software works on Windows XP, so why wouldn't the Media Center transcoding of DVR-MS files work just as well? Surely the software is the same, with the same transcoding engine. Vista as an operating system still has it's share of glitches, and I can't blame anyone for sticking with XP at this point - so why give Zune owners a lesser experience? I've had so many problems with my Vista-based media center machine I've pondered rolling back to Windows Media Center 2005 because it was a better overall experience.
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