Microsoft Zune HD Video
Microsoft Zune HD Video Transcript
^M00:00:03 Hey, I'm Donald Bell senior editor for Digital Audio and MP3, and today we're taking a first look at the Microsoft Zune HD. This is a touch screen portable media player that comes in 16GB for $219 and 32GB for $289. Stores are stocking both capacities in either black or silver. But you can also find engraving options and other colors from Microsoft Zune Originals Online Store. Now anyone watching this video is bound to be wondering how this thing stacks up to Apple's iPod Touch. So let's just cut to the chase. Why would somebody buy a Zune HD over an iPod Touch? I think the most noticeable advantage of the Zune HD is it's screen quality. Microsoft really stepped things up here by putting a gorgeous 3.3 inch wide-screen formatted OLED screen that knocks the snot out of the Touch. Granted the screen real estate is technically a little smaller but the colors and contrast are unreal. If I was stuck on a plane and I wanted to watch a movie, I would choose the Zune HD in a heartbeat. Plus Microsoft is now offering low-cost movie rentals for the Zune HD. The second advantage to the Zune has over the Touch is a radio tuner that supports both HD broadcasts and standard FM radio. If you like the idea of listening to your favorite radio broadcast, no iPod is going to offer as many stations in as high a quality as the Zune HD. Plus if you hear a song you like, you have the option to tag the song and download it later which is pretty cool. The last feature the Zune HD can really brag about is subscription music integration. If you buy a Zune and really love hearing new music, you can sign up for a Zune Pass subscription that allows you to download and synch all the music you want for $15 a month. Included in the plan are 10 free MP3 purchases a month which are yours to keep even if you cancel the subscription plus you get unlimited song and album streams from any computer when you log on to zune.net. The long story short the Zune subscription service is one of the better values out there and no other device does a better job of integrating, streaming and downloading subscription tracks than the Zune HD. A few other things worth mentioning, the Zune now has a web browser and it's pretty awesome definitely comparable to the Touch. Photos look great on the OLED screen. There's also a new category for Apps where you can find any games or utilities downloaded from Microsoft's Zune Marketplace. At launch they've got a handful of games and a promise of more to come including Apps for Twitter and Facebook. And with that we come to the Zune HD's real Achilles heal when it comes to competing with the iPod Touch. People are just nuts these days about Apps and games. There may be a day when the Zune gets a Pandora App or a Wine Buying Guide or Maps but until then I think people are going to have a hard time choosing a premium media playback device over a do-everything gizmo like the Touch. It also doesn't help that the Zune can only be used with it's own Zune software with is a PC-only program. That said if you're a big music fan looking for one of the richest music playback and discovery experiences you can get on a portable device, the Zune HD is it. And there's one more thing. Everything you see on the Zune can be output to your HDTV. For another 90 bucks you can get AV Dock with HDMI Out in both analog and digital audio outputs. Plug in your Zune and all of your music and videos can be thrown on to the big screen controlled by an included remote. It's pretty cool and yet another thing you just can't do with any iPod. So there you go. That's the Zune HD in the nutshell. It's a beautiful product that still isn't destined for mass appeal but will definitely find an audience with people who want the very best from their music and videos. For cnet.com, I'm Donald Bell. ^M00:03:35
The Zune 120, with a unique focus on music discovery, is a fierce competitor to the iPod Classic. The Zune's substantial storage capacity combined with its Zune Pass music subscription makes it an ideal solution for restless music fans with large appetites.
Microsoft unveils beautiful touch-screen OLED Zune, that ridiculous Twitter reality show might not happen after all, and Jitterbug phones may not connect your 911 calls. Yikes!
The smaller, flash-based Zune is a fierce competitor to the iPod Nano, with a unique focus on music discovery.
Learn how to transfer music, podcasts, and playlists from the iPod's iTunes software over to the Zune software for the Microsoft Zune HD.
After months of expectation, Microsoft is finally making its official entry into the portable digital music player market. But how does the Zune stack up technically, and can it challenge Apple's iPod?
In the Buzz this week, can the Zune HD beat the iPod Touch? Plus, AT&T is forced to defend its 3G network, and Apple just lets them twist.
This week, Donald and Jasmine discuss the firmware fix to the Zune HD, which can now count itself one feature short of one-upping the iPod Touch, thanks to a new Gigaware remote that adds HD radio to the omnipresent king of MP3 players. We also get to spend a little one-on-one time with the slick-but-confusing Cowon E2 and the boring-but-shuffletastic Haier America Video MP3 Player. Plus, we direct you to a couple of how tos that you may find worth your while and address some listener questions about earphones, podcast management, and iPod speaker docks.
Apple's iPod is the granddaddy of music players, but could a mere youngster like the Zune actually sound better? In our blind 'taste test,' we let people listen to both and decide for themselves.
With Jasmine out on vacation, Donald brings CNET Labs' Eric Franklin into the studio for an epic nerd session on audio quality measurements, including recent test data from the Zune HD and iPod Touch. We've got charts, folks!
With the 80GB Zune, Microsoft finally delivers the iPod alternative we've been waiting for.
Zune HD (32GB - platinum) Review
The good: The Zune HD's brilliant OLED display, HD Radio tuner, long battery life, movie rentals, and subscription music integration finally give iPod expatriates something to shout about.
The bad: You still can't use the Zune with a Mac, Marketplace purchases require "Microsoft Points," video format support is limited, audio quality lacks advanced controls, you'll need to purchase a dock accessory for HD video output, application and game selection stinks, and the recommended music subscription plan puts the real-world cost higher than the iPod.
The bottom line: The Zune HD delivers one of the best portable music and video experiences money can buy. At a time when many people have shifted their focus to games and applications, providing a killer media experience may not be enough for potential Zune buyers.
Zune HD (32GB - platinum) Specs
Part number: END-00002
- Product Basic Spec