Print 25 comment(s) - last by Mitch101.. on Nov 8 at 4:53 PM

Zune 30 firmware updates are coming November 13  (Source: Microsoft)

Zune 80 alongside the Zune 4/8  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft prepares Zune updates for next Tuesday

Microsoft announced its second generation Zune music players in early October. Microsoft righted many of the wrongs that plagued the first generation Zune and added a number of new features to pique the interest of potential buyers.

The new Zunes now have the ability to wirelessly sync within range of a host computer. Microsoft also dropped the 3-day limitation from its "3-day-or-3-play" DRM scheme, gave the Zune the ability to playback content from Windows Media Center-enabled PCs and added support for h.264 and MPEG-4 file formats.

When Microsoft announced the new Zune, it also shocked many in the industry when it noted that first generation Zunes -- now called the Zune 30 -- would also receive the new Zune software features via a firmware update.

Microsoft sent out an email to current Zune 30 owners yesterday informing them that the new firmware update along with updated Zune Marketplace software will be available on November 13.

"Beginning November 13, Zune will be providing service and software updates for your device and your PC," stated Microsoft in the email message. "The updates will be automatic, but you'll need to accept the terms of service in order to receive the latest features. By accepting the updates, your Zune will have the same software that comes preloaded on all new devices."

The new Zune 80 features a $249 price tag and an 80GB HDD. Microsoft was also able to enlarge the screen from 3.0" to 3.2" while also making the device both lighter and thinner.

In order to keep up with Apple's fast-moving iPod nano family, the boys from Redmond also introduced two flash-based Zunes: the Zune 4 and the Zune 8. As the names imply, the players have capacities of 4GB and 8GB respectively to go along with their $149 and $199 price tags.

The Zune 80 will be available in black, while the Zune 4/8 will be available in pink, green, black and glossy red.

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Almost Impressed...
By cubdukat on 11/6/2007 9:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
If they'd only add PlaysForSure compatibility, I might actually consider it. That's really the only reason I'm not considering a Zune.

I've been looking very heavily at the iPod Classic since their price drop, but my problem is that I don't want to have to buy additional software in order to rip movies and encode in its format. I tried MeGUI, but it just put everything out of sync. And I don't want to go back to the old Zen Vision:M I used to have because it's probably going to be orphaned by Creative in the next year--if it hasn't been already.

All I really used it for is playing back podcasts and my own ripped CDs. I suppose one player would be as good as the other in that regard. All I ask is that it be loud; i'm half-deaf in one ear (not from the player, from other issues).

But until they add P4S compatibility, Zune is off the table for me. I know they have a "song exchange" thing, but how much do you really trust that MS won't find a way to make you pay again? Then again, maybe now that URGE is no more, maybe the new store will be more trustworthy.

RE: Almost Impressed...
By imaheadcase on 11/6/2007 10:05:08 AM , Rating: 1
Why? Its not like people who use Zunes actually use the zune marketplace for music, I just download music and put it on there from my other drm free sources.

One thing that I don't like is the flash zunes don't support video, 8 gigs is plenty for TV episodes. :(

RE: Almost Impressed...
By BladeVenom on 11/6/2007 10:11:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'd want FLAC. But I still think that making the Zune not compatible with Microsoft's own standard was a mistake. Itunes is dominant and their competitors needed to stick together, unless they all go DRM free.

RE: Almost Impressed...
By Bonrock on 11/6/2007 11:06:21 AM , Rating: 3
Uh... The flash Zunes do support video...

RE: Almost Impressed...
By imaheadcase on 11/6/2007 11:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
Uh... The flash Zunes do support video...

Uh..not tv out.

RE: Almost Impressed...
By Mitch101 on 11/8/2007 4:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
Zunes support video out all you need is the cable.

RE: Almost Impressed...
By cubdukat on 11/6/2007 9:50:50 PM , Rating: 2
True, but I prefer to be on the right side of things wherever possible. Besides, I have one or two albums I purchased from Napster and a few tracks from other services like MSN Music and URGE, and the concept of having to pay twice for something just doesn't sit well with me.

RE: Almost Impressed...
By imaheadcase on 11/6/2007 11:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
True, but I prefer to be on the right side of things wherever possible. Besides, I have one or two albums I purchased from Napster and a few tracks from other services like MSN Music and URGE, and the concept of having to pay twice for something just doesn't sit well with me.

Why would you purchase music from different places and just not go drm free in the first place? Can't really complain if you did not research.

By drebo on 11/6/2007 9:09:15 AM , Rating: 2
I certainly like the look of the Zune better than the iPod. I ordered a 30gb Zune from for $99...good to see that they're fixing a lot of things with it and that those fixes will be available to me.

RE: Zune
By hannibal the mechanical bull on 11/6/2007 9:19:51 AM , Rating: 2
Its nice to me, but I would like a smaller shuffle or nano competitor.

RE: Zune
By hannibal the mechanical bull on 11/6/2007 9:41:18 AM , Rating: 2
err... I meant I would like to see the actual Zune 4/8 devices, and potentially a Shuffle replacement as well. My Wife has a newer shuffle, its nice because it clips on her shirt and she can go jogging with it, it weighs just about nothing, if not for the cord you wouldnt even notice its there.

RE: Zune
By AlphaVirus on 11/6/2007 11:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
Mpeg-4 playback, good job M$. This opens the door to watch alot of my movies on the Zune.

I really would like to get a Zune, its a nice product. I finally got a chance to play with one in the store and it is by far more functional than an ipod imo. A few cons of course but overall much better.

One thing I could say Apple has over Microsoft, the cool factor. Apple has marketed itself as being the hip, different, and cool product so all the kids get them. Usually when kids buy a product, it also influences the non-tech savvy adult. The adult says "Hey if the kids are buying it, it must be whats hip these days so I will get one and be cool" (of course not all parents are like this but alot do try and be the "cool" parents)

Zune software support
By loomis2 on 11/6/2007 10:23:35 AM , Rating: 2
My mom bought herself a Zune from Woot! when they were $80. When she got it she found out the software wasn't compatible with Media Center 2004, only MC2005. How stupid is that! Windows 95 or even 98 I could kind of understand, but how can Microsoft make a product that doesn't even work with their own platform from three years ago! Hell, it's even XP based which also works with the software so what is so different about MC2004 that MS can't be bothered to support it?

RE: Zune software support
By tdawg on 11/6/2007 12:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
This is no excuse for MS not supporting MCE2004 with a Zune, but if I remember correctly, MCE2004 was strictly OEM and basically unsupported, since it couldn't be purchased as a standalone product.

So, the Zune software won't even install on MCE2004 or the current firmware won't let you sync shows over to the Zune (won't even recognize it within Media Center under the Sync app)? If it's the latter, no current Zune will sync or even be recognized by any MCE installation, and that includes Vista MC. The new firmware will bring this feature and I can't wait!

RE: Zune software support
By loomis2 on 11/6/2007 1:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
What happens is when you try to install the software it just says the os is not supported. Are you saying that the update next week will make it supported or are all ms2004 users sol?

I guess it really doesn't matter since I bought it from her for my wife, but if it would work on her computer in a week's time then she probably could have waited. I'm guessing what you are saying is it will work with VISTA MCE and they will continue to ignore the older MCE systems.

RE: Zune software support
By tdawg on 11/6/2007 3:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
I was stating that the Zune software will update the device's firmware to finally integrate with Media Center. Since the Zune software isn't even allowed to install, this functionality will be unavailable. In any event, the firmware update will not enable support for currently-unsupported OSs, as far as I know. The Zune software currently installs on XP MCE and Vista, but if it doesn't install now on MCE2004, then I'm betting it never will. I guess MCE2004 is a very different animal than XP MCE is.

Windows XP Pro 64 Support or not ?
By MaxisOne on 11/6/2007 9:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
The last Marketplace software had no support for windows xp pro 64. I enquired about this numerous times at the official zune blog only to get cold silence. All the new features are really nice. However I dont think ill bother with it if the software cannot be run on my primary operating system. Which is notably made by the same company.

Can anyone tell me if that OS is supported?

RE: Windows XP Pro 64 Support or not ?
By Pitbull0669 on 11/6/2007 9:50:21 AM , Rating: 2
I have a 30 and I use Visat Ultimate 64 and have NO problems with the market place.;)

By MaxisOne on 11/6/2007 9:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
Please re read my initial comment ... I was not referring to VISTA 64 .. I was referring to XP PRO 64 ...

Typo ! :P
By shady3005 on 11/6/2007 3:19:38 PM , Rating: 1
"Microsoft sent out an email to current Zune 30 owners"

Hate to do correct people but shudnt this be :

Microsoft sent out an email to 30 current Zune owners

RE: Typo ! :P
By tdawg on 11/6/2007 3:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, funny. This "point" was covered by an earlier poster.

By firebow10 on 11/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By tdawg on 11/6/2007 12:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
Other than a friend of mine that works for Microsoft, I haven't seen anybody else using one. I just got one from Woot when they were $99, as I suspect many people did. This new firmware for the "old" Zune 30s make it a great buy for less than $100, in my opinion.

By wannabemedontu on 11/6/2007 12:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
Still no incentive for me to leave my Creative Zen. It records from FM and is the primary reason I went with it to begin with. I would love to update to the Zune 80 or even an Ipod but for whatever reason none offer recording from FM. Why is that? Creative has done it for years.

Well upgrade then!
By cjc1103 on 11/6/2007 1:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously need to upgrade to VISTA64, XP Pro 64 is soooo old. I'm sure Microsoft needs the money more than you do.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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