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  (Source: Engadget)
Zune HD can be pre-ordered today

Microsoft is holding steady at third place in the MP3 player market well behind Apple and behind second place SanDisk. Microsoft is still trying to woo customers to its Zune PMPs and has officially announced pricing and availability for its latest Zune player.

The Zune HD specifications and rumored pricing were leaked this week and today Microsoft has made pricing official. Redmond will be offering the 32GB Zune HD for $289.99 and the 16GB version will sell for $219.99.

Microsoft is taking pre-orders on the platinum 32GB Zune HD and a black 16GB Zune HD now online. The Zune HD devices can be purchased in stores on September 15. The pre-order devices are in the platinum or black colors only, but the device will be offered in five different colors and have ten different art engraving options.

The Zune HD is the first Microsoft PMP to offer a touch screen. While the specs on the HD leaked a while back, Microsoft has officially confirmed them the Zune HD will offer a HD radio receiver, HD video output, an OLED 3.3-inch screen with 480 x 272 resolution, integrated Wi-Fi, and a full internet browser. The device also runs the NVIDIA Tegra HD processor.

Along with the debut of the Zune HD device will come a slew of new accessories as well. The Zune AV Dock will connect the HD to your TV with 720p capability and will sell for $89.99, the Zune HD AV & Power Pack will sell for $49.99 and connect the Zune HD to the TV and keep it charged.

There will undoubtedly be a slew of other accessories coming from third-party vendors as well to lure money out of the pockets of new Zune HD owners.



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RE: More Storage
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/13/2009 11:06:23 AM , Rating: 4
I'm not saying that it is a technological hurdle, but if you're going to go up against the gorilla in the room, at least match their capacities. It should be available AT LAUNCH -- believe me, people will buy it (64GB) at $399. Heck I would buy it at $399, but 32GB is not enough for music + 720p videos on a device with that gorgeous screen for viewing movies.

You don't go from being third place to challenging the top players by skimping out on how much users can cram on the device -- that is a basic necessity.

As I said in another post, get the basics right, then go for the throat with killer features.

Microsoft did the same crap with the original Zune. It had 30GB when the top iPods at the time were at 60GB or 80GB IIRC.


RE: More Storage
By Smilin on 8/13/2009 11:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
You won't break your competition by offering a device so expensive that most people laugh either. I wouldn't mind buying a 64gig at a high price but you and I are technophiles and not typical consumers. There is some bean counter somewhere doing the math on this.

Plus..With memory prices what they are if you release a 64gig model now, you leave no headroom to leapfrog with a product refresh. 128gig is not going to be affordable for a while yet.

Nothing is saying MSFT can't announce a 64 the moment apple does...they might even manage to hook people who just bought a 32.

The 30GB original zune was indeed weakly spec'd but there are reasons why. Microsoft took the Zune from an idea in an email to truckloads of shipping product, software, and an online service in 8 months. The Zune 30 may not have been spectacularly impressive but it's birth was.


RE: More Storage
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/13/2009 11:32:45 AM , Rating: 2
I understand what you're saying, but it wouldn't be "so expensive" compared to the iPod touch -- it would be at parity.

The current iPod touch range is 8GB ($229), 16GB ($299), and 32GB ($399).

I can almost 99.9% guarantee you that the 3G iPod touch will be 16GB ($229), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399).

The Zune HD is $219 for 16GB and $299 for the 32GB -- that's at price parity (slightly lower for the 16GB). It won't be "more expensive" to the consumer. You'd be getting a higher-spec'd device for the same money.

If MS was going to announce a 64GB Zune, they would have done it by now to throw the ball back in Apple's court for the iPod event next month.


RE: More Storage
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2009 12:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
Speculate all you want. It matters little at this point.

BTW, why in the hell would you want to watch 720p videos on a screen that's not even 1/7th the size of the video? That just seems to be a very big waste of space if you ask me.


RE: More Storage
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/13/2009 12:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft seems to think you will. Aren't touting 720p output using an HDMI dongle?


RE: More Storage
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2009 1:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
I have no idea. I haven't looked into it much since I don't plan on getting one. Even so, I couldn't use the HDMI output anyway, no HDTV. While it'd be nice to play it on a TV I don't see how the size matters that much then. You're obviously going to be next to a computer of some kind if you're going to watch 720p movies on a TV. So you can transfer stuff to and from it if need be. Not saying it's ideal, but it's not really much of an inconvenience. It's not like you could really watch a movie or something in 720p on your Zune legally.

The whole point to me is that it's portable. So you'd watch movies on the Zune and not the TV.


RE: More Storage
By Mitch101 on 8/13/2009 11:36:02 AM , Rating: 2
32gig is sufficient for most but 64gb would make it safe.

On my Zune 30gb
266 Songs (Dont need my entire music collection with me)
16059 pictures
58 Videos most are (LARGE WMV podcasts some as long as 47 mins)

6.48GB used
21.31GB free

A 720P movie h.264 compressed will be about 4gig ~ 8 movies?

If I'm going to watch the movie over someone elses house I can see keeping the 720P format and carrying maybe 3-4 movies max. If I'm going to watch them on the ZuneHD screen they might as well be converted to the screens format saving a ton of space.

My guess is if you need tons of HD movies in a portable form get a popcorn hour. If you want a couple this should be doable.


RE: More Storage
By ClownPuncher on 8/13/2009 2:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
The basics would include sound quality, yes? If so, then the iPod doesn't get the basics right either.


RE: More Storage
By Omega215D on 8/13/2009 5:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
We seem to be thinking on the same wavelength... =D


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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