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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
quote:
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.

http://www.daydeal.com/product.php?productid=14466...


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
quote:
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.


"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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