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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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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.

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