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Zune forums

In the forums now: 341 Guests, 0 Users

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November 12, 2007

More Zune v2 videos from Zune Thoughts

by Harvey Chute

Want another look at the Zune player user interface?

I recommend the video walkthrough posted by Jason of ZuneThoughts. It's distinguished by his informative narrative and superior camera-work. (I swear he must be using a steadycam.)

Jason's Zune v2 videos have had over 15,000 views since this morning - a nice indication of the level of interest in the new-generation Zune!

Comments | Permalink


November 12, 2007

Zune 80 - the Zunerama review

by Harvey Chute

We've posted our review of the Zune 80GB player, giving our take on the new hard-drive player to be released to the world tomorrow. Check it out!

Comments | Permalink


November 12, 2007

Zune 8 - the Zunerama review

by Harvey Chute

A few days ago, I received a green Zune 8GB player as a review unit from Microsoft's Zune team. Green would not have been my color of choice, but nevertheless over the past few days of playing and testing, I've grown quite attached to the little guy.

Our review of the Zune 8GB flash player is now available - check it out here.

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November 12, 2007

New Zune player menu and features: the full tour

by Harvey Chute

The video walks through each menu option in the new Zune player interface. It also gives a little demo of the Zune Pad, and records a wireless sharing experience between a Zune 80 and a flash Zune 8.

The next video has a demonstration of wireless sync - one of the coolest features of this new Zune experience.

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November 12, 2007

Pix of new Zune players in our Gallery

by Harvey Chute

Over the past few days, I've taken quite a few pictures of the new Zune hard drive and flash players.

I've posted the best of the pix in our new Zune Gallery page.

Here's a sampling:

zune graphic zune graphic

Head to the gallery if you'd like to see more - including 360o shots and close-ups.

Comments | Permalink


November 12, 2007

Marketplace rolls out music videos, podcasts, more

by Harvey Chute

We've posted our review of the new Marketplace, where we've captured screenshots of the much-improved online service from Microsoft.

That includes a new music catalog of over 3 million tracks, over 1 million DRM-free (unprotected) MP3s, hundreds of audio and video podcasts (free), and music videos.

We've also got some pricing info to break:

  • DRM-free MP3s will go for 79 Microsoft Points (or $.99 U.S.). That's the same price as the protected tracks.
  • Music videos sell for 159 Microsoft Points, or $1.99 U.S.
  • Comments | Permalink



    November 12, 2007

    Zune software 2.1 - a world of difference!

    by Harvey Chute

    zune graphic

    Users of Zune software will have reason to rejoice tomorrow, when their PCs start pulling down the much-enhanced Zune software version 2.1.

    I've spent the last few days dissecting a pre-release copy of the Zune software. As Microsoft had announced, it's a complete re-write.

    Gone are the navigation and sync panes, now replaced with more intuitive ways of navigating, syncing, and browsing.

    I think in many ways it's a triumph of user-friendly design. Microsoft has added features and sophistication while easing the user experience.

    For example, configuring your sync settings has been greatly improved, allowing you to more easily set your sync options before your first player sync - and providing a "sync all" or "let me choose" option that can be set separately for music, video, pictures, and podcasts. It's more powerful, yet much easier to understand and use.

    See our Zune Software 2.1 review page for that as well as other screenshots of the new software in action.

    Comments | Permalink


    Zune DVD tutorial


    November 12, 2007

    Zune software 2.1 - a smooth install

    by Harvey Chute

    I had a painless experience with my installation of Zune software 2.1.

    The installation took less than five minutes. I didn't have to uninstall (or even close) my old version of the Zune software, which was convenient. (The install wizard kindly closed it for me, before replacing it with the remarkably improved Zune software.)

    Check out these screen shots of the install along with some notes I took on the installation. You can also get a preview of the first sync of your player with the new software.

    As impressive as the new Zune players are (more on that coming up shortly), the most remarkable advance of Zune's 2nd generation may very well be its PC software. I've got a review of that coming up, with plenty of screenshots for the curious.

    Comments | Permalink


    Zune accessory giveaways


    November 12, 2007

    Zune 8 unboxing

    by Harvey Chute

    Our Zune 8 unboxing experience has been chronicled in video and pictures on our Zune 8 Unboxing page.

    The video and pix give 360-degree views of the little flash player.

    I hope some of you will be performing a similar unboxing today - it's a satisfying experience, Zuners. Click on the pic below for more unboxing shots.

    zune graphic

    Comments | Permalink


    See Zune Players on Amazon: Black, White, Brown

    November 12, 2007

    Zune 80 unboxing

    by Harvey Chute

    We've created a Zune 80 unboxing page, with a video of the unboxing of that big bad new Zune player.

    The page also provides close-up pix of the 80 from all angles.

    The Zune team did a great job with the packaging. The unboxing is, my friends, a joyous experience. View more unboxing shots of the Zune 80 by clicking the pic below.

    Comments | Permalink


    See Zune accessories on Amazon:
    Zune Travel Pack   |   Zune Car Pack   |   Zune Home A/V Pack   |   Zune Tough Skin

    November 12, 2007

    Stay tuned: 6am Pacific time

    by Harvey Chute

    As you may know, I've spent the last few days revelling in the new Zune players and software. As one of the benefits of being a Zune MVP, I received a pre-release Zune 80 and Zune 8 from Microsoft for review purposes.

    In a couple of hours - at 6am Pacific time (9am Eastern time) - I will release pictures, videos, and reviews. You'll see them all here in the blog and in our forums.

    If you're getting your new Zune on release day tomorrow, prepare to be delighted.

    Stand by!

    Comments | Permalink


    November 11, 2007

    zune graphic

    The week ahead

    by Harvey Chute

    It's a full week ahead for we Zune-heads:

    Monday: Zune reviews and more. As I recently hinted, Zunerama has a wealth of information about the second-generation Zune line-up. This includes player reviews, 4 videos, 12 new Zunerama web pages, and - at last count - 384 photos and screen-grabs. Those will start appearing when the press embargo lifts at 6am Pacific on Monday.

    Tuesday: Launch! Retailers start selling Zune players over the counter, and online stores start shipping, on November 13. New Zune software will be available for downloading from zune.net. New firmware updates will activate those newly-acquired Zune 80s, 8s, and 4s... and transform new life into the first-gen Zune 30s. A re-vamped and expanded Marketplace will appear, with unprotected tracks, music videos, and podcasts. And, I believe, the Zune Social community site will be made public.

    I'll also be running up to Target to get my hands on some more Zune players. I want to add to my color collection (which you'll see in tomorrow morning's post).

    Tuesday: Giveaways of Zune players! Don't forget, Tuesday is also the day that we'll be drawing for our Zune 80 and Zune 8 player giveaways. You still have a few hours left to sign up for those.

    Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Play! I predict that many of us will be happily playing in the new Zune experience, the rest of the week!

    Comments | Permalink


    November 10, 2007

    Some new Zunes escape into consumer hands

    by Harvey Chute

    Retailers are not supposed to sell Zune players until Tuesday November 13. Some have slipped into the hands of consumers, though - including Zunerama member eds, who bought a flash Zune player at a store that wasn't following the rules.

    (Purportedly the offending store was an Office Depot in St. Louis, although that has not been confirmed.)

    While he's the envy of our boards, eds can't use the player yet. You can't get past the main menu until the player receives an online firmware update... and that update will not be made available until the official release date on Tuesday.

    He called Zune tech support about it, and was told to wait a few days, as right now he's holding "a little bit of the future".

    Comments | Permalink


    November 9, 2007

    Say good-bye to the "old" Zune Marketplace

    by Harvey Chute

    zune graphic

    In case you hadn't heard, big changes are coming up for Marketplace soon. On Monday, Microsoft will take it down from 6pm Pacific for a few hours - while they roll out the new version of the online service.

    This will be one of the final steps before we get the new Zune software, store, Zune Social, and firmware update on Tuesday, November 13.

    Thanks to ZuneInsider for the heads up!

    Comments | Permalink



    November 8, 2007

    Zunerama reports on new Zune players, software at 6am Pacific on Monday

    by Harvey Chute

    I've received the go-ahead from Microsoft to release our Zune photos, videos, and reviews a day early - on Monday, November 12 at 6am Pacific, 9am Eastern.

    Anything in particular you'd like to see? Let me know via the Comments link below. I'm busy preparing videos and pics as we speak.

    Comments | Permalink


    November 8, 2007

    Win Zune 80 and Zune 8 players from Zunerama - drawing on Tuesday!

    by Harvey Chute

    Just a few days left to enter our giveaways for brand new Zune players!

    On Tuesday, November 13th, we'll select winners to receive an 80 GB Zune player and a 8 GB flash Zune player.

    The Zune 80 drawing is post-weighted - so our long-term, frequent posters have an edge. The Zune 8 drawing is completely random.

    So be one of the first people to enjoy one of these great players. Sign up here! Good luck!

    Comments | Permalink


    November 7, 2007

    Microsoft responds to Zune rating system

    by Harvey Chute

    A few days ago, we expressed our concerns about Zune's new track rating system. Microsoft has responded in a ZuneInsider post, which gives some background and rationale for the change.

    People are passionate about this, as evidenced by the 75 comments posted in our two threads on the subject.

    I'm guessing here, but this rating system may be designed with the (upcoming) Zune Social online site in mind. Users will presumably be able to give a quick rating on music that they encounter, allowing the site to make better predictions on recommended music.

    Meanwhile, a thoughtful post from David Tucker of Zune Thoughts makes some good points about the merits of the new system.

    While our confidence meter is up on the Zune team, we still have some questions on this one:

    Is the 5-star rating system gone from both the player and the Zune software? Presumably yes, as the two are designed to stay in sync.

    Will the ratings be retained in the metadata for my tracks? A ratings field is embedded in your audio files. If a rating has been set for a track, we presume that the rating metadata will be retained, even if it's not used by Zune.

    I'm sure you have an opinion. Click on the Comments link to make it known.

    Comments | Permalink


    November 6, 2007

    Oops! Blogged too soon.

    by Harvey Chute

    After getting the call from my wife, and immediately letting you all know about our Zune 80 and 8 review units, I asked ZuneWidow to check my email for me. (I was in Helena airport and couldn't get connected.)

    I subsequently learned that I have to hold off on any pics, videos, or reviews until Nov 13.

    Still, I can get them all prepared - and as a result you all will be among the first to get detailed looks at the new players and software.

    So stay tuned... methinks you won't be disappointed.

    Comments | Permalink


    November 6, 2007

    Yes! Zunerama gets a pre-release Zune 80 and Zune 8

    by Harvey Chute

    My wife just called - a package just arrived, containing a Zune 80 and Zune 8 unit for Zunerama to review.

    I'm out of state - aaaargh! - but flying back now. I'll have pics, and a video, up within 12 hours.

    Hit comments to tell me if there's anything in particular you'd like to see in a pic or video.

    Yee-hah!

    Comments | Permalink


    November 6, 2007

    Zune Terms of Service: changes coming

    by Harvey Chute

    When the new Zune player firmware and PC software rolls out on the 13th, we'll more than likely see a new Terms of Service for Zune.

    In fact, last night's email from the Zune team indicates that the "updates will be automatic, but you'll need to accept the terms of service in order to receive the latest features."

    If you're a Type 'A' Zuner, you may be keen to know that in Zunerama's Documentation Library, we have copies of current and past versions of the Zune Terms of Service. We even have created mark-up versions that show, with redlines and strikeouts, what changed from one version to another.

    We'll update those with the new TOS as soon as it's released, showing marked-up changes. Stay tuned.

    Comments | Permalink


    Zune DVD tutorial


    November 5, 2007

    Zune team to us: Get ready

    by Harvey Chute

    Moments ago, the Zune team sent an email out - confirming that the new Zune PC software and firmware will roll out on November 13.

    With those updates comes wireless sync, a new re-stocked Marketplace with new tracks, podcasts, videos, and DRM-free MP3s, and the Zune Online Community.

    Click on the graphic to see the complete message.

    Thanks to Nardes for the tip.

    Comments | Permalink


    November 4, 2007

    Tempest brewing over Zune 2's rating system

    by Harvey Chute

    We're less than two weeks before the Zune 2 launch, and our forums are flaring over upcoming changes in how Zune users rate their music tracks.

    Currently a five-star system is used to rate your Zune music - a time-honored system used by iPod, Netflix, hotels, car safety tests, and Zagat guides everywhere.

    Based on recent Zune previews, it seems that under Zune 2, rating tracks has been reduced to either selecting a heart icon ("I love this track") or a broken-heart icon ("I hate this track").

    Our forum members are howling that this rating system is far too primitive for managing personal playlists.

    Many members use the 5-star systems to control how music gets loaded on their various players. Palmer, for example, loads 5-star music on his smaller-capacity flash players, and loads 4-or-5-star music on his hard drive players. He flags "to be deleted" songs with a 1-star rating.

    Those are legitimate concerns. We've posed some questions to the Zune team about this. As Trastan says, "Why the heck would I have 'Hate It' music in my library in the first place?!"

    Comments | Permalink


    November 3, 2007

    Verified: Zune Pass content can be synced now to 3 Zune players

    by Harvey Chute

    No waiting for November 13 on this - our forum members have tested and confirmed that, right now, you can sync your Zune Pass subscription content with three Zune players.

    It used to be limited to two players, and in fact the Zune's current terms of service still reflects the two-player limit.

    I don't think we'll get into much trouble for breaking that TOS. Cesar of ZuneInsider replied to my recent query with a note indicating that the three-player Zune Pass rumor was true. Many of us assumed, though, that we wouldn't see that feature until November 13, when the new Zunes get birthed.

    As we speak, my 17-year-old daughter - owner of the third Zune in our family - is busy downloading, now that she's been granted the right to pull up a chair at the all-you-can-eat Zune Pass buffet. Bon appetit!

    Comments | Permalink


    Find Zune accessories on Amazon

    November 3, 2007

    Zunerama appears on thezuneshow podcast

    by Harvey Chute

    The other night I was interviewed for the latest thezunelife podcast, hosted by Zac from Zune-Life.com.au.

    As the URL suggests, Zac is based in Australia. This was a fun experience and I hope to do more! I'm no broadcast professional, but you can check out the interview at Zune-Life.

    Comments | Permalink


    November 2, 2007

    The Zune Pass viral effect

    by Harvey Chute

    Two of our recent stories (All in the Family and Sync your Zune Pass...) have spurred an interesting discussion in our forums.

    The topic: the viral effect of having a Zune Pass... within a household.

    Here's the hypothesis: once a household has a single Zune with a Zune Pass... it becomes a great motivator for other household members to choose Zune players over any other player.

    The reasoning, of course, is that by "going Zune", those follow-on household members not only get a great little media player, they get unlimited music to load on that player.

    We've seen this firsthand in my own household. My 17-year-old is highly unlikely to switch to a non-Zune player - not because her Papa is Zunerama's webmaster, but because doing so would make her access to my Zune Pass content disappear.

    By choosing a Zune for her current and future players, she gets to piggy-back - at no cost to me or her - on my existing Zune Pass subscription.

    In this world of difficult choices... that one's an easy one. Hit the Comments link to see what others are saying...

    Comments | Permalink



    November 2, 2007

    New Zune commercial goes psychedelic

    by Harvey Chute

    A new online Zune commercial has appeared. Available at zune.net/journey, the interactive ad has spawned some critical discussion in our forums.

    Meanwhile, a new Zune TV commercial appeared today on Zune.net. True to most Zune commercials, some love it and some hate it. I don't think it's been broadcast yet but you can check it out here.

    Comments | Permalink


    November 1, 2007

    Sync your Zune Pass downloads to THREE players

    by Harvey Chute

    Item #5 on our Zune Pass wish list appears to have been granted: "Expand the number of Zune players allowed per Zune Pass."

    At the Zune preview in Seattle, it was revealed that Zune Pass songs will be able to be synced with up to three Zune players - up from the current two-player limit.

    It appears that this will become available with the November 13 update to Zune software.

    This is great news, especially as there'll be more families with multiple Zune players once the new generation of players comes out on the 13th.

    Now, three Zunes can be loaded up with unlimited Zune Pass downloads - under a single subscription.

    Nice move, Zune team. Thanks to IWAPZ for the report!

    Comments | Permalink


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    October 31, 2007

    Previewing the new Zune players in Seattle

    by Harvey Chute

    Cesar, that lovable ZuneInsider, previewed the new Zune players at a small gathering in Seattle last night.

    Sadly, I had to decline my invitation, as my day job had me on the road. My fellow Zune MVP Stefan from IWAPZ was able to make it - flying in from Spokane for the occasion - and captured some pics and some impressions from the event.

    Interestingly, the attendees were asked not to take close-ups of the Zune 80 - evidently it was a pre-production player and something about it (firmware maybe?) was not the final version to be released in - yes! - two weeks.

    Comments | Permalink


    October 31, 2007

    All in the Family

    by Harvey Chute

    Are you like me, and have more than one Zune in your household? (We have three right now, but ask me again after November 13.)

    We have at least two Zunerama members who sport no less than four Zune players in their household. For rdhoss, it started when he bought his black 30GB Zune. Then, he bought a pink Zune for his wife.

    After holding steady at two Zunes for awhile, he succumbed to Woot's recent blockbuster sales and bought two brown Zunes for his kids. They're for Christmas. I really hope they don't read this blog as I'd hate to spoil the surprise.

    Are you part of a multiple-Zune family? Hit the comments link and join our hall of fame.

    Comments | Permalink


    October 30, 2007

    New Zune gear

    by Harvey Chute

    More accessory-makers are jumping on the Zune bandwagon. Microsoft announced today a new line of accessories, all available on November 13.

    23 accessory partners are now working directly with Microsoft on Zune gear. (You can see the whole list on this ZuneInsider post).

    The treats include speaker docks, cases, cables, FM transmitters, car kits, and more. You can see pix at Zune.net, and read the press release for more details.

    Comments | Permalink

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