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Full Zune 2 coverage from Zunerama:
   Zune 80 review
   Zune 8 review
   Tour the new Zune user interface video
   Watch how wireless sync works video
Fun stuff:
   Unboxing Zune 80 video
   Unboxing Zune 8 video
   Zune gallery - close-ups and 360o views
More stuff:
   Zune software install
   Walk through Zune's PC software
   View Marketplace screenshots


Zune Marketplace

Update: in May 2008, Microsoft released an enhanced Marketplace online store, coinciding with the release of Zune software 2.5. The new Marketplace includes TV content and enhanced social networking features. Those new features are summarized here.

Previously, Microsoft had released a significantly upgraded Zune Marketplace in November 2007, with an updated music catalog, music videos, podcasts, and unprotected (DRM-free) music. The new Zune Marketplace is also redesigned, making for a much improved user experience.

Zunerama's editors point out the highlights and features of Zune Marketplace. Click on any of the screen grabs below, to see a full-size version.

collection | device | marketplace | social | settings

Zune Marketplace

Zune Marketplace is an online service that provides music (including DRM-free music and music videos) and podcasts for your Zune player.

Music

From the main music page, you can view music by genre, browse playlists, or view a variety of music charts.

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Remember our story about Zune Marketplace's great search capabilities? Well, it is still excellent, but has changed. Search does not dynamically filter search results with each letter that is entered, as was the case with earlier versions of Zune software.

Instead, search results are displayed once you press the enter key (or click the magnifying glass icon). It results in a faster search than the dynamic search.

Happily, the search returns results that include partial matching. So, the "van mor" search above returns Van Morrison in the search results, as you would hope.

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The combinations of charts (top songs) and genres has been expanded, with more genres and more ways to browse for music based on various genres, subgenres, and charts.

For each track, the right column indicates if the track is already in your collection, can be bought, can be downloaded (if you're a Zune Pass subscription holder), or is available for free.

Downloading each track or album just takes a single click.

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Clicking on the "Now Playing" icon (lower right corner) throws up a mosaic of album art in your collection. The mosaic changes as your music plays. I like it!

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Marketplace now provides expanded details about music and artists. Pictures, biographical info, and music videos are provided for artists, as well as "related info" that includes related artists and genres, and an "influenced by" list.

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Music videos are now available through Zune Marketplace. 30-second previews are available. Music videos may be purchased for 159 Microsoft Points, or $1.99 U.S.

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Some tracks or albums are flagged with an MP3 icon (marked in the lower left corner of the albums in the screen grab below). Those are DRM-free (i.e. unprotected) tracks, and are available for 79 Points - the same price as protected tracks. Microsoft reports that there are currently about 1 million DRM-free tracks available on Marketplace.

Podcasts

The Zune team certainly put a robust catalog of audio and video podcasts available. You can browse by category and subcategory, or search for podcasts.

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Subscribing to a podcast is a one-click action. The process is identical for video or audio podcasts.

You must be logged in to Zune Marketplace to subscribe.

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Downloads

The download option under Marketplace gives details on active (in progress) downloads, purchased downloads, or subscription downloads.

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Social

The Social area is where you can see items that you've received from other Zune owners - for example, through wireless sharing. The usefulness of this may be extended as zune.net/social is rolled out. This area may offer a way to interact with other Zune card holders in the Zune social community site.

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View menu options for Settings

collection | device | marketplace | social | settings


Full Zune 2 coverage from Zunerama:
   Zune 80 review
   Zune 8 review
   Tour the new Zune user interface video
   Watch how wireless sync works video
Fun stuff:
   Unboxing Zune 80 video
   Unboxing Zune 8 video
   Zune gallery - close-ups and 360o views
More stuff:
   Zune software install
   Walk through Zune's PC software
   View Marketplace screenshots


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