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All posts tagged "zune hd"


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Official Zune HD Press Release

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 02:00 AM

Microsoft Announces the Expansion of the Zune Entertainment Service to New Platform and Markets; Confirms New Zune HD Portable Media Player

Premium Zune digital entertainment service to be available internationally on Xbox LIVE.

REDMOND, Wash. - May 26, 2009 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the evolution of Zune, the company's end-to-end music and entertainment service, to a new platform and new markets. Zune will extend its video service to Xbox LIVE internationally this fall. This marks an important development in the Zune strategy and brings the Zune brand to more than 17 million international Xbox LIVE subscribers. In addition, Microsoft confirmed the next generation of the Zune portable media player, Zune HD. Available in the U.S. this fall, Zune HD is the first portable media player that combines a built-in HD Radio receiver, high-definition (HD) video output capabilities, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen, Wi-Fi and an Internet browser. Read more...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zune HD Size Calculations

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Articles & Resources" @ 11:30 PM

http://t03.us/2009/05/unofficial-gu...size-of-device/

Josh Sorenson from Cruleworld's Lifestream, hit me up on Twitter and let me know he'd done some caculations - the Zune team is being tight-lipped on the specifications of the Zune HD, but assuming that the photos are accurate, with a known screen size we can figure out the size of the device itself. The big deal would seem to be the thickness - a mere 0.35 inches. For comparison's sake, the iPod Touch is 0.33 inches thick, so essentially the same. And that's really thin.


Say Hello to the Zune HD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:50 PM

See, I had this plan tonight. I was out at a meeting and was getting home a full 45 minutes before the press embargo on the Zune HD was up, so Zune Thoughts would be one of the first sites to bring you the awesome news about the Zune HD. Then a site in the UK broke their embargo and everyone was allowed to publish the news...and I didn't realize that until I got home and checked my email. So that's why Zune Thoughts is bringing you this news late - hopefully when it come to actual hands-on time with the Zune HD, we'll be able to deliver something unique and special. Without further ado, here is the Zune HD and what I'm allowed to say about it so far (yes, there are a few bits of info that I know but can't share yet).

The Zune HD is designed from the ground up to take on the iPod Touch head to head. The hardware design is completely different from previous Zunes - one look at the sleek thinness tells you that. Microsoft wanted to get some information out about the Zune HD, but they're not spilling all the details just yet. Here's what we know for sure. Read more...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tegra To Power Zune?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 12:27 PM

http://www.liveside.net/main/archiv...d-is-tegra.aspx

"Tegra is Nvidia's 1st foray into the mobile computing realm. Nvidia is the company that makes the awesome video cards for your desktops and laptops. Most higher end machines use some type of powerful GPU made by ether Nvidia or ATI. For instance, my Gateway FX laptop uses a GeForce 8800 GTS & my desktop uses a 9800 GTX. Why are GPU’s good for computing? Once again take a look at the laptop. In most laptops the CPU does the heavy lifting for the GPU also, this is called "integrated graphics". In the Gateway FX, a GPU handles the task of blasting pixels to the screen, allowing the CPU focus on more important stuff, like processing and cruching non visual data. A setup like this is called "discreet graphics"."

You have to watch the videos to truly appreciate what this card can do but a device powered by this card would be very impressive. Obviously if I'm writing about it here then it must mean something for the Zune, right? I can't really be sure about that but according to the LiveSide blog, the Tegra is slated to launch in "mid 2009" and Microsoft is a featured partner. There's only one mobile device that Microsoft makes that I can think of. With all of the rumors of the Zune HD we've been hearing about now, could this be powering it?

I really hope so because that would solve one of my biggest complaints with the Zune. I hate that it only has 16 bit color depth. On such a small screen the resolution isn't as important to me as the color depth since color dithering just really stands out to me in videos. With a powerhouse like this as the GPU then hopefully 32 bit color will soon be a reality!


Monday, November 19, 2007

An International Zune User's Guide (Updated)

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 AM

This article has been updated as of April 2010 to include information on the Zune HD.

The world is a big place, full of people who love gadgets. When a company decides to release a piece of technology in a single country rather than a world-wide release, it never stops determined people from getting the technology. Like a modern-day Robin Hood, eBay is the primary conduit for re-distributing technology marvels from the "haves" to the "have-nots" (profit for the eBay seller is the motive, however). The Zune HD is one such product, released only in the US of A so far. I happen to live in Canada, and can't buy the Zune in my country, or use much of the online functionality - not without a little creativity that is. Welcome to the International Zune User's Guide: everything you need to know about being one of those clandestine folks acquiring and using a Zune HD in a country where Microsoft doesn't officially support you. Everything in this article is from the perspective of someone who lives in Canada, so there may be slight variations depending on where you are in the world.

Purchasing the Product

So you want to buy that shiny new Zune HD, only no retailer or online store in your country carries it. This is probably one of the easier problems to solve: find someone that will ship it to your country. The #1 place to look is eBay, because private sellers are often willing to ship elsewhere in the world in return for a healthy profit. This means you should expect to pay more than retail once all of the final shipping charges are calculated. If you live in Canada like I do, you're in luck: many US-based sellers will ship to Canada. Be wary of inflated shipping charges, though that's likely going to be the price you'll pay for getting it to you. Unfortunately I've seen many Zune HD ads where the seller will not ship outside North America: you'll have to search for sellers that are willing to ship to Canada/Europe/Asia/etc.

Figure 1: Mmm...the tasty Zune HD that Microsoft doesn't want you to buy.

Also be prepared to pay some sort of duty/import tax depending on where you live. If you happen to know someone who lives in the USA, this is the far better route: get them to buy if for you at retail, and ship it to you. You'll get the cheapest possible price overall, and your friend can mark the package with a lower-than-retail price. In Canada, if a product comes in via courier (UPS, FedEx, etc.) and the value is less than $20 CND, there's no brokerage fee. If the value is equal to $20 CND, the brokerage fees start at around $25 and go up from there. Have your friend mark the product as a "not for resale product sample", put a value of $10 on it, and you should be able to receive it without paying anything extra. If the product comes into Canada via the USPS (United States Postal Service), there are no brokerage fees regardless of the price listed: you'll just be paying GST and likely a $5 processing fee.

Zune Marketplace

OK, so you've got the hardware: now what? The Zune HD works great with all the music and content you have on your hard drive, but one of the strengths of the Zune HD(and the iPod for that matter) is that you can access huge online catalogs of music. The problem is, you can't buy those tracks if you live outside the USA. You can't even see the Marketplace tab in the software if your location is set to anything other than USA! It took me a lot of trial and error to figure this out, but I've figured it all out so you don't have to. If you have a Microsoft Passport account (Windows Live ID) associated with an Xbox Live account, it will have your credit card billing profile. You won't be able to use this account with the Zune Marketplace because the Zune Marketplace blocks purchases from credit cards that have non-US billing addresses. Every time I've tried I get an error stating that "Your credit card information is not valid. Please verify and try again." No amount if re-trying will get it accepted in my experience.

Figure 2: The Zune Marketplace that Microsoft doesn't want you to see or use.

The points you might have in your Xbox Live account won't be accessible to you in the Zune Marketplace - in fact, with the new Zune software when I tried to sign in with my "real" Passport account (the one associated with my Xbox Live account) it wouldn't even allow me to sign in, claiming that the "Zune Marketplace was unavailable". As you can tell, the Zune team has done almost everything in their power to block non-US based Zune owners from accessing Zune marketplace content. But where there's a will, there's a way. Follow these steps to get to near-Zune Marketplace bliss:

  1. Go to Passport.com and register a new Windows Live ID. Use any email address you want. When you're creating your profile, select your home country as the United States of America. Use any US address you want: if you have a sense of irony, use 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA, 98052.
  2. You now have a "clean" Windows Live ID without associated credit card information that can be used in the Zune Marketplace - but you need points to do that. And, not surprisingly, you can't purchase points with a non-US credit card. What you need are Xbox Live Points Cards that are sold in the US. Point cards purchased in other countries are geographically linked to that country and are not compatible with the Zune Marketplace. You have two choices at this point: head over to eBay and purchase point cards from a US-based seller (you may want to confirm there are US-based points). The nice thing here is that many sellers will just email you the point codes, meaning they don't care if you're in Poland or the UK. Or, use that friend in the USA again to buy you a points card.
  3. Once you have the point card codes, open the Zune desktop software and log in with your new Windows Live ID. The software may complain about your location setting for your Windows Live ID not matching the location setting on your computer (see below). You'll need to exit the Zune software, go to your Control Panel > Region and Language > Location, and change the location to United States. Open the Zune desktop software and log back in.
  4. Go into Settings > Account > Redeem Code.
  5. Enter in the Xbox Live Points code(s) you have. Those points will be added to your account.
  6. Now giggle like a school-girl as you witness your account fill with points ready for spending. You can use these points to purchase music or music videos from the Zune marketplace, and they'll download and play back on your Zune without any problem.
  7. When you need more points, just repeat steps #2 through #5 again. If you're planning on buying a lot of music, you should probably purchase a few blocks of 4000 points (which cost around $60 USD at retail).

Figure 3: The error screen you'll see if your computer location doesn't match the Live ID location.

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