Zune HD officially goes up for pre-order

Well, it’s official now: the Zune HD is coming out on September 15, and you can pre-order it right now at a number of online vendors. So says Microsoft in an announcement on the Zune website.

As expected, the Zune HD is launching in 16GB and 32GB capacities. The former can be pre-ordered for $219.99 at Newegg, while the latter is $289.99. The pre-orders only cover a single color for each model, though. On September 15, Microsoft says, you’ll be able to grab a Zune HD in “five different colors with the option to customize your player with one of 10 new engravings designed by guest artists.”

Left: the 32GB model. Right: the 16-gigger.

The announcement sums up the Zune HD’s main features, too, including confirmation that it’s powered by an Nvidia Tegra system-on-a-chip. You’re also getting a 3.3″ OLED touch screen, Wi-Fi, HD video output (through a separately sold docking station), HD radio support, and a full-screen web browser with multi-touch goodness.

Comments closed
    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    /[<"i think that the next major release of windows phone is a genuine attempt at trying to regain relevance in the smartphone market. "<]/ If the attempt was genuine it would have been in 2008, not 2010* *- maybeg{<.<}g

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    “Windows Mobile is still one of the top ranking smart phone OSes with regard to market share.”

    No, it isn’t. It is next to Palm in Last place, and *[

    • funko
    • 13 years ago

    while that is definitely true. i think that the next major release of windows phone is a genuine attempt at trying to regain relevance in the smartphone market. i’ve watched the demo videos and they seem to be held back with trying to maintain compatibility with current winmo users and newer phones, but the newer interface is a nice step up. but not zune quality yet. but i echo your sentiments that a company like microsoft should be easily able to compete in the smartphone market, but their showing is rather uncompetitive when compared to Windows, Office, Xbox, Zune (despite poor market share), and keyboards & mice. even their live services rival google in terms of usability and feathers, depsite bad marketshare as well.

    EDIT: in terms of media phones. i am one of the few who would rather carry seperates. purely on the basis of battery life. i use my smartphone heavily for email, messaging, and apps. i also use my mp3 players heavily for a few hours a day. if i were to combine the usage, i would not be able to last a full day on a single charge on any current smartphone on the market. i am not fashion conscious enough to care about 2 pieces of hardware in my pockets either.

    • funko
    • 13 years ago

    check this out:

    §[<http://lifehacker.com/5337644/zune-hd-looks-like-a-fantastic-portable-media-center<]§ looks like it has a nice interface when connected to the tv. something that i've been lugging around a laptop or western digital media player for to social get togethers. but with a zune HD I can get by pretty well with toting around even less!

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    Better not look at WinMo 6.5 then, because the UI is very similar. By WinMo7, Zune would probably be integrated.

    • deathBOB
    • 13 years ago

    This needs to become a phone. No windows mobile please.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Almost every feature phone can do that these days.

    Windows Mobile is still one of the top ranking smart phone OSes with regard to market share. 6.5 (or whatever the rename) will be coming out soon and the big release (version 7) should be out some time next year.

    There are also much more competition now, good competition. You have Android (which is wonderful for people like me who use lots of Google’s tools), you have WebOS which is looking better and better with Palm being very open about it all, you have Blackberry phones as always, you have S60 (though it is very aged at this point).

    Android and WebOS particularly are very viable options. Blackberrys will almost always have their fans as well.

    Honestly I think there are way more good options in smartphone land than media player land.

    • matter3
    • 13 years ago

    I preordered mine already, cannot wait for it to come!

    ——
    §[<http://freenintendowiipoints.com<]§

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    They have lost significant share and haven’t done jack significant in years.

    §[<http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/08/13/iphone-market-share-grew-375-in-q2/<]§ §[<http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2009/tc2009087_110164.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_software<]§ Who would invest in a music player and a cell phone after the iphone? Hey I don't like Apple, but I will bet you my next device *must* include music/video/phone/internet/calendar/tasks sync for me to even begin to consider itg{<.<}g edit: better links.

    • funko
    • 13 years ago

    don’t you ogg and flac users find that lossless kills your battery life? I used to use WMA lossless until i realized that my batterylife using mp3 vbr with a 192kbps floor gave me a couple more hours on my zune, with no discernable loss in audio quality through my canalphones

    • funko
    • 13 years ago

    they did not stop developing windows mobile, which is now renamed into windows phone.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Well there’s one thing about the iPod lineout that I mentioned but got overlooked…the TON of accessories. LOD (line-out docks) are cheap cheap and plentiful, there are come that aren’t even ‘docks’ per se but are simply iPod proprietary jacks with L and R out. Now I don’t know all the details of every single player that came out since the iPod but I do know that many DAPs don’t feature a true lineout at all via a standard jack nor do they even have the i[

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Why do you say they’re abandoning mobile devices?

    I’m not sure if this applies since I’m not sure what you mean but I recall an MS exec saying once they weren’t interested in making a phone themselves but rather supporting WinMo on other company’s devices.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    Why bother with this and abandon mobile devices? It’s like they saw an emerging market, a really really important one and said “Hey Apple, Google, take this!”

    Man M$FT has really taken a hit with Gates gone.

    I paid for my own house and the basement is finished. So much for Penny Snarkadeg{<.<}g

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    I lol’d; I have a bunch of old stereo components I bought for cheap from garage sales. 70’s were wood grained, 80’s were silver, and 90’s were black.

    • FireGryphon
    • 13 years ago

    No, I don’t.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    I didn’t see it at first, either. I just got really curious and started digging around, since nothing really makes it very clear how the different resolutions work and what they are for what.

    This is the only thing I saw that actually states anything specific, but it’s still pretty vague and confusing.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 13 years ago

    You’re right. The formatting in the article isn’t that good so I missed the 1280×720 resolution since it’s in the middle of the H.264 section. I would have sworn it wasn’t there when I first read the article, so it could be that they updated the article as well.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 13 years ago

    Sorry, week of September the 7th. And I thought Apple events tend to be on Tuesdays?

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    Whoa, wait a minute. It says this:

    “Advanced Profile up to L2, 1280×720 up to 30 frames per second”

    The information on this is pretty scarce, but I think it just requires a dock to do that.

    How do you know that’s being upscaled?

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I don’t own a Zune or a iPod. I did own a Zune at one point (the Zune 80) but it was over a year ago now. I would recommend some one purchasing a device like the iPhone, Pre, one of the new Blackberries, the Android devices, whatever. I think from entertainment and usefulness standpoint all of those are winners (well, the Blackberry is falling behind in the entertainment areas, but that’s /[

    • Decelerate
    • 13 years ago

    Can’t be 7th, as it’s Labour Day.

    I doubt it’s the 8th either, as they have a tendency to have their event on a Wednesday if the week contains a holiday on Monday.

    So 9th at best.

    • Decelerate
    • 13 years ago

    Yes, and we’re talking about Microsoft; it’s not like they’re lacking experience in terms of massive deployment, whether software or hardware.

    But they are releasing their product vs the 10000lbs Gorilla. This is practically suicidal. If their product is even remotely threatening, Apple can just lower the prices of their new iPod lineup since the Zunes’ prices are announced already.

    It’s like any game trying to release at the same time as CoD:MW2 this fall: they’re going to get creamed.

    Disclosure: I used to work for a gaming company.

    • anamericangod
    • 13 years ago

    Looks like it has potential, but the limited capacity just doesn’t do me any good.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 13 years ago

    §[<http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/08/zune-hd-specs-reveal-battery-life-estimates-format-support.ars<]§ So as it turns out, the Zune HD's marketed 720p output is really just marketing. The hardware only supports video up to 720x480 which is basically 480p. So for 720p output, they'll be upscaling. They might as well have upscaled to 1080p and marketed it as such. Apple is rumoured to be having a special event on September 7, before the Zune HD's September 15 launch. It'll be interesting to see what Apple has in store to pre-empt the Zune HD's launch. I believe Apple usually hard launches with availability the same day, so the Zune HD will almost certainly be directly competing with a 3rd gen iPod Touch. Like the iPhone 3G S, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Touch get doubled capacity at the same price points 16GB $229, 32GB $299, 64GB $399, an ARM Cortex A8 possibly upclocked over the iPhone 3G S, a PowerVR SGX, and the much rumoured video camera and editing. EDIT: The Zune does support 1280x720 video in H.264 afterall. I missed it because the article formatting bunched everything together. I would have sworn it wasn't there when I first read the article, so it could be that they updated the article as well.

    • Chrispy_
    • 13 years ago

    I’m with MMO on this. You can defend the Zune/IPod touch as much as you want but if you’re after pure audio fidelity there are loads of sites that show that neither of these devices will win.

    However, if you want to argue that more features is better, why don’t they have a phone? Why aren’t the Blackberry Bold or the iPhone your preferred champions?

    I actually don’t own a portable media player anymore since I use the Bold for everything now. It doesn’t have the best /[

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Do you have *any* idea what it takes to get devices out into stores worldwide?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Goodbye. You win teh internets because I can’t bother trying to have a discussion with you when all you do is ignore some things, make preposterous sweeping generalizations about others and assume your preferences have to be those of all users.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    “10 new engravings designed by guest artists”

    Woooo! Hand-engraved, I hope. It wouldn’t be expecting too much for each “guest artist” to do 5 each, for a grand total of the 50 Zune HDs they’ll probably sell. :p

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    All I know is that my MP3 player never blew up or set anything on fire.

    And thus, I’ve never had Apple sending me letters, trying to extort me into being legally liable for ever talking about it, just to get a refund. Yay Apple!

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    The iPod wasn’t the only viable high capacity option. See how relatively popular the Creative Zen Vision M was for instance or the iRiver players or some other player that was highly popular for a bit… it escapes my memory right now. It was hard disk based. If anything I think the market now is smaller than ever because the iPod has become so dominant.

    I have no clue what made you think I was referring to line-out to a home system in any fashion. I wasn’t. For those who have headphones that actually demand the higher quality the line-out to a headphone amp will give the best sound quality.

    I think those setups are insane and I would never use one. But if someone wants THE BEST sound quality what other setup do you purpose? Even the best out putting DAPs from the jack are inferior to this. I guess as a happy medium device they’re fine. But this is assuming you 1.) Want the best jack output. 2.) Don’t want any of the features a Zune or iPod offers extra.

    That market is clearly very small and is even more pure opinion based than the one I was referring to. Which is the majority.

    Never once did I say iPod was the superior straight from jack audio player in terms of sound quality.

    I’ve been relating my needs and what the market has shown to want (a device that works easily with iTunes) this entire time. You’re the one who has been pushing back on this and basing the entire scenario on you and some others limited wants in a device.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Good lord you are stubborn.

    First I post some players that are clearly not ‘hopeless’ but you’re unable to admit there are other good options besides your u[

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    iPods are still the most popular devices in audiophile circles for the most part. Just take a trip over to Head-Fi.org and see what most people are using, iPods. From what I’ve seen those who have high regards for audio are not going from output jack straight to headphone/IEM. So they tend to purchase the device with the best experience.

    However, for that odd subset that wants a pure playback device with outstanding audio straight from jack… then there are other options. But that is a small subset.

    Besides a slightly superior sound quality straight from the jack the Cowon’s, Creative’s, iRiver’s, etc are still typically not found to have the best audio playback experience. You seem to disagree but I’ll side with the majority, be it in the mass market or the audiophile crowd.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    I added a bit to my post, reread it. It’s the rediculous broad and extreme comments that make you look like either a zealot or a fool.

    You also need to distinguish between multifunctionality and quality functionality. For those who don’t care about games and apps on their media player whether those things are possible is a non-issue, or for those who want the best audio output straight to a headphone <blank feature> might not matter. Having a device that does lots of shit doesn’t automatically make it have better functionality nor does it automatically make it better. Assuming that those things are added ‘for free’ is pretty foolish.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I pointed to the Zune as having the best hardware, and it does. I wouldn’t at all consider the best hardware to be a factor in quality though unless it was used to improve the user experience, which is what I believe makes a product quality or not.

    I’ve also stated that the iPods and Zunes have the best interfaces. Generally I would lean towards the Zunes. I’ve consistently placed both of those devices above the other products on the market.

    I’ve also consistently placed the iPod Touch above the other products on the market with functionality. I believe the Zune will also be up there (and the leader, potentially) if the games and application support is strong. The only exception would be if a user heavily valued having radio support in their device, in which case they would likely pick a different device (or as of now, simply wait for the Zune).

    I’ve also consistently said how important the desktop software is in the user experience. How iTunes and the Zune software are a key part to what makes using them superior to other devices. I’ve also consistently addressed that the iTunes software, in Windows too, performs better in my experience than the Zune software. The Zune software is still superior to every other software I’ve used (excepting iTunes) for media player management.

    I don’t see any issue here. I’ve been consistent. Bringing up points that have been addressed in another news post into this news post wouldn’t make any sense. Not everyone reads all of the posts. So being logical in my ranking and comments makes sense but bringing points out of the blue (another post) doesn’t.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    You are really all over the place in various posts in what makes something good or not. It seems to depend upon what you need to do in order to make an argument in a given post. One time it’s best hardware, another time it’s UI, another it’s multifunctionality, another time it’s…

    By quality I mean simply manufacturing quality and how good they are at doing what they do – ie play back media. Unless other stuff is utterly broken a quirky UI or what have you is not a big deal and *all* DAPs have some issue or another if one wants to find it. It’s rediculous broad and extreme sweeping statements like q[

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 13 years ago

    #1, too funny. so, you moved from Windows to OSX to be a rahrah ifanboy. LOL.

    #2, red, green, blue are available too.

    #8, Games: confirmed. Apps: coming later. More to reveal at launch date.

    #11, no SDHC expansion slot. Zii will get one

    #15, too late. mine says bazar since firmware/software 2.0 back in 2007.

    #13, WMA, AAC, MP3, WMA Lossless. Videos WMV and MP4 and media center format. Flash in the browser in development.

    #21, they will be releasing it worldwide on stages. How? I don’t know. but if you are in the UK, try these guys: §[<http://www.zunethings.co.uk<]§ Regards.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I’ve used Cowon players extensively. I use to recommend the D2 all the time. Certainly the product line and industry as a whole as moved on. But it seems you’re talking mainly about manufacturing quality and not quality of user experience. I find all the players to be about in line as far as manufacturing quality, hell for the most part they’re all made by the some companies.

    But… the D2 was a horrible interface. Incredibly bad to be honest. The new Cowon’s are MUCH better but they’re still not a leader in the pack. Nor are the iRiver players, and really Sony’s are not much better (Sony really hurt themselves with their new flagship having such a horrendous browser). The Sandisks are not either. The Creatives are not. Etc, etc.

    But, when it comes as a whole package. The entire quality of the experience there are two that stand out. The Zunes and the iPods. The interfaces on both of those devices are market leaders. The software that they come with does everything you could want from a media application with regard to using the device. Do you know how big of a pain it is to actively sync a non-Zune-or-iPod with podcasts? It’s an ugly one. Syncing movies, or whatever else is available on the Zune or iTune stores.

    Maybe you don’t need those features but the podcast one alone is enough for me to stick to a Zune or iPod. The bundled software or free solutions available online are inferior and painful to use in my experience.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Call them trained sheep, or maybe momentum sheep then. The latter probably best describes what people mean when they say ‘sheep’ in this context. Once there’s a certain sheep herd momentum it’s harder to break, marketers call this ‘stickiness’ and usually apply it to an individual but it applies to groupthink just as well.

    • Clint Torres
    • 13 years ago

    No it doesn’t…there’s no wood on it.

    • SPOOFE
    • 13 years ago

    /[

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    You see with marketing-derived blinders then. The quality Korean (Cowon, iRiver, others) and Sony DAPs serve as evidence that there are definitely other good DAPs out there. But that’s for people who want a portable DAP to, you know, mainly play Audio *gasp* as well as possible when they’re using it in a portable fashion or maybe some video with other functions way back in priority.

    iPod’s success is a blend of slick marketing and so easy a caveman can do it (Geico!) ‘ecology.’

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Really? Because besides the lack of features in the hard drive players and the Nano and Shuffle… the iPod Touch is far more feature complete besides this Zune HD.

    The quality and durability arguments don’t make a ton of sense to me either. I’ve never had a durability issue with any player I’ve used. Quality… well I don’t know where that claim comes from either. What are you talking about with quality? The Zune and iPods are the market leaders IMO. They’re simply better devices as a whole.

    I see two legitimate devices on the market. The Zune series and the iPods. Everything else is simply hopeless unless you’re wanting the cheapest player possible.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Really? You’re packing some $500 Shure’s or Ultimate Ears in your pocket? Because lossless formats are completely useless beyond archive purposes because *[

    • FireGryphon
    • 13 years ago

    Is it just me or would this device fit stylistically in the 1970’s?

    • coldpower27
    • 13 years ago

    FLAC support isn’t critical as they have their own version ALAC, so you can easily transcode your current FLAC files to that.

    • FubbHead
    • 13 years ago

    But one can hope.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 13 years ago

    You missed an important modifier in that sentence.

    • A_Pickle
    • 13 years ago

    I highly doubt this will forever be confined to the USA.

    • A_Pickle
    • 13 years ago

    Same here. Cowon FTW.

    • A_Pickle
    • 13 years ago

    Potentially. I do think that the success of the iPod has come from two things:
    1.) It’s hip and faddish to own an iPod, like, a real Apple-made one.
    2.) iTunes is an easy, capable media player to use AND buy your music from — it’s an excellent one-stop shop for EVERYTHING media on your computer.

    Even today, I’d argue that most non-Zune and non-iPod media players are just a bitch to use for the average Joe. I don’t mind using Windows Explorer to drag and drop my media files (in fact, I’d go so far as to say I prefer it), and the Windows Media Player (a featureless, non-responsive crapshoot) or Winamp (a complete clusterf**k of features) just don’t begin to approach the usability and coherence of iTunes. I really hate to admit it, but it’s true.

    So, there’s an element of stupidity and sheeple to the iPod’s success… but the iPod couldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t at least a decent product. I’d argue that it’s more than that, it’s a pretty good product (seriously, what other media player has contacts, txt file reading, etc?)

    • A_Pickle
    • 13 years ago

    g[

    • blubje
    • 13 years ago

    I would consider it if it played ogg and flac, but that will probably never happen.

    • xtalentx
    • 13 years ago

    I should have been more clear – I meant iPods ingeneral. Not just the touch. In my experience (I have owned over 20 mp3 players/pmps) and the iPod is almost always the most lacking of features, durability and quality.

    I believe if more people were more educated about other devices in the market and what those devices had to offer that Apple’s share would be much smaller.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    The new Touches will be out by the time this is actually available. This will have the OLED screen, the touch will have a camera and apps. The cost will be comparable. Will be interesting to see the side-by-side comparisons, especially in terms of usability and top-to-bottom user experience.

    Maybe they should rename “Marketplac” to “Bazaar” to fit it on the screen.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Because people who’ve had their Touches for over a year now were suppose to be waiting for this Zune HD the entire time? I’m sorry but that makes no sense at all. Up to this point the iPod Touch has EASILY been the best touch screen media player on the market. With the App store it still will be in many regards. There are valid complaints to be made about the device, certainly, but you didn’t make a single one.

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    what codec base does it support? do you still have to convert all videos to its format? also, will flash work in the browser?

    • SnowboardingTobi
    • 13 years ago

    I’m not sure what to think about the word “marketplace” not fitting within the screen. Seems sort of silly, but yet it doesn’t feel wrong either in an ‘artistic’ sense, if you know what I mean.

    • xtalentx
    • 13 years ago

    If I didn’t have (and love) my Cowon D2 I would buy the 32GB one in a heart beat!

    Based on specs alone this beats the Touch by a lot. If people were not such sheep apple would not have the strangle hold on the market they do.

    I digress though –

    I actually have a question about the Zune HD. I have researched specs and found a lot of info but cannot seem to find anything on if it offers a SD slot. 32GB for something that plays movies isn’t very much IMO unless you feel like shuffling movies back and forth between your PC and the Zune.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    I might be in for a gen 4 in about 2 years if they have 120GB for around the same price.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    Not sold outside the USA => marginal, worthless product for most people in the world.

    • funko
    • 13 years ago

    I’m in for one. I still listen to NPR, and local HD radio stations in my car to keep up to date with morning talk shows, music, and traffic. (weather is currently faster to retrieve on smartphones). The improvement in quality for HD radio for both FM and AM stations is a significant step up. No more noise showering my ears through my nice canalphones. But i dont think this unit has AM HD. oh well.

    The only downside I see compared to a iPod touch is the lack of apps and games. But what I gain is HD Radio, a portable HD media player (acts essentially as a Western Digital Media Player), and a nicer interface IMO. So i easily consider it a superior media device. Especially after watching my friends spend dozens of dollars on apps they only use for a month before they delete them or forget about them. Android’s apps serve that purpose for me! haha

    It’s also nice to whip out something different on the subway platforms here in NYC. Apple has become vanilla.

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    I like the brown ones. My sister had one, it looked brown because it was a green translucent case with a red inner. Then again, those that said otherwise didn’t own one.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 13 years ago

    What’s the battery life on these supposed to be like?

    • leor
    • 13 years ago

    what joke? there isn’t a brown one???

    • dmitriylm
    • 13 years ago

    I loved that joke three years ago!

    • Decelerate
    • 13 years ago

    Nice marketing strategy to set pre-orders for a device where the competing device revision is about to be released.

    Why are they not released yet though? It’s not like they’re going to make 10 million of those. Why risk having the selling period being overshadowed by an iPod announcement?

    The device looks decent, but the marketing department should be fired.

    • leor
    • 13 years ago

    I’m getting the brown one!

    • SGT Lindy
    • 13 years ago

    All 8 Zune owners, pre-order with in 24 yours and set a new Zune record.

    Nothing but Zunetastic!!!!!!

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