Microsoft’s Zune HD Music Player
The new Microsoft Zune HD is so much more than just an MP3 player it puts all the others to shame and even die-hard iPod lovers are making the switch. When you see all of the features the Zune is loaded with you’ll wonder how they managed to pack them all in. But don’t worry, the Zune creators really outdid themselves this time. Let’s take a look at what’s inside.
The single most talked-about feature of the Zune is the ZunePass subscription service. For those of you who own an iPod then you know what a hassle it is buying music. You can only access the Apple store and everything is DRM protected. The ZunePass costs $15 per month and you can download 10 DRM-free audio files and you’ll have unlimited access to millions of songs. Listen to complete CDs or choose individual titles, organize playlists and tracks any way you like, and you can either stream your music or store it on your Zune. If you typically purchase more than 10 songs per month this is a tremendous feature.
Free HD Radio
The Zune has surprisingly robust HD radio reception and will even show you three separate signals coming from the same station. For example, some stations broadcast multiple programs on the same signal , news, classic rock, sports, etc. If all of those signals are within range they’ll show up as HD1, HD2, and HD3. Instead of only giving you access to the strongest signal, the Zune let’s you access anything within range.
Similar to Pandora, the Microsoft Zune HD features Smart DJ which allows you to select a song and then it pulls in more similar music for you to listen to and enjoy. If you also have the ZunePass subscription you can even choose where the music is pulled from , your own collection, the ZunePass selections or both.
Watch movies or televisions programs streamed directly to your Zune or store them for later viewing. The 480 X 272-pixel screen is OLED for crisp, clear images. Videos are automatically scaled to size. The bonus is , buy your videos once and you can view them on your Xbox360, your Zune or your PC.
Most people will want to compare the Zune to the iPod, but there really is no comparison. Sure you get a flashy looking website when you visit the Apple store but you’re limited in what you can buy and what you can do with it after you buy it. The Zune, on the other hand, offers such versatility, especially with the ZunePass. You can move your movies and music from your computer to the Zune to the Xbox and back again. And the access to HD radio is something that Apple doesn’t even offer.