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Zune Mania!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by seg763, Nov 13, 2006.

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  1. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    How funny. I wonder if all the iPod haters that used "No Gapless, No Sale" as their rallying mantra will do the same to Zune?
  2. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    True...but a long time has passed since Apple's first iPod. Msoft have had years of engineering time...and plenty of real world models to compare, to get their first device perfect before it ever leaves the factory.
  3. Michael St. Clair

    Michael St. Clair Forum Resident

    I sure would. Not an iPod hater, though. I just refuse to buy portables that don't do gapless. I have two iPods right now. Zune is no option for me until they do gapless.
  4. Claude

    Claude Senior Member

    I don't understand why some people think the Zune will quickly outsell the iPod because Windows is so dominant on computers. The iPod works fine with Windows, iTunes is a well established download service, so why would anyone want to switch to the Zune just because it's from Microsoft? The Zune is cool, but it's not more innovative than the iPod.

    Only if Microsoft managed to bundle the Zune with Windows by offering some very interesting deals (lots of free Zune song downloads with the purchase of a Vista license or even a free Zune with the purchase of a Windows PC), they could reduce the market adavantage of the iPod+iTunes significantly, but it may create problems for Microsoft because of competition rules.

    What is good is that increased competition on the player and download service market will likely reduce prices.
  5. StereoFanOregon

    StereoFanOregon Forum Resident

    My apologies, I jumped the gun.

    Gapless playback is a nice feature for those so desiring it.

    A price war may just happen after Christmas, but don't look for more than $50. Apple just dropped the 30 gig from $299 to $249.

    Out of curiousity, were your AIFF files coming from iTunes or a CD? One thing some people forget is that files bought from iTunes show up as AIFF, even though in reality they are highly compressed and deserve a designation akin to mp3. I use the full cd file size AIFF. Until I received a cd player recently for review with a built-in DAC, I couldn't tell the difference. Interesting to note Stereophile said virtually the same thing, as did a writer for a highly respected online audio publication. I also use high quality interconnects to limit potential frequency loss.

    I fully expect Apple to reset the bar even higher with added software features by February, and hardware by April. Competition is a good thing!
  6. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    Let's go over these...

    1. Subscription service

    Most people do not like subscription services as is evidenced by relative lack of participation in them. Especialy after Microsoft's own PlaysForSure debacle, people will be more cautious than ever about paying for music that they will never own.

    2. Same download prices per song

    It remains to be seen if Microsoft will get the "exclusives" that iTunes gets regularly, or if their content team is up to the challenge. The one problem Microsoft faces immediately is winning back all of the customers they alienated by not supporting the tens of thousands of purchased PlaysForSure songs on the Zune. Those customers have been burned by MS and it will be interesting to see if they're willing to forgive.

    3. Native Windows software

    iTunes is native Windows software as well. Not sure what you meant here.

    4. Bigger, Higher resolution screen

    The screen is not higher resolution. It is exactly the same resolution as the iPod's screen. It is one diagonal inch larger, which means bigger pixels, which means less sharp of a picture. That may or may not be an issue for some folks. Not that it really matters anyway, since there's effectively no video content to play on it.

    5. Better earbuds

    As determined by who? And this really doesn't matter anyway as both devices support any earphones the customer wishes to use

    6. More durable construction

    Perhaps, but it sure is uglier. :)

    7. FM Radio

    A neat feature to be sure, but many many MP3 players have had it before Zune and it didn't help them sell.

    8. WiFi and future expandability

    This to me is where Microsoft dropped the ball big time. The current "Wi-Fi" implementation is seriously flawed and effectively useless. The "3-day, 3-play" restriction on content is ridiculous and far too restrictive to be useful. It remains to be seen how easily connections can be made, and how easily they can be blocked. I'm sure the last thing some people want is to have random Zuner's sending them songs when they don't want them.

    Also, no sync via Wi-Fi? No transmitting to other devices like SqueezeBox? No current ability to connect to the Internet or even to the MSN store?

    Sure, all of these things could be added in the future, but when you are trying to introduce a product into a mature market where there is a dominant and established market leader... well, your product had better be close to revolutionary. At the very least it had better have 2 or 3 killer features that the competition lacks. I don't see any of this with Zune. FM radio, a "bigger" screen (for which there's currently no purchaseable video content), and a horribly flawed "Wi-Fi" implementation leave the impression that the product is incomplete and is being rushed to market.

    I expect a small sales bump in the weeks after its release and then I fully expect it to flatline and join all of the other players in the fight for the "other" 20% of the market.

    We must not be looking in the same places then. CNN shredded it, PC World's review was lukewarm as was USA Today's. Fox news reported yesterday that first day sales were slow and the New York Times review was not kind either.
  7. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    I forgot this point:

    9. Price competitive

    For the device, yes. For the store..sort of. The fact that Microsoft is using "MS Points" instead of cash could be a little confusing (79 points = 99 cents and you have to buy points in blocks of $5), although it could open up the possibility to purchase tracks directly from the Zune itself, which would be a nifty feature for sure. Shame they couldn't get that feature ready for launch, that would really be a feature that Apple would be hard pressed to match.
  8. To put it simply, in any way both the iPod and the Zune are walkmans on steroids. They are meant to reproduce recorded music and/or multimedia content. I own a computer to reproduce and generate digital media (except SACDs, which I do not own any), a turntable to reproduce records, and a tape deck to reproduce and generate my recordings. Excuse me, but I don't get the "Market Share" thing. Remember, there are much more flies than humans in this planet. Do you notice what they eat or where they live? They also own the 80% of the "Market Share" of living beings. Do we have to imitate them? Think about it: you are paying hard earned money for enjoy to listening to music, not to worry on (every) Microsoft (product) gross incompatibilities...
  9. No, because most of them were Microsoft fanboys! ;)

    Present company excepted, of course. :)
  10. Actually, not quite right--the Zune's screen is 1/2 inch larger (not 1 inch) than the iPod's. Because it does not have more pixels, it is effectively a LOWER resolution screen.

    IMHO the Zune is too little, too late. Plus, it doesn't have the Apple cachet. It won't sell to the kids because it's not cool. It's just from plain-old-vanilla boring-as-heck Microsoft--it's your grandfather's mp3 player. Sorry Balmer, you missed the boat on this one.

    As usual, YMMV.
  11. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    Ah, thanks. Thought it had the full inch. ;)
  12. fjhuerta

    fjhuerta New Member

    México City
    There's one thing I truly hate about the iPod.


    I've grown to hate Quicktime and iTunes. I can't believe how bloated both programs are. I wish there was a way to use the iPod without iTunes - and that Apple didn't force me to install Quicktime if I ever try to use iTunes. It reminds me of Real software!

    I guess I'd like Zune, because it surely uses Windows Media Player... but I already have a nano, and it suits my needs just fine (except for the iTunes / Quicktime rant).
  13. boead

    boead New Member

    I asked/emailed around the office today and most (younger crowd) thought it (Zune) was very cool and think the iPod isn’t all that. Maybe it’s a NYC thing; it’s not cool when everyone has one.
    BTW: Most I’ve asked though the Brown Zune was WAY cool. I agree. I want a brown one in a leather case. I think the black Ipod is ugly as sin, I sort of like the white and the colors are just gay! Even my wife who LOVES pink said she thoguth the pink iPod looks stupid. Again, maybe it’s a New York thing.

    And before you assume anything we publish for the music and entertainment industries. All in all, fairly hip people that hang in lounges and clubs in Manhattan. The tiny SanDisk is popular; cell phones are very popular but iPods arnt’, maybe the nano but…

    But yeah, most of the Midwest, snot nose teens want so much to be ‘urban’ and haven’t the foggiest idea what that actually is and think the iPod = cool. It doesn’t! But it sure sells iPods I guess.

    I bought my iPod used from one of the people in my office that didn’t think it was so cool anymore and didn’t use it. – LOL, I got it cheap. I’d consider another used iPod but the screen is too tiny. The 3” diag display is about 30% larger then the iPod and I guess I was wrong but I was sure it had more resolution, apparently its sharper and brighter.

    But to each his own, enjoy your pods fan-boys. I’m thrilled there’s some competition, $250 for a DAP is stupid since I just bought my Boss an AMD 3600+ laptop with a 15.5” ultra bright display with WiFi and a DVD burner, 80GB hard drive and a half gig of RAM for $575. Oh and a FREE color printer/scanner/copier to boot! What a F’in joke! The Zune or iPod could (SHOULD) be $149 with a free 3month subscription to the music store.

    And remember what the MS people said early on. The Zune product brand does have WiFi, 3G network and VOP phone capability and they confirmed that the first one wasn’t going to have it – yet! They also said that the devices would be software updatable. We’ll see.

    I’m interested in a large display for photos (for my kids a stuff!), some video (*not all that important), large hard drive for music stuff and I* want it to have a phone with internet access and navigation maps.

    Whoever comes out with one first, wins my cash.
  14. boead

    boead New Member

    Yeah, me too!

    I bought QT7 pro and then I bought the QT MPEG2 plugin because you can’t play MPEG2 without it (that’s another $25) and the picture quality sucks! WinDVD5 or newer is much, MUCH better. So is WMP10 or WMP11. The only thing QT is good at is its native MPEG4.

    iTunes5, iTunes6 and now iTunes7 work poorly on Windows for the most part. I like its functionality and I own an iPod so I use it and I don’t dislike it but it doesn’t work well and eats up loads of system memory. Why? None of the other media players work that poorly? Well. Maybe Real player.

    Yup, until my iPods battery doesn’t take a charge any more it suits my needs too. But the battery is down to just a couple of hours now and the backlit doesn’t work and it locks up now and then.
  15. creativepart

    creativepart Forum Resident

    Microsoft doesn't even own www.zune.com. Their website is at www.zune.net. With all their billions they couldn't even buy zune.com?????
  16. factor

    factor Active Member

    Seattle, WA
    The tech press seems to be universally taking a giant dump on the Zune. I wouldn't buy one... but then again, I probably wouldn't buy any current HD-based players. Everyone I know who bought a player in 2003 or 2004 has been totally problem-free, but everyone I know who bought an iPod that was 4th gen or later has had lots of drive issues. I blame the fact that the newer, denser 1.8" HD's are simply too fragile to be tossed around.

    Flash players are another story. I wants me a Nano.

  17. boead

    boead New Member

    "... According to the founder and president of Microsoft, the company’s new entertainment product will soon be interoperable with Xbox 360 and the PC, using its wireless capabilities.

    It seems that Zune’s wireless connection, which allows users to share songs, photos and even short videos, is not enough. On Tuesday he said that Zune will soon be integrated with other platforms, including of course the up-coming Windows Vista and the Xbox gaming console.

    Gates said "We will take it even further by connecting the Zune to the Windows PC or Xbox," he said during the company's annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday. "There is a lot more coming there.

    The interoperability between Zune and Xbox 360 has been made available in advance. In October, MS released a software update for its famous gaming console, through the Xbox Live Marketplace service, explaining that the update will let the Xbox 360 stream music, pictures and video from a Zune device, and from the Zune software on a Windows PC. The Xbox 360 will also stream content from the new Windows Media Player 11 PC software.

    But don't expect to use Zune with Windows Media Player 11. A Microsoft representative confirmed that the new program isn't designed to work with the Zune device..."
  18. boead

    boead New Member


    "...I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation..."
    Wow, like president Bush, someone needs to write scripts for these guys and put up a teleprompter somewhere.

    Did you read the article? Its good. Thanks.
  19. Claude

    Claude Senior Member

    For what this anonymous comment is worth:


    Here's another article on the domain issue:

    Microsoft Misses Key Zune Domains
  20. Barry Wom

    Barry Wom New Member

    what is a zune?
  21. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    Yea a New York thing... like the iPods flying out of both Apple Stores and effecively every other person you pass on the sidewalk having an iPod.

    You and I must work in two completely different "New Yorks."

    Um, yea... insulting much? :sigh: Regardless of your assertion, iPod most certainly does = cool to most of the country. I'll keep a look out though for the first time a Zune appears in a 50 Cent video. :laugh:

    It's actually neither sharper nor brighter. It's impossible for it to be sharper with the same resolution spread over a larger area. The brightness appears to me to be the same between the two, but the Zune may appear brighter due to the slightly larger screen.

    Wow, can you discuss anything without insulting someone? I don't get it, does it make you feel better to insult someone that prefers a different product than you? Seems awfully immature.

    Which is all well and good, but if people decide to stay away from their product because it doesn't have those features at launch, then there may not be a customer base to upgrade.

    If Microsoft released this 4 years ago, it would have been an impressive offering and would certainly have competed with Apple strongly in the marketplace. But to enter the market this late and attempt to compete with an established leader with a product that effectively brings nothing compelling to the table is not a wise move. Microsoft already alienated a major portion of its potential user base by refusing to support PlaysForSure purchases on the Zune; I don't think they can afford to whittle their potential market down any further by offering a substandard product.
  22. fjhuerta

    fjhuerta New Member

    México City
    Forgot to add - yesterday I had lunch with a couple of people from Microsoft.

    They are pretty excited about the Zune. They mentioned their goal isn't really dethroning the Zune - but something way, way more ambitious. Apparently, they are trying to divide the things a computer is used for - media player, game machine, productivity toolbox - into simpler, more user friendly devices. The way I understood it, they'd rather sell you processing power and services over the Internet rather than a new PC and OS. At least that's their long term vision.

    The Zune is just another component of their strategy. I liked what I heard. It seems to be a very intriguing vision. They don't see Apple as their competition anymore... but Google.
  23. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    Check overstock.com
  24. boead

    boead New Member

    RicP you are a piece of work that I am not willing to study.

    Insulting? If your find what I say insulting, sorry. Snot-nose Midwesterner youths account for a very LARGE part of the country and it makes a strong point.

    Facts are facts, Apple fan boys like you annoying. You will believe what you want, dissect comments and take things out of context to prove some point that I’m not sure what is. Yes YOU are a fan boy. If your insulted when then, too bad! Deal with it and grow up.

    New York crowds? Well maybe the crowds you see are different then the ones I see – parallel universes? Do you work around youth? Or do you work in the financial district where people pick cloths off of manikins and out of LL Bean catalogs? What’s cool is what they are told IS cool. It’s the urban youth that MAKE things cool, hear today – gone tomorrow, finicky people.

    But lets not go on. Here is my usually response to YOU and a few other.
    “Yes you are right, I’m wrong” Whatever!

    “…Clearly, extra traffic from a muni Wi-Fi network—or any wireless network, for that matter (on Nov. 15, Microsoft announced it will provide search capabilities to Sprint Nextel (S) regular cellular users)—will be very welcome.
    It's not just online advertising that's at stake. Success with muni Wi-Fi could eventually translate into greater demand for Microsoft's new, Wi-Fi-enabled Zune music player (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/10/06, "Zune: Falling Down on Cool"). While the current version of the player only allows users to wirelessly share music with one another, future versions could allow them to download songs and make calls from Microsoft-enabled Wi-Fi hot spots, for example, differentiating Zune from the competition.
    The Redmond (Wash.) giant plans to complete its initial pilot program in Portland within just a few months, and then broaden its effort to more cities, according a Microsoft spokesperson…”
  25. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.


    Apparently you cannot have a discussion without resorting to insults, that's a shame.

    I work in Midtown BTW, for an entertainment Internet co. Which incidentally is filled with 22-27 year olds and dozens of college interns. Of the ones that have a portable music player, at least 80% of them have an iPod. I'll keep an eye out and let you know how many Zunes I see over the next few months.

    Incidentally, we all dress pretty cool, no mannequins or LL Bean catalogs to be seen around here! :laugh:

    And your quotes at the bottom of your post have nothing to do with Zune. They are a completely separate project that Microsoft is undertaking to provide public Wi-Fi content, completely independant of the Zune project.
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