A place where love is kept in the dream.
Now available at retail stores
Published on November 15, 2006 By Corky_O In WinCustomize News

For those who do not want to be locked into Apple's proprietary hardware, 'Zune' devices have now been released to retail stores.

These look like very nice devices for music, pictures, and video. They are also reported to play nice with both Microsoft and Apple files.

I feel like I may regret purchasing an iPod, now that my freedom has been shown to be limited - but that is a personal issue.

You can read more by clicking the link below.

"Let music fill the air" - Grateful Dead.

Comments (Page 3)
on Nov 16, 2006
The only DAPs that do not require software are ones with Universal Mass Storage Device enabled.

its about time someone realized that...that is why there is no way in hell im planning to replace my samsung mp3 player with a ipod or zune anytime soon...
on Nov 16, 2006
DRM... compatability... bah!

I look at the Zune and all I see is another device designed for right-handed people. AS USUAL, southpaws get the shaft. Race, creed, color, gender, sexual preference, ...no problem. What's that? You're left-handed? Ah, you, sir, ...may DIE!


2500 left-handed people die each year using devices designed for right-handers....
on Nov 16, 2006
i am left handed so i am obligated to say...

on Nov 17, 2006
Save the Southpaws, save the world! ...or, err, something like that.
on Nov 17, 2006
I recently had a chance to check out the Zune at Target and I am not impressed. I realize it's new and firmware updates may improve it down the road. To really hit everyone the Zune needs to be easier on the pocketbook for me to consider it as a competitive upgrade over my Creative Zen 30GB. To be honest iPod's and Creative Zen's are the best overall for your money!
on Nov 18, 2006
1. Vista will support Zune when it's officially released. Microsoft stated that.

2. Video: the Zune software converts H.264 and MPEG-4 into WMV automatically. But, yes, the Zune will only play WMV

3. Music: the Zune can play UNPROTECTED WMA and AAC as well as it's own DRM WMA9.1 and MP3. The Zune software will automatically rip CDs in lossless WMA, WMA-DRM 9.1, or MP3 (so all you guys out there who are considering a Zune can burn their uncompatible music to CDs then rip them - kind of a hassle, but worth it I think)

I for one, will always use unprotected formats since the only major company who plays nice is Creative. I want choice in my media players - mp3 is the way to go.

4. the Zune is almost infinitely firmware upgradable. Microsoft already has one planned for late December or early January. Their adding features through firmware in the spring. So you can have the latest features without having to buy a new player (unless you just want to of course). They're already looking to expand the wifi to wirelessly sync to your PC and buy tracks and all that good stuff.

5. Microsoft did not intend for the Zune to be an "iPod killer". That's a moniker that some people have attached to it. MS is just starting something new. They don't intend to "beat" Apple at the media player game, just offer a different player with different features. Again, MS has stated that.

6. I don't think any one player is better than another (eventhough there are not so great ones out there). I like the Zune. It's comfortable to hold, no fingerprints, looks good, excellent UI, FM radio, better audio quality, and future releases (this is only gen 1). It fits me better than the iPod (the click-wheel's uncomfortable, just okay audio quality, the UI's not as smooth and easy, and the material isn't as durable as the Zune).

Every individual has their own features about a player that's important to them. The Zune will fit some people, the iPod others, and still others will fit other brands. They all have pros and cons (none of them are perfect, that's for sure!). My point is, look for a player that fits you, not one that fits a bunch of other people. You're the one that has to use it.
on Nov 25, 2006
Got a few points to do on the different comments.

On the iPod:
- The default firmware has always played and plays the following formats: MP3, Apple Lossless, MP4 (AAC), protected AAC from iTunes.
- Some devices also supports WAV playback and AIFF playback (with the exception of the shuffle if I remember well)
- The modern firmware plays Audible audiobooks.
- All iPods I know support files up to 48KHz 16 bits Stereo. Hence, a 192KHz 32bit float 5.1 file will not work.
- You can convert from Shorten or FLAC to Apple Lossless in one step with some software, or in two steps if you convert your Monkey Audio file to a WAV (or AIFF) and then back to Apple Lossless. That way, you preserve the perfect quality, and you have your files. Anyways, you can transcode as much as you want, it's lossless
- iPod doesn't have "another software" like the Zune. iPod uses and has always used iTunes for its contents management needs. All the songs were always managed by iTunes since version 1. What has changed in the latest version is the firmware upgrade and formatting of the iPod is now done directly onto iTunes, instead of being done through another piece of software. But in no way you need a special software to manage your songs in your iPod. That is in direct opposition with the Zune, that doesn't use the WMP'S library to handle its own needs, but uses another software.
- The audio quality for the iPod is quite irreprochable. Not only are there a lot of audiophile device that came out for the device, they also got featured in Stereophile for the sound quality, stating they are usually as good as very expensive pieces of equipment. What will hinder the quality is of course the MP3 first. Then, you can get a headphone amplifier, like the HeadRoom Cosmic if you have the dough, you will get an improvement. All these are doing is further amplifying the iPod's signal. That's it. To tell "it's better than the iPod" is possible, but then, you'd have to be a serious audiophile to see a better quality sound than that.

On the Zune, I'm absolutely no fan of the device itself. Bulky, less battery, some good things in the user interface but not as elegant as the iPod. Will not convert anyone using iTunes due to the songs already acquired that are not played by the Zune. Will not convert anyone using PlaysForSure due to the songs already acquired that are not played by the Zune. And until they have the critical mass, who will you Wi-Fi your songs to? Yourself? Even there, by not being even in the top 50 of Amazon's top sellers, you can tell it's not doing a dent in anyone's turf... so that critical mass will not be there for a long time. And if you transfer files to people in your household because many of you use the device, they probably have access to your song stash anyways. But then, it's still interesting as a device, a good exercise in style and we'll see. It might be a sleeper hit.

I would still suggest the much better Sandisk player if you want to have something good. The Sansa players are effectively of irreprochable quality, and like all Sandisk products, they are very cheap. More songs you can buy in eMusic or in CDs, less on the device. Very good players.

And about DRM, please support eMusic. No DRM at all, VBR MP3s more than 192Kbps (usually), It's nearing the second biggest online music store, and it MUST get there, hell, I'd take these over any other brand anytime. Only I'm stuck with iTunes for the major labels... and PlaysForSure's future is most definitely not guaranteed now that Microsoft has made its stance, so all the devices will need to find another way. Thanks to the Zune, I'd say iTunes has more bargaining power, as the 25% leftovers are still even more fragmented... not that I care, I got a iPod mini, but anyways. Maybe one day the big major labels (the evil goons) will understand eMusic is their alternative to iTMS and they will support DRM-less song downloads. That will be a major event.