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The Zune HD Video Versus Blu-ray Debate Continues

288w ago - I can't recall a new media format taking as much heat from consumers and the press as I have seen with Blu-ray... tagging it as an unneeded upgrade to DVD and too expensive.

While there may be some truth to one of those arguments, no one should doubt the superior picture and sound quality the format produces.

Sure you can get a DVD player that upscales, but doing that just isn't up to HD quality let alone 1080p. The bottom line in regards to Blu-ray is that it is the best format for Hi-Definition movies currently available.

However, the past few years have given rise to music, games, and software being mostly consumed through digital downloads. DVD's have been slow to fade away and Blu-ray keeps picking up steam. On the other hand, movies at this current moment are primarily still consumed through a physical media.

Netflix has really been the only leader in terms of pushing digital distribution of movies with their pioneering of streaming movies to PC and the Xbox 360.

So naturally it was of great interest to everyone when Microsoft announced Zune Video Service for the Xbox Live with the ability to display streamed movies at 1080p resolution and 5.1 surround...

Zune Video on Xbox Live Could Finish Blu-ray for HD Streaming

288w ago - Folks at E3 witnessed Microsoft instantly fast forward a streamed 1080p movie right at start up. But how could this be possible?

How can a streamed 1080p movie have instant access to every point of the movie? Doesn't it need to buffer that huge file? Could this be Blu-Ray's true competitor? Or perhaps the beginning of the end for Blu-Ray?

Let's face it, why can't Microsoft sell this same technology to other content distributors, such as Netflix. Or better yet, collaborate with them to create the biggest HD streaming option for consumers, while having the biggest movie library.

TQcast (linked above) recently interviewed Michael Wolf, Senior Marketing Manager at Microsoft, about the upcoming Zune Video on Xbox Live as follows:

Q: What is the name of the new HD streaming technology?

A: The name of the feature is Zune video on Xbox LIVE, which is built on top of Smooth Streaming. Smooth Streaming is a feature of IIS Media Services, a state-of-the-art video delivery platform which enables amazing high quality video experiences that are instant on.

Q: Exactly how is this 1080p HD experience working? 1080p video would be huge files, requiring large amounts of bandwidth, how will this work without buffering timeouts?

Widespread Device Failures, Microsoft Facing Red Ring of Zune?

317w ago - An as-yet unspecified number of Microsoft Zune 30s stopped working at exactly the same time across the US earlier this week.

Gizmodo reports that "the players began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless" and that the "crisis has been dubbed by Zune users 'Y2K9', due to the apparently synchronized faceplantings across the country."

A Gizmodo tipster explained that the Zune's appeared to "either reset, or were already off" and that "when turning on, the thing loads up and... freezes with a full loading bar... it seems everyone with a 30GB HDD model has had this happen to them."

Hundreds of others are already reporting similar Zune problems on the [Register or Login to view links] and on Zune [Register or Login to view links]. Microsoft is yet to comment on the problem. We'll be sure to bring you updates as they come in.

Zune 80 Secret Leaked!

377w ago - Have you wondered why the Zune 80 only has 1 color to choose from? Have you wondered if Microsoft is hiding some big secret for launch day? According to our source inside of Microsoft, this information is absolutely top secret. Well, it was until now. Here is the exact leak from our source verbatim:

"...but there is something that Microsoft is holding onto releasing information about until Tuesday. They have been keeping this info very secret, as they want to get the "bang" effect when it is announced.

There is going to be an option from the Zune website called "ZUNE ORIGINALS". People who order their zune from Zune.net, will have the added bonus of being able to customize their zune. This will include color, up to five lines of custom text, and the choice of 25 preset logos that they can have etched into their zune prior to
delivery. There will be no added cost, but it is only available through Zune.Net...

...I do believe that Microsoft will go Ape$h%t if this info gets out before V2 release on Tuesday"

Well there you have it, customized Zune 80's direct from Zune.net including colors, text, and etched logos. But please keep this a secret, the last thing we need is Microsoft going Ape$h%t on us. If you are skeptical of our source, take a look at some documents and codenames...

Old Zune users get ALL the new features!

382w ago - From Gizmodo:

"The first generation 30GB Zune–which 1.2 million of you already purchased–is getting all the new Zune's features. All. Sure, the new Zune is more of a half step forward than a completely new design. But Microsoft's done something fantastic here by rewarding first gen buyers with cool new stuff that also happens to be free by software upgrade. And talk about spin– Microsoft just took a middling jump in hardware and turned it into a genuinely good move for loyalists (as well as a PR miracle). Are you paying attention Apple?"
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