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All posts tagged "xbox 360"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM


Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zune Branding Gone From New Xbox 360 Dashboard

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 07:00 PM


Paul Thurrot called out the elephant in the room: there's no trace of Zune branding anywhere that we can see on the new Xbox 360 dashboard design. It's simply "music" and "video" now. Frankly, that makes sense - it's a bit of nonsense that we need to go into the Zune interface to watch videos...

It seems pretty clear that the Zune as a device is dead, and as a service, it's on the way out. Quite a shame really...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The New Xbox 360 Dashboard with More Zune Goodness

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 11:05 AM


"I have had a chance to use the new Xbox Dashboard over the last week and the new Zune Music Marketplace has been by far my favorite. Docking your Zune to the TV worked but the UI was really awkward with that tiny remote. This solves everything as far as the 10 foot Zune experience in the living room. The Zune team has done a fantastic job with this and has really rounded out the 3 screen strategy for Zune Music. I will mention that this is all streaming and cloud based, you will need a Zune Pass to take advantage of this feature on Xbox. It will not connect to your PC or Home Server. It is unknown if or when that will happen, but for now, it is still a great addition to the Xbox."

An awesome overview video by my friend Grahm - there's lots of good stuff here, but guess what? It looks like it's mostly predicated on having a Zune Pass...which I still won't be able to get in Canada this year, and only some of Europe will be able to get. Sigh. Zune, you are so hard to root for right now!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Demo of the Kinect + Zune Integration

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 04:00 PM

Curious about how the Xbox 360 Zune software will work with the forthcoming Kinect accessory? Check out the video above - it looks pretty cool, all in all, but I was dismayed at how long it took the Zune software to start up - did they take notes from the Zune HD team on application load times? BA-DA-DA! Thanks, I'm here all week. Seriously though, I hope that's beta code, because the start up time shown in the video sucks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Has J Allard Left Microsoft?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 10:30 AM


"Over the past month or so, I've been asking around about Allard's whereabouts. One of my sources who has been a pretty reliable tipster in the past told me that Allard is on sabbatical and is unlikely to return to Microsoft. His name is still in the Global Address Book inside Microsoft, I hear, and his bio page is still unaltered on the Microsoft Corporate Web site, where he still is listed as Chief Experience Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Entertainment and Devices Division."

The rumour mill is saying that J Allard has left Microsoft - and possibly over the fate of the now-dead Courier project. If it's true that he left Microsoft, it bodes ill for the company. Products are rarely truly created by one person, but teams and divisions of people can certainly be inspired by one person. Microsoft isn't typically known for having very creative, boundary-pushing people working for them, but J Allard was both of those. If he's really gone, I truly wonder what the devices and entertainment division - which includes Windows Phone, Xbox, and Zune - is going to do.

[Silly side note: my one and only J Allard moment was when I walked past him going into a bathroom at the Microsoft campus, inside the old Zune team building...and he happened to have a broken arm in a cast at the time. Memories, meeeemories...]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Zune Video Marketplace and Other New Features Coming to Xbox 360's Everywhere on November 17th

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 05:00 PM


"The topic du jour was all about TV, but this morning at NewTeeVee Live - an industry conference that explores the future of television - Xbox LIVE general manager Marc Whitten confirmed the next wave of social entertainment is coming to Xbox LIVE on November 17. Starting next week, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and instant on HD video from Zune will be available on Xbox 360 consoles, transforming Xbox LIVE into the largest social network connected to the TV with exclusive features custom-designed for the living room."

November 17th is the big day when Zune comes to the Xbox 360! Engadget has some great videos that they've disabled embedding on, so you'll have to go over to their site to see them. One of the interesting features is the ability to watch a movie in a shared virtual environment - meaning you can have a "movie party" and have several online friends watch the same movie at the same time, and you can emote certain things - and talk - while the movie is going on. I don't know how often I'd want to do that - probably never - but it's a neat use of technology to bridge distances between friends. The videos in the Zune video marketplace are 1080p, and support "instant on" streaming. Myself, I'm most curious to see what will happen to the selection of movies - it's always been pretty poor in Canada, and we've never had TV shows for download. If you want to get great online video in Canada, iTunes is pretty much the only game. I hope this Xbox update changes that!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Zune Video on Xbox Live Reviewed Down Undah: Found To Be Not So Bad

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Media" @ 09:53 PM


"When the US [Gizmodo edition] reviewed the beta [of Zune Video on Xbox Live] yesterday, they were a bit harsh on the Zune marketplace. They said: “Not a whole lot to write home about yet besides 1080p streams”. But they come from a country where VOD is commonplace and easy to get — Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Amazon, TiVo… all let you watch your entertainment whenever you want. Here in Australia, we have iTunes, we have TiVo and we have Foxtel, but the truth is that the Zune Video Marketplace is a much easier and superior experience to both of those."

With all of the competition here in US, it's often easy to forget that even parts of the Western world don't have access to a wide range of quality VOD services. As compared to their brothers in the US edition, who found nothing particularly interesting in the Zune video-on-demand offering for Xbox Live, Gizmodo Australia was excited to report that the Smooth Streaming technology worked as advertised, and moreover that the service was easy to use. It seems like Zune Video is definitely a viable solution for those readers who are overseas and don't have access to maybe a Hulu or Amazon service. Hopefully we'll start to see some strong advances for those of us in the US too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Zune Video Service Coming to Xbox 360 in 18 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 12:01 PM

There were some rumblings about this last week, but today at E3 Microsoft has confirmed the details: Xbox owners will be able to access all the video content on the Zune Marketplace. Playback is enhanced by what Microsoft is calling "Smooth Streaming" - video playback starts very quickly at a low bit-rate, then ramps up in bit-rate for maximum quality. This means that, assuming you have a decently fast Internet connection, there shouldn't be much in the way of "Please Wait: Buffering" messages. The video pushed down the pipe are glorious 1080p, and will have 5.1 surround sound. I haven't ordered many movies off the Xbox Marketplace, but aren't they all in 720p? If so, this is a big jump in quality - nice! There's also going to be enhanced search functionality to make finding things easier - that's a good thing, because the Xbox Marketplace was a very manual affair, and now that the Zune Marketplace is going to be offering scads more content, being able to find it easily is important. Read more...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zune Software Coming to TVs?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 11:58 AM


"As for entertainment and television, Ballmer said there was a "real opportunity" for Microsoft to have or to provide software for a device that sits next to or in every television set. Specifically, he said that the company's Zune music software, which is already available on the PC and on the company's Zune music players, would be coming to the phone as well as the television."

It's a shame that no one bothered to ask Steve Ballmer exactly what he meant by this statement - we've heard rumours about the Zune software interface coming to Windows Mobile, but coming to television? That's the first I've heard of it. My guess, based on nothing more than a gut feeling, is that this is in reference to an Xbox 360 interface - a version of the Zune desktop software that's optimized for use on the Xbox. And I think it will be a welcome addition if they create it, because the "directory dump" method of displaying music that the Xbox 360 uses today is certainly quite simplistic.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Zune Wireless Remote Controls Your Xbox 360

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 01:00 PM


"Hope everyone had a great weekend. Me? Good. For those of you who went and got the Home A/V Pack or the Zune Wireless Remote and have an Xbox 360, here's a back door tip/trick. I actually learned this the other day from two of my buddies from the Zune team: Damon and Jeremy (what's up guys!). Check the video I made - thanks Jeremy for the camera work."

The video says it all - I don't think this is something I'd use personally, but it's fantastic to see that Microsoft made sure that their hardware worked well together.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Misunderstood Zune Upgrade Ability & Why I'm Still Excited...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:00 PM

Since launching this site and diving deep into everything about the Zune, I've noticed a repeating pattern over and over: Zune bloggers, and even Microsoft Zune staffers themselves, have touted the ability to upgrade the Zune as being some sort of amazing ability that other digital media players lack. I'm not sure where this comes from, but even Robert Scoble has fallen into the trap of thinking that this is somehow special. It's not. Every digital media player going back five years or more, has had the ability to be upgraded with new firmware. New firmware usually offers bug fixes, new features, or sometimes removes features (like Creative did with the new Zen Vision:M firmware update that removes FM radio recording).

I believe that confusion comes from people thinking that because the Zune has WiFi built in, that somehow the device will be able to perform stand-alone upgrades without needing to be connected to a PC. Nothing I've read to date indicates that will be possible out of the box - when there's a new firmware update available, you'll get it installed by connecting your Zune to your PC and downloading it with the Zune desktop client software. That's the way it works with the iPod, and that's the way it should work with other players as well, except most have such horrific desktop software clients that no one wants to install them. At best, the Zune has parity with the iPod in this regard: you'll connect your Zune to your PC, and the software will (presumably) inform you there's a new update for your Zune.

Now here's why I'm still excited about the Zune: for all of the frustration I feel about the massively limited WiFi capabilities, I believe firmly that the Zune will evolve more rapidly than any other digital media player on the market. Here's why: since the release of the Xbox 360 about a year ago, there have been three major updates. Read more...

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