Zune -- What is it exactly and can I use it? Read my body of my post.

ComputerCamper
ComputerCamper used Ask the Experts™
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Hello. Can anyone tell me about Zune? I have heard about it and per Wikipedia:
"Zune is an entertainment platform and portable media player made by Microsoft". It further states, "The Zune entertainment software platform and supporting products designed and marketed by Microsoft include the Zune Software, the video component of Xbox 360, Zune devices, Microsoft Kin Phones, Windows Phone 7 devices, and the Zune website. The Zune Marketplace offers music, TV shows, movies, podcasts, and music videos.[7] The Zune Social is a service integrated with Xbox Live that allows users to manage friends, send messages, and compare music."

Okay, it gives me a basic idea that is like iTunes (which I have never used or know nothing about.)? I need to know how I can use it. I do not have any added hardware accessories except my desktop computer. I am running Windows 7 Pro. Is there any way I can use this with my current situation? What can it do for me *specifically*? It states, "media player"... ...can my Windows Media Player use it in any way?

I am just dumb to this whole "Zune" thing (I'm out of it, period to this form of technology.) and need to know how it works in greater detail. ...and what I have now for hardware, can I use it? Do I need special hardware as Wikipedia states "portable media player"? What kind? What are advantages of Zune and the disadvantages of Zune? Better than iTunes if it is related?  

Please reply.

Thank you!        
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Microsoft Network Administrator
Commented:
The Microsoft Zune has a few different models, so for the sake of keeping this response a little shorter, I will tell you what I know about the Zune HD. I own a 32GB model of the Zune HD.

The easiest way to think of the Zune, is as a competitor to the Ipod Touch.
The Zune allows you to play music, videos, view digital pictures, and to play some limited games.
It uses it's own software to connect to the player, and to load media onto the device. The software is also referred to as Zune. The Zune HD can play many formats of music (including the iTunes MP4 format) and can convert between the formats it supports.

The Zune HD can (when you purchase a Zune HD AV dock) play High Definition (720P) video, with output to your TV.

The Zune has wifi capability, and can connect to most wireless hotspots. Some enterprise connections are not supported yet. It comes with a built in browser for surfing the web. I've found the browser to be sufficient for anything I'd want to do online from the zune.  The small onscreen keyboard makes it less than ideal as a means of browsing the internet for more than a quick check of your email or Facebook status etc.

The Zune uses what is called a "marketplace" to get new software, or new music/videos. All of the Apps currently available for the Zune HD are free. The number of Apps currently available is small, however I don't use my Zune much for gaming, so it's not been a problem for me.

One of the features I like a lot about the Zune Marketplace, is the fact that you can "try" songs before buying them. They use a Zune Pass, which allows you to download and listen to songs, and you can choose to keep up to 10 of the songs per month. The zune pass costs $15 / month.

The Zune also has other features that I don't use as often, such as the HD radio. I've never had any issues with this, although I don't use it much.

Are there any specific questions you have about the Zune?

:o)

Bartender_1
Mike TomlinsonHigh School Computer Science, Computer Applications, Digital Design, and Mathematics Teacher
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
In a nutshell...it's a small, PORTABLE device that let's you listen to MP3s and/or watch videos using headphones.  Think of it like the old-school Sony Walkman but digital instead of analog with a cassette tape.

It connects to your computer via a supplied USB cable (you don't need anything new on your computer to use this) and then has it's own Zune software that manages your music/video library and allows you to transfer the files from your computer to the device.  You can also transfer music wirelessly if you have a wireless router.

Using the software you can "RIP" music from existing CDs you already have into MP3 files that can then be transferred to the device.  Additionally, you can purchase music online either thru the Zune software or thru other online stores such as iTunes or Amazon.com and transfer them as well.

I also have a Zune and I like it...BUT I got mine for FREE.  I purchased a separate docking station by Altec Lansing that my wife has on her nightstand so we can listen to music while going to sleep.  There are very FEW third-party accessories like this for the Zune which is kind of a shame.  If you want to be able to get lots of accessories like this then I recommend you get an Apple iPod product instead as the market is completely saturated with devices that can be found at any electronics store or at places like Target and Wal-mart.

Attached are two pictures...one of my Zune and the other of it docked in the player on the night-stand:
DSCI0203.JPG
DSCI0204.JPG
Mike TomlinsonHigh School Computer Science, Computer Applications, Digital Design, and Mathematics Teacher
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Wow...that first picture came out really fuzzy!...sorry!  =D
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Commented:
@ Bartender 1 & Idle Mind:

Hello. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WELL EXPLAINED INFORMATION!!! Both of you nicely complete my answer and I get a good overview of Zune. THANK YOU!!! I understand now that is like the equivalent to Apple's iPod, just Zune is for Microsoft. I understand now because even though I do not have one (iPod), I know about IPod, iPhone, and iPad since it is so popular. I am not a big supporter of Apple because I know Windows and Microsoft products and Office for so long. Now, I am not knocking them or being a troll because Apple does make a good product (I have used them at times too.), just my appreciation of all Microsoft when it comes to fully functional software operations like operating systems.

Microsoft has had its share of issues and will have issues in the future with new released products; it is bound to happen, look at the complications of products. Do we ever hear of Apple's issues? I sure they HAVE TO HAVE them TOO.  Why are they so secret, but when Microsoft has issues it is publically known and degraded in the public eye. What I do not like about Apple is that they are not too friendly with the average Joe who is a computer programmer or developer about sharing its code and having mom and pop Joe's create their own add-ons and programs unlike Microsoft that allows others to do things to enhance Windows out there. Apple is very strict about sharing unlike Microsoft. We always hear how proprietary Microsoft is from everyone out there and they don't listen to their user base, but I think they actually do and I really think Microsoft listens to its constituents better than what Apple allows and allows others to add or plug-in programs and applications into Windows more so than OS X.
 
Yes, Apple may have more options and more toys with their portables than Microsoft as you have noted because Microsoft has not looked down this road and focus on larger scale hardware software systems. I will give them a chance to go tiny.

Enough about my philosophies between Microsoft and Apple. I will definitely look more into Zune.
 
Could you share more about their websites with me regarding Zune’s “marketplace”. Yes, I can Google them, but I want you to give it/them to me so I have the right websites since Zune I am finding is so large on search results.
   
Please reply.

Thank you!    
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator
Commented:
The Zune Marketplace is available through their software, and from the Zune itself, not from a regular browser.

You can download the software and setup an account for free here:
http://www.zune.net/en-US/products/software/download/default.htm

Please note: if you do not live in the US, it is considerably more challenging to get access to the Zune Marketplace! There is no "official" support for the Zune Marketplace outside of the US.

I've attached a couple of pictures of the zune marketplace (from within the zune software) so you have an idea of what it looks like.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

:o)

Bartender_1

zune-marketplace1.JPG
zune-marketplace2.JPG
zune-marketplace3.JPG
zune-marketplace4.JPG
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator
Commented:
Oh, another thing I should mention is, I do not live in the US.(I live in Canada) So while access to Zune Marketplace is not officially supported from outside the US, it is not impossible to accomplish.

:o)

Bartender_1
Mike TomlinsonHigh School Computer Science, Computer Applications, Digital Design, and Mathematics Teacher
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
My Zune is an older version with a smaller screen so I don't really watch anything on it...it's more of a straight MP3 player with a nice screen for me.  Some of the newer Zunes have big screens that basically take up the entire front of the device and are touch driven instead of the circular "rocker" button like on mine.  If you go to YouTube and search for "Zune" I'm sure you'll be able to see lots of different models being demonstrated by people.
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS Liason
Most Valuable Expert 2012

Commented:
Idle_Mind,

How come you only have 4 fingers?...
Some horrific programming accident?
;-)

Jeff
untitled.JPG
Mike TomlinsonHigh School Computer Science, Computer Applications, Digital Design, and Mathematics Teacher
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
LMAO!  =D

Possibilities:
(1) A rival programmer had my left pinky whacked off in an effort to slow my typing speed.
(2) I'm really a cartoon character such as Mickey Mouse...or possibly related to the Hamburger Helper.
(3) My pinky finger is actually bent and behind...the Zune is resting on top of it.
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS Liason
Most Valuable Expert 2012

Commented:
;-)

Author

Commented:
Thanks. All my questions are answered. I will not close this thread.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!!

Author

Commented:
Thank you! Let it be noted that there is no one answer by one expert here. All expert comments that were applicable to my question are equal answers regardless how EE stipulates its reward policies. I had to choose an "accpeted solution" per EE, so I naturally selected the first post. All reward points are fairly distributed.

Again, thank you!!!  

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