Microsoft Unveils Zune HD 2

Revamped music player features high-definition touch screen and built-in Wi-Fi.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

May 27, 2009

2 Min Read

Microsoft Zune HD
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft Zune HD

Microsoft has introduced a version of its Zune portable entertainment device that's capable of playing high-definition video and music files.

"Zune HD is the next iteration of the Zune device family and brings a new level of listening and viewing experiences to the portable media player category," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Zune HD combines a built-in HD radio receiver with high-def video output. It also features Wi-Fi capability, a Web browser, and an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen. The screen uses the 16:9 wide-format ratio with a resolution of 480 by 272 pixels.

"The Zune music player is an integral part of the Zune experience," said Enrique Rodriguez, VP for Microsoft's TV, video, and music business Group. Rodriguez said Microsoft's goal for Zune is to bring "cross-platform experiences and video content to living rooms around the world."

Microsoft said it plans to use its Xbox Live online gaming platform to help spur Zune sales, which significantly trail sales of Apple's iPod in the lucrative MP3 music market. Zune content will be prominently featured on the Xbox Live interface, and users will be able to download videos and songs for playback on the Zune.

Zune users also will be able to play back 720p HD content on high-definition televisions through an HDMI docking station.

Despite the bevy of new features Microsoft plans for the Zune, the efforts may not be sufficient to help the company close the gap with Apple. The iPod currently controls 86% of the MP3 player market, according to analysts at Piper Jaffray.

Microsoft said it plans to launch Zune HD in the fall. The company did not disclose pricing.

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About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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