Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Zune HD, Freeview and Windows 7 Media Center integration (Updated)

, posted: 3-Oct-2009 10:35

In recent days I've been reading about the frustration some have with the new WTV file format that Windows 7 Media Center uses. I was pleasantly surprised however when I tried to sync some TV programmes to my Zune HD so I could listen to or watch them while away from home.

So far I have tried synching 3 programmes from NZ's TV3 (all via Freeview) and they have been successfully coverted by the new Zune 4.0 media player/client. The only frustration at the moment is the time it takes for the Zune app to squeeze a 2gb+ TV programme down to an appropriate size for the Zune HD. I've found the best way is to leave it running overnight as it can take an hour or more. The ease of use of this capabilty certainly trumps trying to do something similar on the iPod or iPhone right now.

I have tested a TV programme broadcast in 1080i HD and this was also able to sync to the Zune and worked perfectly - and is automatically downsampled to your preferred resolution.

On a side note, if you have a Zune then the 'Zune Pass' is very cool and something worth trying out if you buy lots of music or have multiple Zunes in your house (A Zune Pass can work across up to 3 Zune devices as well as on 3 PCs and the Xbox). I was surprised how quickly I became addicted to unlimited legal downloads for a fixed subscription.

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Comment by freitasm, on 3-Oct-2009 11:13

Is available in New Zealand yet? I thought this was coming later this year, but not yet.

Author's note by paulspain, on 3-Oct-2009 11:20

No, is not released in NZ yet, but you can get access to, marketplace and subscription via a U.S. login even if you use it from outside the country (there are some limitations). The main portion that is super locked down is the video/TV marketplace which checks your IP address is U.S. based before you start downloading videos.

Comment by Paul, on 17-Oct-2009 19:01

Hi Paul. Do you know if Microsoft is going to provide ActiveSync connectivity to Excahnge server for Zune?

Author's note by paulspain, on 18-Oct-2009 22:32

I understand that a version of Outlook has been ported to the Zune, however I can't confirm if or when it will be released.