Zune HD 4.5 firmware coming; 64GB models in the works?

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Engadget was able to get some information on the next firmware version for the Zune HD.  The next firmware versions, 4.5, will bring SmartDJ and added codec support for videos.  Microsoft said they will not be bringing DivX support to the ZuneHD, but they will be adding Xvid, which will be fully compatible with MPEG-4 part 2 Advanced Simple Profile.

The SmartDJ will work just like the iPod/iPhone’s Genius, searching for similar artists and songs for you to listen to.  Microsoft hasn’t announced any release date for the Zune HD 4.5 firmware, but it is coming.

Other news today about the Zune HD, was a slipup on the Zune website, which made a 64GB model link available, an un-announced new version of the Zune HD.  Currently, Microsoft only has the Zune HD available in 16GB and 32GB models, but a curious user noticed the addition of a 64GB model on the website.

Microsoft was quick to remove the link and option from the website.  There also wasn’t any mention if Microsoft plans to go internationally with the Zune HD.

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images courtesy of Engadget

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RealFduch said,

There ARE third-party apps. And I can create them myself without paying someone.

Stop spreading FUD.

I was going by the Wikipedia article on Zune HD games and apps, which only lists those by Microsoft. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zune_Games
The only list I've found of third party Zune HD games and apps is here: http://www.zuneclan.com/zuneHD-downloads-apps-games.php and there sure doesn't seem to be a lot there.

Better audio quality is very subjective, and how do you consider a smaller, lower res screen "better quality"?

Edited by roadwarrior, Mar 30 2010, 6:48pm :

It'll only be a matter of time before they offer a bigger 64GB version. But I have to wonder if the only difference will be the storage size or if they up the screen size as well? There was all that talk about a ZuneHD2 a few weeks ago.

tuxplorer said,
It should play DivX as well if the file is encoded using standard MPEG-4 ASP features or just the FourCC is changed to Xvid. I assume that Xvid support means AVI container will be supported. If not then this is just a gimmick.

Yes, AVI container is supported already in the Zune client, just not the ZuneHD device itself. There was a software update to the client a month or so ago. I've used the Zune software to stream xvid AVI TV series episodes to my Xbox360 as a test, and it worked without a problem.

As a developer, I'll just say that their current XNA plans have totally switched to Windows Phone 7 and exclude the ZuneHD entirely--just a few weeks ago they had the temerity to tell us to stick with XNA 3.1.

I had high hopes for the ZuneHD and was going to get one as soon as it's available internationally, but their stance totally put me off. It's really coming off as a half-hearted effort at this point.

_dandy_ said,
As a developer, I'll just say that their current XNA plans have totally switched to Windows Phone 7 and exclude the ZuneHD entirely--just a few weeks ago they had the temerity to tell us to stick with XNA 3.1.

I had high hopes for the ZuneHD and was going to get one as soon as it's available internationally, but their stance totally put me off. It's really coming off as a half-hearted effort at this point.

Because the hardware on WP7s devices compared to the ZuneHD at it's current state will be better? Last I checked the ZuneHD doesn't have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, or 512MB+ of RAM does it? It also doesn't fit into the screen res for WP7s phones since it's lower.

Now the cutoff is to do more with the fact that MS want's to keep WP7s consistant and the ZuneHD doesn't fit into that mold. Sure it sucks, but then there is talk of a new ZuneHD2 coming that will have the same hardware as the base WP7s devices will, that one will probably support XNA 4.0 I'd imagine.

GP007 said,
Because the hardware on WP7s devices compared to the ZuneHD at it's current state will be better? Last I checked the ZuneHD doesn't have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, or 512MB+ of RAM does it? It also doesn't fit into the screen res for WP7s phones since it's lower.

Now the cutoff is to do more with the fact that MS want's to keep WP7s consistant and the ZuneHD doesn't fit into that mold. Sure it sucks, but then there is talk of a new ZuneHD2 coming that will have the same hardware as the base WP7s devices will, that one will probably support XNA 4.0 I'd imagine.

Last time I checked, my Pentium II PC had 400 MHz CPU and 512 Mb RAM and outputs on 640x480 screen. It still runs XNA apps just fine.
Limitation for XNA4 is rather artificial.

GP007 said,

Because the hardware on WP7s devices compared to the ZuneHD at it's current state will be better? Last I checked the ZuneHD doesn't have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, or 512MB+ of RAM does it? It also doesn't fit into the screen res for WP7s phones since it's lower.

Now the cutoff is to do more with the fact that MS want's to keep WP7s consistant and the ZuneHD doesn't fit into that mold. Sure it sucks, but then there is talk of a new ZuneHD2 coming that will have the same hardware as the base WP7s devices will, that one will probably support XNA 4.0 I'd imagine.

While all true, I've always been a bit disappointed that XNA never allowed a developer to use the full potential of the devices. The Tegra has a lot of horsepower, but XNA 3.1 doesn't allow much direct access to the GPU. In the same vein, the network capabilities on the Zune 80 were capped to Zune to Zune communication in XNA. Why not allow web apps? I completely understand that it doesn't have the horsepower to stream Hulu. But what about pulling a 7 day forecast RSS feed down over the wifi? Microsoft's developer support here has been uncharactaristically lacking in direction.

RealFduch said,

Last time I checked, my Pentium II PC had 400 MHz CPU and 512 Mb RAM and outputs on 640x480 screen. It still runs XNA apps just fine.
Limitation for XNA4 is rather artificial.

While I agree that it's probably artificial, I point the hardware differences and the fact that MS doesn't want to fragment hardware as the reason behind it. That's what comes to my mind anyways.

Firethorne said,

While all true, I've always been a bit disappointed that XNA never allowed a developer to use the full potential of the devices. The Tegra has a lot of horsepower, but XNA 3.1 doesn't allow much direct access to the GPU. In the same vein, the network capabilities on the Zune 80 were capped to Zune to Zune communication in XNA. Why not allow web apps? I completely understand that it doesn't have the horsepower to stream Hulu. But what about pulling a 7 day forecast RSS feed down over the wifi? Microsoft's developer support here has been uncharactaristically lacking in direction.

I think they've held back on the ZuneHD developer stuff, or at least not pushed it strong becuase they've been hard at work on WP7s which is more of an extention to the Zune software/hardware as well.

If a ZuneHD2 is coming, it should get XNA 4.0 support, and over time MS will probably open up XNA/Silverlight more directly to hardware. You see them doing that now with SL4 and it's ability to access your webcam, mic and printer (and whatever else is in there). Moving forward I expect more and more hardware accass.

tcaffeine said,
and what about other countries ? why isn't available to them
zune should available to countries not just us,canada

It will be with every WP7s device that will be sold. As for standalone ZuneHDs, I dunno yet. Maybe if they do a ZuneHD2 that could go international. But if I get a WP7s device like I intend to, the need for a ZuneHD device itself is then basically zero.

GP007 said,

It will be with every WP7s device that will be sold. As for standalone ZuneHDs, I dunno yet. Maybe if they do a ZuneHD2 that could go international. But if I get a WP7s device like I intend to, the need for a ZuneHD device itself is then basically zero.


I want a stand alone Music player tho. I dont want my music player to run out of battery after one phone call.
Still hoping for a UK release.

tcaffeine said,
and what about other countries ? why isn't available to them
zune should available to countries not just us,canada

It's not even available in Canada.. it's only available in US.... but I believe the plan is all windows 7 phones will be Zune HDs as well... but the standalones not sure yet.. I really hope so because not everyone wants a smartphone... so I agree with GP.. maybe the Zune HD2

Probably because of licensing issues outside of the US for the Marketplace. It's a huge income source and to just sell the hardware without that probably isn't too attractive to do for MS and users lose out on content/features.

Hopefully they get this 'sorted' by the time WP7S gets released. Worldwide.

I'm still happy with my 16 GB model, though when that 64 GB one comes out I may buy that through the Zune originals. I actually looked at it and some of those designs are really cool, being able to change the Zune color is another huge plus.

Can't wait for the smart dj either, I'm going to abuse the heck out of it

ahhell said,
i just wish they released Audiosurf for the standard Zunes.
I friggin love that game!!

Doubt the graphics card on those Zunes can stand up to that.

satukoro said,
Now if only they would fix the internet issues and allow support for hidden networks

Ditto. I'm selling mine because of that (hidden networks) and the lack of apps. Bad move, MS, for people looking for both.

Edited by briangw, Mar 30 2010, 4:02pm :

briangw said,

Ditto. I'm selling mine because of that (hidden networks) and the lack of apps. Bad move, MS, for people looking for both.

I couldn't care less about apps, all I want is better internet access support.

When you can add podcast to playlists, I will buy one. Until then, I will stick to iPod. It is amazing how this concept escapes Microsoft.

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