Zune HD Specification sheet revealed

Microsoft has made available the specification sheet for the Zune HD, which explains the formats that the device can read and the approximated battery life of the device. The battery life for listening to music seems adequate but the battery life for watching videos seems very low.

The Zune HD will be able to read the following video formats:
"Windows Media Video (WMV) (.wmv) - Main and Simple Profile, CBR or VBR, up to 10.0 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). Advanced Profile up to L2, 1280x720 up to 30 frames per second, CBR or VBR, up to 14.0 Mbps peak video bitrate. Zune software will transcode HD WMV files above stated capabilities at device sync.

MPEG-4 (MP4/M4V) (.mp4) - Simple Profile up to 4.0 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). Zune software will transcode HD MPEG-4 files at device sync.

H.264 video Baseline Profile + bframes, up to 10 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). 1280x720 up to 30 frames per second, up to Level 3.1 and 14.0 Mbps peak video bitrate. Zune software will transcode HD WMV files above stated capabilities at device sync.."

720p playback will only come via an external dock connector—not that the 480 x 272 screen could display it anyway, or that it would matter on a device this size.

The battery life is only detailed as follows:
"Music, up to 24 hours (wireless off); video, up to 4 hours*".

An updated PDF file from Microsoft that says battery life actually lasts for:
"Music, up to 33 hours (wireless off); video, up to 8.5 hours" and will take "3 hours to charge from PC, 2 hours via AC adapter."

There is no word as to how long the battery will last while browsing the internet or playing radio. The video figure is concerning though, it's quite low - even with the updated specifications from Engadget, but mainly because that asterisk points down to "320 x 240 WMV9 500 Kbps" video—well below that maximum possible playback quality. It seems like the nVidia Tegra chips inside could be very power hungry.

Finally, the playable audio files are standard and straightforward:
Windows Media Audio Standard3 (WMA) (.wma): Up to 320 Kbps; constant bit rate (CBR) and variable bit rate (VBR) up to 48-kHz sample rate. WMA Pro 2-channel up to 384 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.
WMA Lossless

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) (.mp4, .m4a, .m4b, .mov) - .m4a and .m4b files without FairPlay DRM up to 320 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.

MP3 (.mp3) – Up to 320 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.

The Zune HD is the latest iteration of Microsoft's flagship portable media device and is due for release on the 15th September 2009, from Microsoft.

Update: Microsoft made a mistake on their own store website and has released a PDF file with the updated, correct specifications. This article has also been updated to reflect these specifications.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple planning keynote on September 7th; tablet a no show?

Next Story

Adobe CS5 on Mac to be Intel-only, Cocoa, 64-bit native

95 Comments - Add comment