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.

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95 Comments

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what? battery tested for video at 320x240 @ 500kbps??? that's not even close to the native resolution of the Zune (not to speak about image quality). Aren't they brave enough to test it at least at their native 480x272?

Not to mention battery life on audio, the iPod Touch lasts 36 hours with wi-fi *enabled*, and the Zune is 33 with wi-fi *disabled*. Clearly their subtle way to mask their performance numbers to match iPod ones.

btwt, did anyone notice that it's only 2-channel audio? how do they expect me to enjoy my HD movie with 90's stereo sound?

Fail, again.

First off, that's not the real battery life of the Touch. It is LUCKY to hit 20, maybe 22 hours with wifi DISABLED.

As for 2-channel audio, what, you expecting surround sound from your music now?

Read, please. 2-channel is for audio files only. If you get the AV dock and use HDMI, then they are obviously going to channel the sound through the HDMI.

WiFi is a massive drain on energy, with it on, its going to hit the touch and zune, really need to see if they can sort that.

I wonder if theres space enough for the zune and touch to operate in the same market

LiquidSolstice said,
Fail, again.

First off, that's not the real battery life of the Touch. It is LUCKY to hit 20, maybe 22 hours with wifi DISABLED.

As for 2-channel audio, what, you expecting surround sound from your music now?

Read, please. 2-channel is for audio files only. If you get the AV dock and use HDMI, then they are obviously going to channel the sound through the HDMI.


you have to get those audio channels out *from* your device, you don't transfer them raw from the HD video file.
That said, HDMI doesn't specify a number of audio channels to be used with it, it always depends on your decoder. you can have *up to* 8 channels, but it is not mandatory, you can get just 2 channels if that's what your device supports (example, AMD 780g chipset that outputs 2.1 LPCM audio)

I would like a player to play lossless WMA... I know this isn't needed for general use, but I'd like to be able to turn the computer off or whathaveyou once in a while.
Does any player have the ability to play lossless wma?

Um, so it can play m4v? Why can't the Xbox play DRM free m4v files from iTunes?

I am going to have to see this before I believe it.

I'm highly satistfied with the updated specs. I was contemplating getting an iPod touch when I heard about this device. So glad I never went through with it.

Anyone else see this at the bottom of the PDF?

Must be running Zune Software 4.0 on Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate, or Windows 7.


:)

(Before anyone gets riled up, the Vista/7 requirement is in reference to recorded TV shows from Media Center.)

GreyWolfSC said,
Anyone else see this at the bottom of the PDF?

:)

(Before anyone gets riled up, the Vista/7 requirement is in reference to recorded TV shows from Media Center.)

Woot, can't wait for Software 4.0 and the Zune HD. I may get mine through Zune Originals.

Caleo said,
Microsoft's site says: "Battery: Music, up to 24 hours (wireless off); video, up to 4 hours"

This is a typo, that Microsoft has acknowledged.

did you read the part where Microsoft sent an updated PDF to engadget... yeah, i'd trust that updated PDF and when you get your Zune HD, if you get one... direct frustrations toward MS

Owenw said,
This is a typo, that Microsoft has acknowledged.

I don't buy that.. if it were true, they would've corrected it by now.

Caleo said,
I don't buy that.. if it were true, they would've corrected it by now.


[3] Battery life was tested by Zune in August 2009 using preproduction hardware and device software. Battery tests are conducted with specific Zune units.


Clearly they sent out the older spec sheet. You don't have to buy it... I will, though.

well thanks for updating the title, would of been rather messed up if you hadn't oh and protip! if you want 33hours .... you're prob gonna have to have the screen saver on the device turned off and if you haven't seen the screen saver, its nice...

artfuldodga said,
well thanks for updating the title, would of been rather messed up if you hadn't

Lol, well, yes, I didn't want to start a riot.. :P

lol Even if the false specs were true, I still would have been happy with it. With the updated specs, I'm pretty impressed.

xiphi said,
lol Even if the false specs were true, I still would have been happy with it. With the updated specs, I'm pretty impressed.

Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and agree with you. In reality my iPod classic does less. and 8 hours is a long time. There's nowhere in NZ that you can bus (except maybe from Auckland to Christchurch) that would use 8 hours worth of battery

The nerve of Microsoft! And to think that all the tens of millions of people out there with their collections of .ogg files won't be able to play them on the Zune!

Oh wait..

HolyOne said,
The nerve of Microsoft! And to think that all the tens of millions of people out there with their collections of .ogg files won't be able to play them on the Zune!

Oh wait..


I didn't actually realise people still used OGG...

Deihmos said,
What the hell are those? Get my point...

FLAC is for super high quality music which won't actually seem much different compared to 1400kbps MP3 with the majority of headphones.

If you want high quality sound on your Zune you can use WMA Lossless. Size and quality wise there should be no differences with FLAC, and WMA Lossless actually takes less time to compress.

Owenw said,

I didn't actually realise people still used OGG...


Well it certainly isn't used enough to merit inclusion on a device like the Zune, hence the sarcasm in my post.

(snipped)

E.Fahd said,
If you want high quality sound on your Zune you can use WMA Lossless. Size and quality wise there should be no differences with FLAC, and WMA Lossless actually takes less time to compress. :)


That's what I was thinking... just re-rip your discs and convert what you've bought. WMA lossless is great!

The Teej said,
FLAC is for super high quality music which won't actually seem much different compared to 1400kbps MP3 with the majority of headphones.

So you didn't get Deihmos' point...

E.Fahd said,
If you want high quality sound on your Zune you can use WMA Lossless. Size and quality wise there should be no differences with FLAC, and WMA Lossless actually takes less time to compress. :)

Am I the only one that thinks this is about as stupid a comment yet here? I should not have to be forced to re rip my files because MS wants to force their format over one that is already available

HolyOne said,


Well it certainly isn't used enough to merit inclusion on a device like the Zune, hence the sarcasm in my post.

(snipped)

Lol, another of my articles.

HolyOne said,


Well it certainly isn't used enough to merit inclusion on a device like the Zune, hence the sarcasm in my post.

(snipped)


Hahaha, I've been thinking that for a while now. Thank you.

z0phi3l said,
Am I the only one that thinks this is about as stupid a comment yet here? I should not have to be forced to re rip my files because MS wants to force their format over one that is already available


Apple does the same thing. If you absolutely must have a device that supports OGG and FLAC, take a look at the Samsung P3. Seems all around decent to me.

HolyOne said,

Well it certainly isn't used enough to merit inclusion on a device like the Zune, hence the sarcasm in my post.


Wow, this sort of circular logic I have only seen once before, people arguing about the bible? You aren't religious are you?

And yes, someone who disagree with the love microsoft mindset must be a troll.

cakesy said,
Wow, this sort of circular logic I have only seen once before, people arguing about the bible? You aren't religious are you?

And yes, someone who disagree with the love microsoft mindset must be a troll.

No, but someone who posts negative comments on every Microsoft article might be.

Seriously, who cares about OGG and FLAC? Let's all get teary-eyed because MS (and Apple) doesn't support a format that is hardly used.

cakesy said,

Wow, this sort of circular logic I have only seen once before, people arguing about the bible? You aren't religious are you?

Easy with the religious thing. Intolerant much?
And yes, someone who disagree with the love microsoft mindset must be a troll.

Total fail.

You're mad that Microsoft is "forcing you" to use a format that no one uses on a player that no one owns yet and no one is making you buy it.

Please go get a life.

This has been updated :

(Video)

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) Part 2 video[4] – 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[4] – 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.

(Battery Life)

33 hours of life playing music with no wireless, up to 8.5 hours of video. 3 hours to charge from PC, 2 hours via AC adapter

E.Fahd said,
This has been updated :

(Video)

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) Part 2 video[4] � 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[4] � 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.

(Battery Life)

33 hours of life playing music with no wireless, up to 8.5 hours of video. 3 hours to charge from PC, 2 hours via AC adapter


Thanks for the tip, I saw the post on engadget and have updated it to reflect this.

artfuldodga said,
change your posts title too

To reflect the fact that people seem happier now, I'll update the title. BTW, I don't own an iPod...so...

Owenw said,
I think it's fine as it is :)

So, you think the updated specs are still disappointing? Where does Neowin get these people.

DId you read the part that said dock is required for 720P? Why on earth would you want 720P on such a small screen? Maybe you think it will make a difference...

giantpotato said,
Well it seems the Zune HD is incapable of playing video that is, well.....HD.

It is if you read the correct specs from Engagdet:

WMV/H264: 1280x720, 30fps, up to 14mbps video bitrate.

giantpotato said,
Well it seems the Zune HD is incapable of playing video that is, well.....HD.

It has been a well know fact since the Zune HD was revealed to the public that the "HD" merely means the capibility of playing HD movies through zune on a HDTV. Why are people soo surprised about this?

Also, the battery specs needs to be updates and the headline changed.

Vakerorokero said,
If Apple doesn't come up with something better in september's keynote, I'm getting one.

I hear they're just adding a camera to the nano, so just pre-order a Zune now.

giantpotato said,
Well it seems the Zune HD is incapable of playing video that is, well.....HD.

What it is capable of doing is downscaling 720p on the device. That means no reencoding.

You wouldn't be able to tell the difference on a screen this size anyway.

swatX said,
It has been a well know fact since the Zune HD was revealed to the public that the "HD" merely means the capibility of playing HD movies through zune on a HDTV. Why are people soo surprised about this?

Also, the battery specs needs to be updates and the headline changed.


Because it is confusing, when we already use HD to mean 720p in everything else (and really 1080p). It is if I called my laptop 100t windows, and it didn't have windows on it.

"Because it is confusing, when we already use HD to mean 720p in everything else (and really 1080p). It is if I called my laptop 100t windows, and it didn't have windows on it."

That is the stupidest comparison ive ever heard. Period.

The Zune DOES play HD files with no downscaling or transcoding? And do u really think that you could tell the difference on a 3inch screen anyways?? are u serious man??? Where you need HD - which is when u wanna play something on a huge screen - is there.

cakesy said,

Because it is confusing, when we already use HD to mean 720p in everything else (and really 1080p). It is if I called my laptop 100t windows, and it didn't have windows on it.

Errr. What? What's confusing about it? It does play HD.

Just not on a small screen? Use your head, maybe? Understand that HD is considered ####x720 pixels, and the Zune HD only goes up to 272?

Utterly retarded comment. Please refrain from doing so in the future.

What I find disapppointing is no xvid or divx support. I see nothing wrong with the video battery life at all. They seem very impressive to me...Most laptops can't even get 2 hours much less 4 hours.

To put it into perspective:

Zune 120GB
Battery: Music, up to 30 hours (wireless off); video, up to 4 hours
Charge time: 3 hours; 2 hours to 90 percent

Zune HD 32
Battery: Music, up to 24 hours (wireless off); video, up to 4 hours
Charge Time: 3 hours; 2 hours to 90 percent


In other words, it's not even an issue for me.

its 33 hours music playback, 8.5 hours video, 2 hours charge via AC, 3 from PC
Engadget used incorrect specs and so has Neowin

artfuldodga said,
i dont blame them, i do however blame them for keeping the headline for no apparent reason other than to confuse people


Looks like the've changed that too, now.

Mmmmm you better hold your horses, at least until the new ipod is out....the battery life is way too short, certainly a little dissapointment specially with all the expectation that zune has build up...nevertheless its going to be a good product.

jwil1 said,
Well, there goes any chance of me getting a Zune HD. Those battery life figures are really disappointing.

Great to see that it supports movie formats other than wmv, I have always found wmv to be inferior to everything else. Especially sound.

This could be a winner, if those new battery times are correct.

jwil1 said,
Well, there goes any chance of me getting a Zune HD. Those battery life figures are really disappointing.

So you're saying you actually listen to music longer than 33 hours? comon man!

33 hours is good enough for me. Heck, that's already long enough to survive the longest plane flight, or a typical flight if you mix in watching one movie.