Microsoft announced last month that it would be bringing its Zune entertainment distribution platform to several countries around the world in the coming months. It now appears that the service is very close to being officially released, and includes the UK and several other countries.
In fact the Zune service has been accessible in the UK since July, however this was not official nor were all areas and features of Zune accessible or functional.
Several people have reported that they are able to access music through their Xbox 360 in the UK when using the new dashboard update to the console. They have only been able to achieve this if they have a Zune Pass, either a trial or having bought the pass, on the same Windows Live ID as their Xbox Live Gamertag. It is thought that users in the UK are able to purchase a Zune Pass and stream as much music as they wish, but without it yet being officially supported it is not recommended.
Following this news it was discovered that the Zune Social has now come to more countries other than just the US. Next it was found that the music area of zune.net is semi populated with music which can be instantly streamed using any browser. Some images, music and playlists are not yet ready, but the design of the page is apparent. Before, users were greeted with a “not available in your region” message when trying to access the music page with zune.net set to the UK.
However some of the Zune features such as Podcasts and TV are still not available via zune.net with the page simply saying “not available in your region”.
It appears that the full Zune service will be going live imminently as all the infrastructure and content appears to be in place.
The Zune platform will allow people to purchase and/or watch films and TV shows and listen to music on their TVs, on their PCs or their Windows Phone 7 devices. One key feature of Zune is its music subscription, Zune Pass, which enables people to listen to any of the 8 million songs in the library on any of the above devices or also through any web browser.
Zune will be a highly featured aspect of Windows Phone 7, both through the functionality on the devices and through the PC software required to sync with the mobiles devices. Microsoft will be releasing a new version of the Zune PC Software when the phones are released.