September 15, 2009

Microsoft’s Updated Zune HD Available Only For US Consumers

Microsoft has unveiled its latest update to its digital music player the Zune in the U.S., BBC News reported.

The touch-screen Zune HD can download high-definition videos and uses a high-efficiency organic LED screen for a more enhanced display.

A separate docking station will also allow HD video to be streamed to a television.

Starting at $220 for the 16 GB version and $290 for 32 GB version, the Zune is currently only on sale in the U.S. and early indications suggest that Microsoft has no plans to sell the Zune HD outside the country.

Earlier this month, Microsoft stated that it would discontinue its earlier models of the Zune, which featured up to 120 GB of space.

A full web browser and wi-fi access for downloading are featured on the Zune HD.

The Zune Marketplace online storefront will offer downloads of standard and high-definition videos. Such video can also be "side-loaded" from a computer running the newly revamped Zune PC software.

A radio receiver for both analogue and digital radio are also a new feature for the Zune HD.

The device also sports a handful of applications and Microsoft said later in the year it would release a number of free applications such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as games.

The Zune HD's price is also markedly lower than Apple's selling price for its comparably-sized iPods. However, Apple lowered the U.S. price for its 32 GB iPod Touch from $399 to $299 last week.

The analysis firm NPD reported in June that iPods have about 73 percent of the digital music player market, with Zunes accounting for just 2 percent.


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