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All posts tagged "zune marketplace"


Monday, September 20, 2010

Zune Marketplace Expands Elsewhere in the World - Sort Of

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 05:44 PM

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/...zuneintlpr.mspx

"REDMOND, Wash. - Sep. 20, 2010 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass music subscription service and enhanced features on Zune.net to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE. "The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings," said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. "Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it - and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers." "

No surprises here, except perhaps that Microsoft has failed to expand the world-wide reach of the Zune Pass as much as I'd hoped they would. I live in Canada and was hoping - no, expecting - to be able to get a Zune Pass to go along with my upcoming Windows Phone 7 purchase. Here are the highlights:

  • The Zune Pass is coming to the U.K., France, Italy and Spain - consumers in that country will get the full subscription package for £8.99 / €9.99. However - and this is a bit of an issue for some - there are no free 10 tracks per month.
  • Music purchase is available in the U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany - this means MP3s from the Zune Marketplace.
  • Video purchases from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Movie rentals from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Is that a confusing mess, or what? As a Canadian, I can buy videos from the Zune Marketplace, and rent them, but I can't buy music? Or can't get a Zune Pass for the Windows Phone 7 device I'm pretty sure Rogers is going to be launching here in the next 90 days? Ridiculous. And why can someone in Ireland rent a movie, but not buy one? The Germans will be able to purchase MP3s from the Zune Marketplace, but they can't get a Zune Pass? And my head will explode if I try to figure out who can do what with Xbox Live - I've been able to rent movies from Xbox Live for months, but I can't rent them or purchase them on my PC.

This not the unified vision I was hoping to see from Microsoft. This is a slapdash, fragmented effort that fails to deliver a solid entertainment experience to everyone in the countries Microsoft is supporting. Yeah, yeah, I know that this is complicated legal stuff, but if Apple can get it done, why can't Microsoft? I'm tired of having to use a loophole to purchase music from Amazon. I'm tired of iTunes being the only source for video purchases I have available. I was hoping Microsoft was going to deliver a solid solution here, and they haven't. It's no wonder Apple is kicking ass and taking names when this is the best their competition can do.

The glimmer of good news in all this is that there's finally a new release of the Zune desktop software; I hope they've added useful features and improved performance, both of which are sorely needed.

What's your take on this? Am I being too hard on Microsoft? Should I be patting them on the back for achieving a tiny fraction of the digital entertainment unity that Apple has been able to create?

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...


Monday, June 8, 2009

Xbox Live Purchases Listed in Local Currency Cost

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:14 AM

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/...ser-ratings.ars

"Meeting with Microsoft's Scott Austin to talk about Xbox Live, there was little expectation of sexy reveals or big news, and what we saw during the briefing wasn't flashy in any way. But there was still some really good news for Xbox 360 owners: Microsoft is getting set to update Xbox Live in a number of ways to make it easier to find and buy content. The big news is that games will be priced in your local currency, and you'll be able to buy with a credit card, bypassing the point system altogether. That's not all."

One of the things that really irritates some people about the Xbox Live system is the reliance on points for purchasing content - and because the Zune ecosystem is so closely tied to that of the Xbox, over on the Zune Market place points were the only choice for buying content. That's changing, at least on the Xbox side of things - purchases will be listed in local currency costs (that's dollars and cents) and you'll have the option to pay via a direct charge onto your credit card, or you can use points if you have them. That will be great for renting movies - it always ticked me off that I had to bust out an Xbox Points calculator to figure out how much an HD movie was really costing me.

Here's my hope: the Zune Marketplace will be able to transition over to a cash-based system rather than being reliant upon Xbox Live points. There are some people that absolutely loathe the points system, and if the Zune Marketplace can reach parity with iTunes and Amazon's MP3 store by charging dollars instead of points, I'll all for it.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Zune Video Service Coming to Xbox 360 in 18 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 12:01 PM

There were some rumblings about this last week, but today at E3 Microsoft has confirmed the details: Xbox owners will be able to access all the video content on the Zune Marketplace. Playback is enhanced by what Microsoft is calling "Smooth Streaming" - video playback starts very quickly at a low bit-rate, then ramps up in bit-rate for maximum quality. This means that, assuming you have a decently fast Internet connection, there shouldn't be much in the way of "Please Wait: Buffering" messages. The video pushed down the pipe are glorious 1080p, and will have 5.1 surround sound. I haven't ordered many movies off the Xbox Marketplace, but aren't they all in 720p? If so, this is a big jump in quality - nice! There's also going to be enhanced search functionality to make finding things easier - that's a good thing, because the Xbox Marketplace was a very manual affair, and now that the Zune Marketplace is going to be offering scads more content, being able to find it easily is important. Read more...


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