Zune HD Coming Out On September 15th, Already Available For Pre-Order


With so many rumors and speculations floating around, it’s time to organize the latest details we know about the coming release of the Zune HD. Apparently, according to a Gizmodo tipster, the official debut is now scheduled to September 15th (one week past September 8th). In addition, both Zune HD 16GB and 32GB models are already available for a pre-order in Amazon and Newegg, priced at $219.99 and $289.99, respectively (requires a $25 deposit).  From what we know, the player itself will be equipped with a tiny impressive on-screen keyboard that brings up a nice small arch graphic whenever you tap a letter, to distinguish it from its neighbors (See image after the break). Other than that, the internet browser is claimed to be an Opera one, but we can’t be 100% sure, yet. Meanwhile, until things get more clear (and there’s not much time left), checkout the latest hands-on video from CrunchGear, or the Grand Tour video (courtesy of Tech Flash Videos), featuring Brian Seitz of Microsoft’s Zune team demonstrates the Zune HD. Hit the jump, to read the updates.

zune-hd-colors

Update1: Microsoft has officially confirmed September 15th as release day. The Zune HD is also available for pre-order at Best Buy, Walmart, and the Microsoft Store.

Update2: While impatiently waiting for Zune HD to arrive, looks like Redmond will have it available for purchase in various new colors to choose from (besides the platinum flavor we’ve already acquainted with), including blue, lime green, and a red / maroon hue, which can additionally have one of Zune Originals’ 10 exclusive engraving designs at the back.

Update3: In case you were running out of patient, Zune’s HD specs are finally up, featuring a 3.3-inch 480 x 272 Multi-Touch OLED color display, 16:9 aspect ratio with scratch-resistant glass, paired with 802.11b/g WiFi connection (supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption), built-in FM/HD Radio, connector port, 3.5mm headphone jack, various video outputs, including Analog Audio Out, Optical Digital Audio Out and optional HDMI or Composite outputs (requires additional dock, sold separately). The battery can play your music up to 33 hours (wireless off), while video will run it down after 8.5 hours. Charging time: Approximately 3 hours when connected to your PC, or 2 hours via A/C adapter. Format wise, the Zune HD supports most of the common audio files, such as WMA, WMA Pro, WMA Lossless, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC-LC), m4a/m4b and also MP3 tracks. But with all due respect to audio, the real Zune HD star is the video, and with Nvidia Tegra built inside, Microsoft’s new monster can play as follows:

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, 1280×720 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). 1280×720 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.

Update4: And if you’ve already decided to buy the new Zune HD, checkout the third video we just added (courtesy of Gizmodo), showing how great it looks on any wide LCD screen. It seems the OSD was carefully designed for this purpose.

Update5: It wasn’t a kept secret, but now it’s official, Nvidia confirms that its Tegra processor will be powering the Zune HD, with eight different processors, assimilated inside, each one responsible for a specific task assignment, including an HD video processor, an audio processor, a graphics processor and two ARM cores – all working jointly and severally – NVIDIA nPower™ technology, which optimizes system power use and enables extended HD video and MP3 playback time. WOW, sounds like the new beast on the block.

zune-hd-on-screen-keyboard

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Nir Ben Yona Shein

Internet freak and technology geek; Aspiring screenwriter, devoted tech blogger & Technologer chief editor . Early adopter with a keen interest in gadgets, technology, internet and mobile.