Zune HD Pamphlet#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

I have received quite a few tweets and emails pertaining to the Zune HD Pamphlet that was handed out at Best Buy during the Zune HD Best Buy Event (even more since it was posted on Engadget).

One thing I noticed was how similar the pamphlet size was to the box on the demo table and just assume it is one that will be included in the box as an accessory up-sell to inform users of the available accessories and services available to the Zune HD. A video and few pictures on the internet have confirmed this.

The Front – Zune Everywhere

Front of Zune HD Pamphlet

explore beyond music at zune marketplace

Zune HD Front 1

(The upper left corner)

Access Zune Marketplace from your Zune software. Easily find music, HD movies, TV shows & podcasts from millions of selections. Explore new and more music with Mixview & other unique discovery features.

This got a lot of people excited- seeing HD movies available for download. I wonder if Mixview will apply to videos as well - Kind of how Netflix does their movie referrals based on your ratings of movies. This may or may not be the new Zune 4 software or it could be an aspect of it. It looks very much akin to the Xbox 360 Zune Video Marketplace that was demoed earlier this year. Hopefully the same ease of use, UX, and nice graphics will carry over.

simplify your life with zune software

Zune HD Front 2

(lower left)

Zune software smartly organizes your collection exactly how you like it. Browse Zune Marketplace for music videos,& more. Get all your favorite music & recommendations right up front with QuickPlay.

This seems the same as the current Zune 3.0 desktop client. I wonder if there will be some integration of song PINs, New, and History on the desktop client as there is on the Zune HD, so you will have a similar experience when you are experiencing music on your desktop software client. What they really need is a Mac OSX client that will help transition those from iTunes and iPods and those that use Macs that don’t want to run a Virtual PC session in Fusion, BootCamp, or Parallels just to sync their Zune.

Zune HD Front 3

(Underneath the Zune)

HD Radio & HD –compatible video. Multi-Touch-navigation is a breeze.Surf the web & download music from Wi-Fi hotspots.

The current Zune needs configuration of Wi-Fi hotspots via the desktop client to enter any keys,pass phrases, etc. Now that the Zune HD has browser support it can easily jump on public Wi-Fi hotspots that require proxies and passwords. Older version will probably have to look at using the desktop software unless a software update includes a keyboard.

connect with music and more on zune.net

Zune HD Front 4

(middle right)

Log into Zune music universe from a web browser. Stream music & podcasts. Check your inbox & see what everyone’s playing in the Social.

Pretty much the same currently on the web client.I wonder if there will be some UI enhancements and some Silverlight or similar interfaces as seen on the Xbox 360.

expand your entertainment with Xbox 360

Zune HD Front 5

(Upper Right)

Buy movies & TV shows and playback on your TV, PC or Zune player. Get smooth HD video streaming from Zune on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Play music from your Zune player on Xbox 360 while you game.

This is the integration between the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and Zune Marketplace in regards to video which was announced at E3 09 this June that the video on the Xbox 360 will fall under the Zune brand and Marketplace. Note on the Xbox 360 it will get 1080P movies in 5.1 surround sound. The Zune will get 720P movies down-converted to fit on the screen, but will still have 5.1 surround sound support. Looks like MS is finally aligning their services together and got all the legal matters settled with the content providers allowing them licensing on the Zune and hopefully other devices as Zune as a service evolves. The music while you play was always there and the Xbox 360 supports other sources for music as well including iPod.

Zune Pass enjoy unlimited music for one low monthly fee

Zune HD Front 6

(lower right)

Download as much music as you like. Keep your favorites with 10 song credits per month. Use you Zune Pass with up to 3 different players & PCs. Try a 14-day Zune Pass @zune.net/free

Still a good deal. It might be better if they throw a free movie every other month as well - I am just sayin’ :) Here I would love to see some interface with other services that are out there that are now supported on the Xbox 360 like Last FM and Pandora support with the ability of adding songs that are streaming from these services to “my favorites” or “pins” and for purchase via the Zune Marketplace.This would also be great for other devices that support the Zune Marketplace like Sonos, which already has these partnerships. Hopefully this is in the works.

The Back – All the Accessories You Need

Back of Zune HD Pamphlet

These are the accessories available at www.zune.net/accessories

Zune Premium Car Pack

Zune Premium Car Pack

Charge and Play music, podcasts & HD Radio stations from your Zune HD player while you drive. FM transmitter / car charger auto seeks the best available frequency on your car stereo. 

From Microsoft Store ($79.99):

Charge and play music, podcasts, and HD RadioTM from your Zune HD player while you drive. FM transmitter/car charger auto-seeks the best available frequency on your car stereo. USB port allows you to charge a second Zune player simultaneously.

  • Includes FM Transmitter/Charger.
  • Compatible with all Zune players.

This looks like V3 of the Car Pack aka FM modulator for the Zune. It looks much smaller than the previous versions, but I want to know will work better? The two previous versions have incrementally gotten better, but still how do you say? - suck. I don’t know if it has to do with the new FCC regulations for FM transmitters that Satellite radios had to deal with recently for being “too strong” or just poor design. I have an older Griffin iTrip that works fine, but doesn’t charge the Zune. The new Car Pack has the tuning LED display in the Zune connector with what looks like two Preset buttons above the display like the last version. There is also an additional USB port for charge another USB based device like your phone. There also appears to be a hole under the cable connector. I wonder if that is an additional AUX 3.5mm input or antenna for the HD Radio?

Zune Charge Pack

Zune Charge Pack

The Zune AC Adapter will quickly recharge your Zune player up to 70% within an hour. Folding blades make it easier to travel with. use The included USB cable to sync with your PC.

From Microsoft Store ($29.99):

Includes AC adapter and USB cable.
Compatible with: Zune HD (32 & 16), Zune 120, Zune 80, Zune 16, Zune 8, Zune 4.

About time faster charge and folding blades make it more travel friendly. It also looks thinner with the USB port on the side. It looks like the small USB wall-wart charger that comes with the Aliph Jawbone II and Prime and can easily fit into a crowded outlet strip. It looks like it will easily fit in ones gear bag or pocket. Specs don’t list the Zune 30GB, but I am sure it will work fine.

Zune HD,AV & Power Pack

Zune HD AV & Power Pack

Connect your docked Zune HD with the A/V cable to your home audio system to play music and HD Radio stations. The HDMI cable connects your docked Zune HD with your HDTV so you can view movies & videos. Zune AC Adapter included. (Dock sold separately)

From Microsoft Store ($49.99):

Includes AC adapter, HDMI cable, and AV output cable.
Compatible with: Zune HD (32 & 16), Zune 120, Zune 80, Zune 16, Zune 8, Zune 4.

This cable was on display during the Best Buy demos Hooked up to the AV Dock.

Zune Sync Dock (not shown in pamphlet)

Zune Sync Dock

Connect with your PC and sync all your content while you charge your Zune player. Wireless remote included.

From Microsoft Store ($49.99):

Includes dock, three inserts (one for each Zune model), wireless remote, and AC adapter.
Compatible with: Zune HD (32 & 16), Zune 120, Zune 80, Zune 16, Zune 8, and Zune 4.

This isn’t shown in the pamphlet, but I would assume it would be the same as the AV Dock, since it comes with a remote control, but it looks like it’s designed for the desktop only to connect your computer. I am hoping that it also has audio out and maybe composite video(yellow RCA) I am confused on this one without a picture, one can only speculate that this dock will be backwards compatible with the older Zunes and support the new Zune HD. Looks like the 30GB Zune will be left out of this one like with the Zune AV Dock unless there are different docking options like the ones offered in the iHome accessories and wonder if no adapter inserted would accept the 30GB Zune. It would be nice if this dock allowed you to charge your Zune and play audio out to PC speakers when connected to a PC when the play button is pressed instead of default synching.

Zune HD & AV Dock

Zune HD AV Dock

This all-in-one package enables Zune HD to charge,snc & play HD videos on supported HDTVs. Send music and HD Radio content to your home audio system and control it all via wireless remote.

From the Microsoft Store ($89.99):

This all-in-one package enables your Zune HD player to charge, sync, and play supported 720p HD videos on your HDTV. Send music and HD RadioTM to your home audio system and control it all via a wireless remote.
Includes dock, three inserts (one for each Zune model), wireless remote, AC adapter, HDMI cable, and AV output cable. Zune HD player sold separately.
Compatible with: Zune HD (32 & 16), Zune 120, Zune 80, Zune 16, Zune 8, and Zune 4.

As said in the text this is the all in one AV pack needed to show video on an external display/TV. If you notice in this picture it shows the Zune Charge Pack with the AC blades folded – showing a nice compact block. The cable length is fairly bulky to carry and one would hope there was some way to contain the octopus of cables like a bag or something.

Zune HD AV Back

(Photo Courtesy of Gizmodo)

The back is the business end of the dock with a thin wire that looked like an antenna and a hardwired cable and connectors for both the tri-3.5mm AV jack that has your standard Composite video (yellow) and stereo audio(red and white), optical out and HDMI out. 

Zune HD AV remote

(Photo Courtesy of Gizmodo)

The remote control is different from the ones previous in that there are more buttons. One at the top simulates the D-pad with left,right,up,down and middle select. Beneath that are two thin rectangular buttons the back and Home keys and below them are the media buttons- Volume Up and Down, Next and Previous track and Play/Pause.

Zune HD AV Box

If you are wondering what the product boxes may look like. The images on the back of the pamphlet look to match up with what was on the Zune HD & AV Dock box that was demoed at Best Buy. ;)

Hope that answers most of your questions. If not feel free to comment below.

08/29/2009 03:48:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Zune HD Best Buy Event#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Well we had some errands to run as a family is the per usual and my daughter read about the new Zune HD Best Buy events and saw Boston was one of the chosen few areas. So we pulled up the PDF off of the Best Buy website and headed to Framingham. The display was right at the front of the store for Demos this is a premium real estate with a lot of foot traffic, a small crowd was already gathered when we arrived and jumped into the demo and fondled some mock up models that were being passed around.

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Zune HD Hardware

The ID (Industrial Design) of the Zune is really cool mainly due to the addition of the OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology lending to its svelte thin size. This device is really thin! My daughter placed the mockup being passed around next to an iPod Touch for size comparison and when placed next to an 8GB Flash Zune (sorry I don’t have a picture for comparison my oldest wanted to go look at all the phones) The weight we were told was the same as two of the mockups together, very light and barely noticeable in one’s pocket (So be sure to check you pockets before doing a wash!).

  • To power on the device you press the power on at the top of the device. My daughter asked how you lock the device and I believe the person giving the demo said you press the button to lock the screen and press and hold the power button to turn the device all the way off and on. There is a lock screen like many phones and DMP (Digital Media Players) have that can have a PIN to keep people off of your Zune. The lock screen image is the same as your background image which is selected from images on your Zune like on the current Zune.
  • Pressing the button on the upper left-hand side toggles the transition interface that has both volume up and down controls as well as Play/Pause in the center and previous track on the left and next track on the right, which the current Directional-Pad/Squircal does now, with a large text read out of the volume great for those over 40. Pressing the transition button on the side will bring you back to the screen you were previously on.
  • On that same side one of my daughters noticed the Hello from Seattle that used to be on the back of the Zune.
  • The back of the Zune has two beveled edges for a nice comfortable grip in ones hands no matter what you hand size and it’s held together by 4 Tri-Wing screws that are found on some of the previous Zunes.
  • The Home button does just that, brings you all the way back to the Home interface, much like pressing and holding the back button on previous Zunes. That’s it for buttons on the device the rest of the interface done via the beautiful touch screen with a swipe in the back direction to bring you back.
  • The accelerometer automatically shifts the screen from landscape to portrait mode depending on the orientation of the Zune.
  • HD Radio is added that allows you to listen to HD enabled radio stations, much like OTA (Over The Air) HD TV where you have many HD options on one main frequency via the headphones doubling as the antenna. HD stations are indicated with an HD text
  • On the bottom of the Zune HD is your headphone jack(no headphones where shown at this event) and the same Zune connector so if you have old Zune accessories and cables they will work with the new Zune HD.

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User Interface

UI Elements you have the standard:

  • Music
  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Radio (FM and HD)
  • Marketplace
  • Social
  • Podcasts
  • Settings

Removed from the menu is Games (which used to reside between Podcasts and Settings). Squeezed in between Podcasts and Settings is the Internet, which is an internet browser that wasn’t shown at the demo due to some changes that might occur. Also not demoed was the Marketplace, which was revealed on the internet in another BestBuy demo that there is an Apps and Music listing. At our store we were told that Microsoft gave specific directions that no one was to see some of the unfinished portions of the software, because they haven’t been finalized yet and didn’t want to give the public a false information – those being the Internet browser and Marketplace. MS also requested that no one, but the person doing the demo could touch the device. So we all got to touch and fondle plastic mockups, which are generally sent to accessory manufacturers so they can make cases, docks, etc. Back to the UI. When asked if the current Zune devices will receive updates, he said yes, but it won’t have all the features of the Zune HD and wouldn’t go any further. I am assuming this means the basic menu structure will be changed reflective of the new offering in the Zune Marketplace, but it wasn’t clear if the new sidebar UI would be there.

New UI on the side under the Standard UI are really cool shortcuts to get you to your media quicker.

You have Pins, which are songs and playlists that you can drag and pin to the UI great for favorites or favorites at the moment. You also have a History that allows you to not only look at songs, but radio, videos, pictures, and media last viewed. Also added is a New category. Something which is really cool if you have a Zune Pass or you just downloaded a new song, video, podcast, to the device and you want to get to it quickly you can find it listed under here.

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During playback you have the same series of artist pictures that are shown in the desktop software as well as access to the Artists bio. You also get the same cool animations that In regards to new software that not only works on the Zune screen, but can also be displayed in party mode via the Zune HD & AV Dock. It kind of reminded me of liner notes on vinyl, cassettes, and CDs - I used to read when listening to their music. I would love to see the addition of lyrics here as an option in the Zune software. I asked how large the pictures and information were for each artist and our demonstrator said a few kilobytes and I asked if there was an option to toggle this on or off on the Zune desktop software and thinks there is an option, but wasn’t a 100% sure.

The Zune HD & AV Dock shares the same connector as the previous Zunes, but the ole 30GB Zune won’t fit into the slot. The dock had a few issues displaying via the HDMI cable, probably due to scan and resolution switches that the Samsung LCD television couldn’t detect - (our television at home has similar issues synching when video sources change when played through our receiver like switching from Xbox Dashboard to playing a DVD-a quick turn off and on usually reestablishes synch). Our Demo person was able to get it to work once and showed an HD video of the next series of Heroes that was shown at ComiCon09 He ran most of the other demos showing off the UI and playback via the composite connection.

HD Video (720p) is actually compressed and reduced in size to the resolution of to save space on the Zune HD otherwise you would only be able to store a handful of HD videos. Playback supports 720p HD video files play on the player, downscaled to fit the screen at 480 x 272 - not at full HD resolution.

I asked about Media Center synchronization of recorded television and the demo rep wasn’t sure.

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Overall we were impressed with the Zune HD. It was much nicer than I had expected and it was smaller than the iPod Touch, which is pretty remarkable considering it has some great ID. The UI and side-by-side comparison makes the current iPod Touch look very dated. As the iPod starts to move away from Media, it appears Microsoft is focusing on media first and add-ons like apps, games, and internet – (with social media Twitter and Facebook which the Zune is all about sharing media) second, while not losing sight of what is important to the consumer. It does seem to come a bit late especially the Zune video store and merge with Xbox Live. To gain true market share MS really needs an OSX version of the Zune software and the ability to sell media and Zunes in Europe, the Pacific and Asia even if it is in baby steps.

My kids who are current Zune owners – 1 30 GB Zune, 1 8GB Zune, and 1 4GB Zune wanted the new Zune HD for Christmas, but missed the games that were present on their current Zunes. My wife who loves her Sansa Clip even wants one (in green). Myself I am still on the fence since my current Zunes work so well and with each product update it stays current and works better than it did with each software update. However the gadget lust is really getting me thinking. As with my kids if there are more XNA games in line with the Xbox 360, with Xboxlive Gamer Tag/ Zune Tag synch and achievements/badges along with some cool apps like a Sonos control application(please?) like the iPhone/iPod Touch have as well as Netflix streaming over WiFi, then I am full on board.

I will get a Zune HD, its just a matter of when.

Zune HD. The wait if over. Pre-order yours today.

Both Zune HD 16GB and 32GB and both are ready for pre-order for September 15th delivery date through Zune HD’s product page. You can pre-order the Black 16GB and the Platinum 32GB Zune HD from one of five retailers; Best Buy, Amazon.com, the Microsoft Store, and Walmart. If you visit Newegg directly you can preorder from them too. (I don't know if its on Bing Shopping yet for Cash back.) You can also visit Zune.net/zunehd to find links to the four online retailers and to get a more detailed look at the device. As expected, the suggested retail pricing will be $220 for the 16GB model and $290 for the 32GB version.

Make it yours

Also at  http://www.ZuneOriginals.net, starting on September 15th both 16GB and 32GB capacities of Zune HD will be available in four different colors with the option to customize your player with one of 10 new engravings designed by guest artists.

Videos:

Here are some great videos to check out on the Zune HD.

One by our buddy Andru Edwards from GearLive.

Another by TechFlash with Brian Seitz of the Zune team.

Gizmodo has one too on the Zune HD TV interface.

And another recorded by at the gdgt event in San Francisco.

If you would like to win one the folks at Microsoft have a few contests going on. Head here for more info.

You can win a Zune HD through Microsoft, ;) if you're social enough.  According to another press release and giveaway rules, if you visit Zune's Facebook and MySpace page and comment on their profile about the one Zune HD feature you're most excited about, if you're on Twitter you must add a Zune gradient to be eligible at http://zune.m80im.com and @reply to Zune about the one feature you're excited about.  Here are the rules:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Only in the United States
  • One entry per social network, three entries per person in total
  • Four 16 GB Zune HDs are being given away
  • Giveaway going from Aug 13th through Sept 10th

Good Luck!!!

08/23/2009 05:45:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Celio Introduces Two New REDFLYs#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

The folks at Celio Corp (the maker of the REDFLY Smartphone Terminal, unveiled two new models: the REDFLY C7 and REDFLY C8N after hearing tons of feedback from early reviews and customers of the original REDFLY, the folks at Celio Corp took that feedback and produced these new models. The REDFLY C7 is a new, more affordable model with a power-saving seven-inch display, light-weight five-hour battery, and feather-light design under 1.5 lbs. The REDFLY C8N is the next evolution of the original REDFLY design, enhanced to allow the use of the eight-inch screen by an iPod™, iPhone ™, Zune™, or digital camera. These new Celio products continue to support the smartphone, the most successful mobile computing platform available today, and enable the smartphone’s Internet-based and cloud-computing applications.

REDFLY_C7_m REDFLY_C8N_m

As you can see in the pictures above it looks like they have the same size and footprint, but the C7 on the left sports a smaller 7 inch display.

REDFLY_C7_m_ports REDFLY_C8N_ports_m

On the back you can see that the C8N (N for NTSC) – the one on the right has an additional port for video (located between the 2 USB ports and the VGA out) in via an accessory cable shown below.

REDFLY_Media_Cable

The cable looks to support composite video (RCA) only and looks to have an additional USB port receptacle for charging a portable device such as an iPod or Zune.

Available the week of December 1, 2008, REDFLY C7 and C8N can be pre-ordered today from select Celio resellers listed at www.getredfly.com for a suggested retail price of $229 and $299 respectively. 

“REDFLY has taken off in the smartphone market and these new models are designed to extend this success,” said Kirt Bailey, CEO of Celio Corp. “The REDFLY’s larger keyboard and screen brings the right functionality to the smartphone, making it the netbook of choice without the additional TCO (total cost of ownership) and data loss risk of a UMPC or laptop. Combined with the REDFLY device, the smartphone has become the center of mobile virtualization and mobile cloud-based computing.”

The REDFLY C7 is the result of a customer-driven plan for a power-efficient, lightweight and more affordable solution. With a power-saving seven-inch display and power-efficient features, the REDFLY C7 uses a lightweight battery that provides up to five-hours of performance, perfect for many mobile users. The REDFLY C7 weighs less than 1.5 lbs., lighter than any mobile computer with a seven-inch display. 

The REDFLY C8N evolved from the original REDFLY design to meet overwhelming customer demand to use the larger screen as an external display for media players such as an iPod, iPhone , Zune, or digital camera. A new REDFLY Media Port and REDFLY Media Cable provide a simultaneous connection as a third USB port and composite video input (NTSC/PAL compatible). Now the REDFLY’s 800x480-pixel screen can be used to view photos, show demos and even watch movies. The REDFLY Media Cable is available for a suggested retail price of $19.95.

Available the week of December 1, 2008, the REDFLY C7 and C8N Smartphone Terminals can be pre-ordered today from select Celio resellers listed at www.getredfly.com including: Amazon.com; Enterprise Mobile; Expansys; MyTreo.net; Treonauts.com and WMexperts.com. For more information about REDFLY, visit www.celiocorp.com.

11/30/2008 11:25:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Zune Pass now Gives you 10 Free songs /month#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Microsoft has made all sorts of Zune related announcements this week. First came the price-drops on the Flash-memory-based Zunes  (see the bottom of the post), as well as some minor upgrades to the Zune marketplace software and Zune firmware update to 3.1 so you can use the new services available, which includes new games and the ability to play SuDoKu and Checkers against other Zune owners via Wi-Fi and Texas Hold ‘em now has multi-player Zune to Zune playability. Another new game is Space Battle.

zunepass10

The big news today, however, is that Microsoft is making its Zune Pass subscription that costs $14.99 a little more interesting and you don’t even need a Zune to use it! :) On a monthly basis, subscribers can now download 10 songs from the Zune Marketplace and keep them forever.

"The week just keep getting better for Zune owners: today we're announcing some amazing enhancements for Zune Pass. Starting today at about 11:00PM pacific time, everyone with a Zune Pass gets to keep 10 tracks from Zune Marketplace each month. These 10 tracks will be yours to keep, forever. Each month that you keep your Zune Pass current, you'll get another 10 tracks credited to your account. All this for the same price as your Zune Pass today: 14.99/month, or about the price of one CD per month. So each month as you discover and download new music in Zune Marketplace, you'll be able to keep 10 of your favorite tracks. One quick note: there is no roll-over, so make sure you collect your 10 tracks each month."

Even if your subscription runs out, the songs are yours. Almost 90 percent of the files will be DRM-free MP3s, and the others will be protected WMA tracks. That means that the majority of downloaded tracks can be transferred to different devices as many times as you want. The four major labels are on board, as well as several Indie labels. Your tracks won't roll over from month to month, you only get 10 a month and if you don’t use it – you loose it. So you get 120 tracks per year that Zune subscribers weren't getting this time yesterday.

The Flash-based Zunes also had a price drop this week as well. The 4GB model is now available for $99 (down from $130), the 8GB is $139 (down from $150), and the 16GB is $179 (down from $200). Also some Zune accessories were also reduced: the Zune Car Pack has dropped to $69 instead of $79, the Home AV Pack is now $59 instead of $79, and the Dock pack is now $39, down from $49. The new prices, software and firmware updates, and new subscription deals are all in full effect now.

11/20/2008 11:46:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Zune 3.x & XNA Games#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Since the release of the Zune update I have received quite a few emails asking why their games no longer work. As I stated in the update post it has to do with how the games were compiled with the XNA Game Studio CTP and not XNA Game Studio 3 Beta, which fully supports the new Zune 3.0 update! Yay!!!

xna 3 beta

To get your old games and applications to work all you have to do uninstall the CTP and install the new XNA Game Studio 3.0 Beta and edit a few lines of code:

  • Modify the .contentproj file to delete all instances of the OutputPath element. This element usually is within a PropertyGroup element that has Condition attributes. For example:

                      <PropertyGroup Condition=" '$(Configuration)|$(Platform)' == 'Debug|Xbox 360' ">
                        . . .
                        <OutputPath>bin\Xbox 360\Debug</OutputPath>
                      </PropertyGroup>
                      
  • Add the following as a child element in the same PropertyGroup that includes the XnaFrameworkVersion element:

    <OutputPath>bin\$(Platform)\$(Configuration)</OutputPath>

    The folks over at Zuneboards have a list of games that have already been “fixed” to work with 3.0.

    If you wish to do it yourself you can download the latest version of the XNA Beta from here and be sure read the READ ME file.

    Enjoy!

     zune capture

    There is a new snapshot feature too! A few people wrote in asking on how to do this so here it is. Screen captures are taken using the XNA Game Studio Device Center. It’s important to understand that screen captures can only be made when you start the game from your computer using Visual Studio. You cannot play a game stand alone (i.e. Running from the Games menu on Zune or from the Games Library on the Xbox 360. Here are the two ways to capture:

    • Starting the game with debugging (usually “F5” in Visual Studio of Visual C#)
    • Starting the game without debugging, and hence better performance (usually Ctrl+F5 in Visual Studio)

    Zune-1 Zune-2

    Once started and connected startup the XNA Game Studio Device Center, right-click on the device currently running the game and select “Take Screen Capture”. A PNG of your Zune’s Screen will then be placed in your Pictures folder, and it will be opened automatically for viewing.

    zune capture2

    Note: This will not work with packaged games like creators club game packages (*.ccgame files). This files are automatically installed on your Zune and don’t require to be built.

    Zune | Misc
    10/16/2008 17:03:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Zune 3.0 is here!#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    This morning I downloaded and installed the latest Zune 3.0 Software and was pleased with all the new added features. To upgrade just launch your Zune  software and go to Settings in the upper right-hand corner, click on General and click on the button that says Click for Updates or you can download it directly from here.

    zune3_1

    After signing the EULA you will be installing your software.

    zune3_2

    After you are done you will have Microsoft Zune 3.0.532.0 or newer depending on when you update.

    zune3_3

    To use the new Zune 3.0 desktop software you will need to update your Zune. In order to update your device, you will need an Internet connection to perform the update. Don’t Disconnect while updating. :)

    zune3_4

    Wait a few minutes….And your done!

    zune3_5

    It went through an update and synchronized everything on my Zune checking for updated album art and music. On one Zune not associated with the computer performed this without scanning and synching.

    zune3_6

    To sign in you will have to agree to the updated Terms of Service if you wish to use your Zune Pass and ZuneTag with your Live ID or you create one.

    zune3_7

    After completing the 4 steps you are back in business. IF you have multiple Zunes you only need to download the device update once.

    New Menu Options

    Games – There is good news and bad news. Good news is for those that have emailed me about the Games on your Zune. Your old XNA Games remain on the device with the addition of Hexic and Texas Hold’em, but the bad news is when you launch them you soft reset your device and nothing happens.  :(  Hopefully a patch will be out soon to fix this and XNA Game Studio 3.0 beta is on its way, which is fully compatible with Zune 3.0! A work around suggested is to uninstall and update the games here. Another added bonus for the games that work is that your Zune doesn’t soft reset after exiting a game or application any more. You can also resume where you left off and this even survives a soft reset. :)

    Marketplace – Lets you see the latest top songs, top albums, new releases, search, and what is in your cart from the Radio which allows you to add songs directly to your Zune.

    zune3_8

    Radio - In order for the Radio functionality and Marketplace to work you have to agree to enable the Zune Marketplace content purchase from your device.

    Audiobooks - If you have audio books that option will be added if not it won’t. Too bad you can’t remove items  or change the order you don’t use because that menu is getting a bit long. Zune audiobook content from leading distributors including Audible Inc. which is offering all new and existing Zune owners a free copy of “Black River” by bestselling writer Dean Koontz.

    Under Settings

    Wireless - gets a new networks setting to save your previous connected networks for hotspots.

    New! Clock here you have the option to show clock, the format 12 hours/24hours and set it. Hmm no option for Daylight Savings time, maybe in the next version or update. :)

    New! Screen Lock – this allows you to set a password 4 digit pin on your device to prevent others from accessing your device – so you can keep your music,video,games, audible books and other info private?!?

    Other Zune News

    Microsoft announced that Zune customers can get free WiFi hotspot access with their Zune(s) at one of over 9,800 McDonald’s restaurants. In partnership with Wayport, Microsoft is letting you browse and access the Zune Marketplace when you visit McDonald’s, kind of like the experience iPhone/iTouch gives you at Starbucks locations, but the iPhone/iTouch can also be used where webpage EULAs are needed like Panera Bread,etc. The Zune can’t yet.

    zune3_9

    Zune Channels are aimed to push new music to subscribers’ collections each week, and personalized music recommendations, Zune Marketplace also offers editorial features such as the Zune School Music Masters Program and the Xbox Gamer Central pages, as well as Instant Collections playlists to help consumers explore specific themes and genres. Zune Marketplace now offers more than 4 million songs, 80 percent of which are available as digital rights management (DRM)-free MP3s; 8,500 music videos; 3,000 episodes of popular TV shows; and more than 6,000 audio and video podcasts.

    Zune Originals will also will offer the Zune 16 in blue, red, pink and green as an online exclusive. In addition, Zune Originals is refreshing its collection of custom artwork with 14 eye-catching new designs from artists such as Rolito, MWM (Matt W. Moore), Ippei Gyoubu and Aya Kato to give consumers more options to personalize their Zune experience.

    Enjoy!!!

    09/16/2008 05:33:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Zune 3.0 Fall Update News#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Well rumors have flown across the Internet for some time now on the the release of the new Zune units the new blue 8GB Zune, 16GB Zune,  and the big daddy of Zunes the 120GB Zune! Microsoft has released an official release here.

    ZuneFallUpdate_lg

    Some notables to take away from this that the Zune 3.0 firmware will be available for all Zunes on September 16th and the price points of the various sizes; the first 30GB, 4($129)/8($149)/16($199) GB Flash units, and newer 80($229)/120($249)GB hard drive units. Notice there is very little price margin between models phasing out the older models as they are slowly removed from retail, which I see coming in at even lower prices this Holiday season or maybe on Woot!

    - It gets a Clock in the upper right hand corner- yeah great for runners and those who don't wear time pieces.

    - Some free games “Hexic” and “Texas Hold ’Em”

    - Option to purchase or download from FM radio via RDS+ data depending if you have Zune Pass or not

    - Link to the Social via hotspots that don’t  require internet browsers to agree to TOS.

    - Support for audiobooks including content from audible.com and overdrive.com

    There is a great summary of what was added over at the insidecircle.net by Neville Williams.

    A few other Zune MVPs have even posted videos worth checking out.

    Zune Gaming and Wireless Song Purchasing Experience over at ZuneThoughts

    Texas Hold ‘em and Hexic from ZuneLuv

    Zune Software Features- Zune Fall 2008 from Microsoft at the Zune Insider

    Zune Fall 2008 Wireless Features

    Zune Fall Update: Channels

    Zune Fall update: buy from FM

     

    Over at Kombo rumor has it that MS has purchased some air time on the g4TV network on September 25th and should be announcing the following:

    - Free DLC (Down Loadable Content) for Halo 3, and paid DLC for Mass Effect and GTA IV

    - Six free Xbox Originals for download - we all love some of those Xbox original games

    - A partnership with Sirius Satellite Radio (please be free for existing customers)

    - 12 new exclusive titles, including 2 Halo games (as well as the supposed Peter Jackson Halo project, and the game Bungie was supposed to premiere at E3)

    - A new music download service or some gaming music

    Hopefully there will be some truth to these rumors, we will have to just wait and see.

    According to Engadget it looks like Xbox Live Music Marketplace and Video will be shared with Zune according to Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore and legal measures had to take place in the background before we see a merge of the two services in the future.

    According to this job post it looks like Windows Mobile will also be in the Marketplace mix as people have begged and hoped for.

    “The Zune team is embarking on the mission to create a “Connected Entertainment” experience, realized through the Zune service, that spans multiple devices such as Zune, Xbox, PC and Mobile phones...Do you dream about having a mobile phone based entertainment experience powered by a unified entertainment service across devices such as Zune, Xbox and PC?”

    So if you are looking to compete the tri-fecta of Microsoft technology: Windows Mobile, Zune, and Xbox it looks like the new $199 price for the Xbox Arcade looks pretty good for the bedroom or spareroom.

    Also If you would like to win one of the Blue ones Chris Leckness   is giving one away over at GotZune. :)

    Note: You also get 20% off any Zune Accessory and $20 off this Speaker Dock at Amazon with this Code: ALTECSAV

    09/09/2008 12:16:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

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