Zune® is the brand name for a portable media player, bundled software and an online marketplace, all provided by Microsoft® Corporation. The Zune® Marketplace provides online video, podcast, and music downloads to Zune® users. Zune players are available in two varieties, which differ according to the file storage option. One variant uses flash-memory, while the other uses a hard disk. Zune® players can seamlessly share files in wireless mode with other Zune players. The players can also be hooked up with Windows® PCs and Xbox 360 gaming consoles using USB data cables. The Zune® players can be synced using wireless technology with any Windows® PC. These players, as of now, do not support computers with Linux operating system, or Macintosh computers.

Zune® does not support too many file formats. The few formats that are supported by Zune® are all supported by the Microsoft™ Windows® operating system. No doubt this was done in order to ensure seamless syncing between Zune® players and Windows® PCs. The file formats supported by Zune® players are as follows:

  1. Images: Zune® players only support JPEG file format for image files.
  2. Video: All models of Zune® support WMV files. MPEG-4 (MOV files) and H.264 classes of file formats are supported on all Zune® models, except the Zune® 30, which can only play WMV files. Thankfully, if MPEG-4 and H.264 files are being synced to the Zune® 30 player from a Windows® PC, then the Zune® software automatically transcodes these files to WMV format, ensuring playback. This makes the syncing process a bit time consuming, but the files, once transcoded, play just fine. The Zune® software also supports the ASF video file format, and can transcode it to WMV as well, if the file is being transferred to a Zune® player from a Windows® PC.
  3. Audio: MP3 audio files are perfectly supported by all models of Zune®, which is a relief for almost any music lover. AAC files (with .m4a extension) are also supported without any problems. WMA (Windows® Media Audio) files and all sub-formats of WMA are supported by all models of the player. These include the WMA Pro (2-channel), the WMA lossless audio format, and the WMA standard. These files can be downloaded from the Zune® Marketplace, both in DRM free and restricted types.

In spite of starting off with considerable media hype, the Zune® player has lost its popularity somewhat, possibly for the lack of firmware upgrades and lack of support for many popular file formats.

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