With the removal of Zune HD where does that leave some features?

So as far as we understand the major components of the Zune ecosystem are: Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360 and the PC Software. It is through these devices that we can engage in our music+video fix no matter where we are. However, with the removal of the Zune HD from the mix you’ll notice that there are some features that have yet to be fulfilled by any of the other three devices.

To kind of see where things are now, I’m in the process of creating a chart. This chart shows some of the major Zune features and where they are on the current service ecosystem. I’ve also included the Zune HD, since while the device is no longer in production, there are many out there who still own the device. Plus, it helps to illustrate what the Zune HD brings to to the table that no one else is picking up the slack for (Audiobooks is a prime example of this).

Here’s the chart as it stands now. If there’s others that should be added or modifications to what I’ve presented here, feel free to let me know. I would hope that over time there are no blanks in this chart.

Zune Feature Xbox 360 PC Software Windows Phone 7 Zune HD
Audiobooks       x
Zune Social x x   x
Channels x x   x
Zune Music Pass x x x x
Podcasts   x x x
Smart DJ x x x x
Mixview   x  
Quickplay   x x x
Music Video Streaming x x    
Rental-To Devices x x x x
Buy Once, Play Anywhere x x x x
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About Marques Lyons
Microsoft Xbox MVP. Xbox Music Correspondent. Music Fanatic.

14 Responses to With the removal of Zune HD where does that leave some features?

  1. Do you think with the removal of the Zune HD there will be could be a new Zune in the works? Or did MS just completely trash that and will just focus on moving forward with WP7, PC, and Xbox?

    • I think the days of Zune devices are over and the focus will be Windows Phone 7, as the all-in-one solution. That’s precisely why visually seeing where and what the lacking features are, are so important. Without a Zune HD, presently, there’s no way to listen to books from Audible (they seem to be dragging their heels on getting a Windows Phone app into the market).

      • TheCyberK says:

        You’re opinion about WP7 becoming the primary focus for Zune portability is likely spot on.
        Meanwhile, in its current execution, it does not seem to aim for the win. The vast majority of Windows Phones only have 8GB or 16GB of internal memory. When you consider the typical applications, that leaves an insufficient storage space for one’s music collection. Having to “regularly” manage the music content of my portable device is the last thing I want. Also, with the current crop of phones battery life, treating the phone as a portable music player does not yield anything close to what the Zune HD could do.
        The unfortunate truth here is that we’re now all stuck with a “regression” in terms of musical experience. Sad I say.

      • TheCyberK says:

        And while we’re discussing this subject, here is something you could add to you’re matrix: Search the Music Marketplace. All the devices you listed can actually do it expect… the Zune HD.

        Meanwhile, as a mitigating factor, the omission is probably a localization issue (for Canada). But since the Zune Music Marketplace is now available in Canada, the feature should have been enabled. This type of inconsistencies are signs that Microsoft never “fully” endorsed Zune and put the necessary efforts to make it a success or a viable alternative to the fruit company music store. Unfortunate I say.

      • Hello sir,

        I would echo a number of comments here that the Windows Phone cannot be considered a replacement for the Zune HD unless we get 32GB and 64GB phones out at reasonable prices, in addition to adding in the missing features you highlight.

        If you integrated the Zune Social and every Windows Phone user has a Zune tag, then that gives you built-in Spotify right there, and if you replicate the entire Zune Social functionality, either from within the Zune Hub or on the Contact cards as a pivot, or even better, both, then the Windows Phone will most certainly become a social sharing device and drive Zune music sales. People would be getting Zune-notifications from their friends for Zune Social-sent songs/shows/movies, get driven into the Zune app to listen to music, and if it’s a song they like, be inclined to purchase it.

        I wrote a post on WordPress called “Windows Phone 2.0″ (here: http://wp.me/p1fLW2-2t) where I detailed the items I thought should be included in the Zune software. Most of it is to bring all the features of the Zune HD into the Windows Phone version.

        The Zune HD was spot-on for a great many things, and the Windows Phone would go a long way to bring every feature into the Zune Hub.

  2. Andrew says:


    I really like your Zune Device Feature/Service Matrix!

    I’m not sure if you have seen this, but I made a Matrix about a year ago that lists Zune & Bing Feature/Service Availablity in different countries around the world. It’s available to look at here:


    Being the Zune MVP, the first table is probably going to be of most interest to you. The basic moral of the story, there’s a lot of Zune Services that are US only.

    • Nicely done chart, my friend. Mine is no where near as comprehensive as yours. :)

      I think I just selfishly wanted to say that now without a Zune HD, audiobooks are non-existent in this ecosystem. You can’t even get the PC software to find them and at least have ‘audiobooks’ under collection. It’s kind of why I list that one first too. :)

      But I dig your chart, as well. Good work.

      • Andrew says:

        I get the feeling that Audiobooks will be relegated to an ‘App’ rather than be integrated directly into the Zune ecosystem. The question is: Where is that App, Audible?

        I like your chart too, it’s got a slightly different purpose behind it, which is good, some of those features such as Mixview & Podcasts) are only available in the United States. I’m really happy about the Zune Music Pass coming to Australia, the next push is to bring the Podcasts. There’s no record companies to make that difficult and we speak English just like you guys, so the Podcasts in the Marketplace would be great for us!

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  5. Sharkman says:

    You may have overlooked the ability to dock the device and view it on a 720P bigscreen TV, with TOSLink/HDMI.

    • True. Zune HD does have a docking ability so people can view video content they’ve synced to the device. You can’t do that, at all, with Windows Phone, but even with the docking of Zune HD for TV purposes that seems to now fall under the duties of the Xbox 360.

      I would say, though, that I still like having a Zune HD docked at work while I do my daily tasks. It’s nice to have 8 hours of uninterrupted music. A phone can be interrupted by all sorts of things (alarms, incoming texts, incoming phone calls, etc).

  6. Damien Kenney says:

    I’m so heartbroken over the Zune HD removal. Yesterday, I posted on a discussion about it on the customer brand survey site: http://www.crowdtap .com I’m a Microsoft supporter and I appreciate the Zune brand.

  7. Damien Kenney says:

    I’m so heartbroken over the Zune HD removal. Yesterday, I posted on a discussion about it on the customer brand survey site: http://www.crowdtap.com I’m a Microsoft supporter and I appreciate the Zune brand.

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