In the past few days, Xbox Video lowered a boom and said that after February 2014, users of the Zune PC client, Zune devices, and Windows Phone 7 will be unable to view Xbox Video content. According to the team, they are re-configuring their video service and therefore will be unable to bring those devices along for the ride. I take that to mean that they are going to configure Xbox Video to be more cloud-powered, rather than local-powered. Zune PC clients, Zune HDs, and Windows Phone 7 devices are all about connecting, tethering, and syncing. Therefore, these devices wouldn’t be able to effectively handle the changes to Xbox Video that are happening over the next several weeks. To many this is seen as a blow, even for those who admit they don’t watch video on their Zune HDs. I, like most of them, are sad to make that slow walk to the realization that Zune, as we know it, is methodically going away.
The next steps for users, at this point, is to go to places like Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows Phone 8, etc. Many, myself included, have a problem with this because of the battery life and storage issues of Windows Phone, making it not-so-much an ideal solution for portable consumption of media. However, we must understand that in order for these services to move forward and get better some things have to be left behind. It’s the same thing when the Zune HD was coming out and we had to leave behind the Zune 30.
I would bet that by the end of 2014, we will see a total end to Zune. One day you’ll go to plug in your HD and find out that you can’t even sync music to it. Well, you probably could your local music, but your Zune device will become so crippled in functionality and Windows Phone will become so improved in functionality (and so cost effective) that you’ll find that the upgrade is both financially doable and worthy. Consider, also, that you can get a Lumia device — right now — for only $99 and use that as your pure Windows 8 media device.
But many Zune users need to start making that transition, for their own sake and sanity. Most want to hang on til the very last second, but that might make the final pull away that much harder. Instead, begin to use Windows 8 devices; even if you have to do it piece by piece. Because one day Zune will no longer function and the new era of cloud-powered music and video will be staring you in the face, hand outstretched, smile on its face and glowing light behind you (along with the choir singing).
Go ahead, take their hand. It’ll be ok.
Well, eventually, it’ll be ok.