Microsoft updates Zune Software and Online Community

Zune Logo Microsoft has announced a software for Zune, company’s all-in-one digital entertainment brand. The new software will add new features and content to the Zune online store, music community and Zune Pass monthly subscription service.

Zune is expanding its video store with popular television shows from Comedy Central, FUNimation Entertainment, MTV, NBC Universal, Nickelodeon, Starz Media (including Manga Entertainment), Turner Broadcasting, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and VH1, which users can sync to their Zune device.

Moreover, the new software will deliver Zune users an easy way to find and listen to the music they want. Further they can share their music with friends too. The two options- Zune Pass or a la carte MP3 downloads will be allow music fans the ability to enjoy music wherever they go.

The service is starting from today, where users can get more than 800 episodes of popular television series to download and watch on their computer or their Zune. The shows include South Park, Afro Samurai, Witchblade, The Hills, The Office, Heroes, 30 Rock, SpongeBob SquarePants, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Ghost in the Shell, Street Fighter, Rock of Love etc .

Each of these television shows will be available for 60 Microsoft Points per episode (approximately $1.99) at launch.

The improved Zune online music community enables to explore, discover and share music. Members will get a free, customizable Zune Card: a snapshot of their favorite tracks and music they are playing on their Zune. However, the latest software updates have made the Zune cards more portable than ever before. Users having Zune Pass subscription will enjoy the ability to take what their Windows Live Messenger contacts are listening to from the Zune music community on the go via Zune Card personal playlists for easy exploration and access, whenever and wherever they want it.

Artist and album reviews and Reputation badges are some of the other features of the Zune online community. Through Reputation badges Zune community can earn badges that are displayed on their Zune Card showing they are passionate fans or active members.

“Consumers want more than the traditional transactional model of an online music store plus portable device,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of Global Marketing for Zune at Microsoft. “Zune is putting the strong combination of an online music community together with subscription to deliver a new experience centered on music discovery that’s good for consumers, artists and the industry. This approach exposes consumers to music they might not have otherwise tried, keeps them coming back, and gives them purchasing options that suit their preferences.”

The Zune Pass subscription is available at the price of $14.99 per month.

Zune has updated and added features and functionality to address better integration between the software, the online music community and the store. Specific feature updates include the following:

  • Auto playlists. Users can create an auto playlist that updates itself automatically as new music is added.Browsing videos. Consumers can browse their video collection by genre and series, plus they can preview videos before they play them on full screen.
  • Editing album and track information. Users are able to edit track or album information (metadata) quickly via multi-select and drag-and-drop. The advanced metadata editing features make it easy to edit multiple tracks or survey albums and artist information.
  • Organizing collections. In addition to sorting by artist or album, consumers can now sort by genre. While browsing by genre they can further sort music by artist, album or release year.
  • Gapless playback. Consumers will now be able to listen to an album without the brief gap between tracks, both on their Zune and in the Zune software. This is a must-have for live-concert recordings and compilation albums.
  • Syncing groups. Zune software now syncs to multiple Zune players simultaneously. Users can prepare which content on their computer to sync even when their Zune isn’t connected. Consumers can create custom sync groups for music, pictures and videos.
  • Zune reminders. Experience is improved when a Zune player’s memory is nearing capacity, via an easy-to-use tool.