“Friends and neighbors, I’m here to tell you that it is mighty early in the game to count Microsoft [Zune] out [against Apple’s iPod+iTunes]. But it’s going to be an uphill slog of a fight,” James Coates writes for The Chicago Tribune. “While most observers focused on the lopsided music end of the race, the real action may be at the movies. Jobs announced a deal to let iPod owners download DVDs from Walt Disney Co., where Jobs sits on the board of directors.”
Coates writes, “Zune owns the catbird seat thanks to Amazon.com, where already more than 30 movie studios and television networks are offering a fat menu of Windows-only DVD downloads.”
“Studios available for Zune include 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Lions Gate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.,” Coates writes. “Also waiting for download to hard drives for play on the soon-to-be-seen Zune are programs from this collection of television networks: A&E, Adult Swim, Animal Planet, BBC, The Biography Channel, Cartoon Network, CBS, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, E! Entertainment Television, Fine Living TV Network, FOX, Fuel TV, FX, HGTV, The History Channel, KBS (Korean Broadcast System), Logo, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, The N, PBS, Speed, Spike, Travel Channel, TV Land and VH1.”
“The Amazon films can be downloaded as near-DVD-quality files for playing on computer monitors and as much smaller files that can play on Windows-compliant mobile movie players, but not iPods,” Coates writes.
Full article here.
Great theory, Mr. Coates. One not-so-minor problem: Microsoft’s Zune will not play protected Windows Media Audio and Video purchased or “rented” from Amazon, Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited, Movielink, Cinemanow, or any other “PlaysForSure” online media service. In footnote 4 of its Zune fact sheet (.doc file, 56 KB), Microsoft clearly states that “Zune software can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264” – not protected WMA and WMV (like Amazon’s Unbox content). iTunes Store content is also not supported, of course.
Zune is a closed system that works on with Windows PCs and the music-only “Zune Marketplace,” which has not announced plans for video content of any kind.
Now, what was that about counting out Zune and owning catbird seats, again?
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