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Old 06-03-2010, 11:21 AM
binkman71 binkman71 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA, USA
Posts: 21

I find a lot of these arguments very intriguing, and I guess I'm just not in the same mindset as a lot of people here. That said, here are my [lengthy] comments.

I LOVE my Zune HD.

I have used 3 different models of iPod, and had an iPhone (until I dumped crappy AT&T service and didn't want the hassle of "jailbreaking" just to use the phone on another provider's network). When it came time last year to want/need a new media player, I wanted something that would do video better than the iPod did. Which mainly meant files in non-Apple approved formats and resolutions.

I first tried out a Sony X-series player. It was very nice. The interface was fun and easy to use on the touch screen OLED. Video playback was nice -- but only if you could put your video into a format the player would use. I even got a desktop app from Sony they claimed would convert your videos for use on their line of players. Problem is, it reduced resolution down to a "portable" size. Any attempt to tweak those conversion settings resulted in less than smooth playback. I even used other video software I have to convert to formats and resolutions Sony said the player supported. No luck, playback choppy. I begrudgingly returned the unit on the last possible day of the store's return policy.

I looked into some of the Archos players, but really didn't want a internet tablet. Also, to play back some audio and video formats required separate purchase of software plugins. This on top of the already hefty pricing for the 5" model.

I then searched these forums, and saw everyone raving about the Cowon S9. I researched it, and it seemed like it would do everything I wanted...but with a couple exceptions. It had Audible support, which was great. But looking over the list of supported formats, I didn't see one I needed. The AAC format. Yes, all those years of iPod use left me with a large collection of AAC formatted music. I did an online chat with a Cowon rep and asked if they even intended to support it with a future firmware update. The answer was "Not at this time." So, while they supported the "open source" audio formats, they didn't support the one format I had most of my library in. I didn't feel like converting my entire collection of AAC files to another format, so this ultimately was a deal breaker for me.

Then MS announced the preorder for Zune HD. It supported the video files I wanted, it supported the audio I wanted. While the video may have had issues like the Sony did, I was willing to take the chance that their support of WMV files was better than Sony's. When I got my hands on my Zune, I loved it from the get go. The desktop software happily imported all my music, it imported my videos, and I could transfer them to the player with ease. When I played the videos back on the Zune, they were flawless. Whether they were MP4 or WMV, didn't matter. The Zune handled them. It also handled Audible, so I was set.

Now I have my new Zune HD 64 because all the content I decided I wanted to keep at my fingertips on this little device had filled my 32 to capacity. I wasn't even considering another player at this time. Do I need apps? No. Even on my iPhone I only downloaded a handful of applications. Now on my Droid, I've only downloaded a handful of apps. And even so, they aren't media-based applications. They are productivity type things, turning my phone into more of a PDA (anyone remember those? PocketPC!). I'm even one of those weird people that don't want my music and videos on my phone. Not on my iPhone, not on my Droid. I'd rather have the dedicated player, and my player doesn't need to offer me the ability to surf the web -- it simply isn't what I even thought about when I was looking for a player.

While I will admit Bluetooth headphone support might have been nice, it wasn't a dealbreaker for me. And as for most of the other features mentioned here by others, again, I didn't want them. It's partly why I didn't go with an iPod Touch. To me, the Touch is less about the music and videos now, and all about being a PDA. And why the iPod that touts movie playback still isn't 16x9 ratio is beyond me. But nevertheless, I just wanted a media player that would play the formats I already had. Sony played them, just not well. Archos would most likely play them, with extra software purchases, so overall cost issues. Cowon just doesn't support the file format I need.

So, hey, Zune HD for the win for me.

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