zune hd nvidia

The NVIDIA Tegra platform combines a low power ARM processor with high performance NVIDIA graphics to enable HD video playback on low power devices with excellent battery life. We’re still waiting for the first NVIDIA Tegra powered netbooks or smartbooks to hit the market. But there is one device that’s already available that uses the Tegra chipset: The Zune HD media player.

The folks at NVIDIA sent me a 16GB Zune HD to play with. I’m just starting to explore the Zune hardware and software, but while I’m setting it up to synchronize with my PC, I thought I’d share my unboxing and first impressions videos. You can check them out after the break.

This particular model has the NVIDIA logo etched onto the back. I forgot to highlight that in the video, which is why I took the photo you can see above.

I’m pretty impressed with the slim size, light weight, attractive UI, and super-crips display. The real test will be how well it handles HD video playback and what kind of battery life it gets. But I’m already finding myself wishing that the Zune HD had calendar and contact applications and the ability to sync with Microsoft Outlook. If it could do those things, I might be willing to toss aside my 6 year old Dell Axim X50v PDA and upgrade to a smaller, thinner device. I don’t really want to pay $50 or more per month to get a smartphone, and nobody really makes standalone PDAs anymore. (Update: Thanks to obo for pointing out that HP does still have a few iPAQ models that aren’t smartphones).

I suppose I could always get an iPod Touch if Microsoft doesn’t expand the app marketplace for the Zune HD, but the HD video playback capabilities on this little media player make it pretty compelling.

On the down side, I just ran into my first snag: The Zune HD can’t handle DiVX files. I have dozens of videos on my computer that I’ve recorded using a TV tuner and compressed to DiVX to save space. The Zune software won’t recognize them, and if I want to get them onto the media player I’m going to have to convert them to WMV, H.264, or another recognized format.

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13 replies on “First look at the Zune HD with NVIDIA Tegra – Video”

  1. I’m a big fan of my Zune HD it’s just slick to use. What it lacks in Apps it makes up for in style. The Games for it are a decent waste of time and the web browser gets me to Twitter and Facebook so theres really not much more I’d ask from it other than better video codec support. On a side note the Zune Software rocks microsoft should install this defaultly onto windows and just add slightly better video support to it and just drop Windows Media Player.

    1. How times change…supposedly it was always Apple who went only for “style” ;p

      1. zima, please read the rules. Dumb trolls aren’t welcome here.

        On the other note, Zune has always had better sound quality than iPod. And now it also beats Apple in style, battery life, video support, screen quality, weight (ZUne weights noticeably less than iPod Touch) and size (while screen is the same size).

  2. Dell should make another go with the Axim line. Looking forward to more Zune HD coverage! Especially with the Tegra.

      1. iPod Touch counts too; why would you dismiss it? Yeah, a different kind of PDA, it’s called like an mp3 player of past, changes few things here and there, but still PDA.

        And BTW, could somebody explain to me why we need HD video on such devices? (versus, for example, more powerfull CPU; Cortex-A8 for example instead of ARM11)

        1. The main appeal of HD video on a tiny device is the fact that you don’t need
          to convert your video collection to watch it. As I mentioned, I have dozens
          of TV shows I’ve recorded with a high definition TV tuner. It would be nice
          to be able to sync them with a portable device without having to transcode
          them into a different format with a lower resolution.

          Unfortunately, since I’ve been using DiVX as my compression format of
          choice, I’ll still need to transcode my old videos if I want to watch them
          on the ZuneHD. But I just configured my media center software to start using
          H.264 instead so all future recordings should sync up perfectly.

          1. Not only it turns out that you have to transcode anyway / it will be hard to find a device which supports all the format one would like…

            …BUT – most importantly – it’s a total non-issue with todays dekstop CPUs to transcode HD videos on-the-fly while transferring them to such portable device (it might even be FASTER due to much smaller amount of data going through USB). And, when on the device, only benefits. Lower battery usage. More space available, no need to carry around useless data describing details that you won’t be able to see anyway. No, there won’t bo any perceptible quality loss – a) small (and not very good, due to power limitations) screen/resolution b) transcoded files might have relatively large bitrate (for their resolution; still being WAY smaller than HD version)

            Yes, yes, some people might like to connect such device to some random TV…how many actually do so? Is it even 1%?

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