Zune-alicious: The Setup & Software

[Ed. note: If you haven’t already, then first read about the Zune unboxing here.]

After removing the Zune from its box, it was time to begin the software installation. This process took about ten minutes total, but since I was working on other things while doing it, the time passed quickly.

The following pictures are a series of screenshots captured during and after the setup process, including some screenshots of the Zune music store. All screenshots are thumbnails, so clicking on them will show them in full size.

To get started, the CD must be inserted; the setup program will connect to the internet and start looking for updates…

…agree to the user agreement, and then…

…begins the actual installation. This part probably takes the longest – five or six minutes.

The computer must be reset, and then comes the configuration and personalization.

Here’s where I entered the code for the free two weeks of Zune Pass. So far I am really enjoying the $15/month service – I think I will be keeping it past the trial period.

Since I already had music on an external hard drive, I imported it all to the Zune library.

And that’s it – setup is done!

Now let’s take a look at the Zune Marketplace; this is the screen you’ll see when you first enter.

You can search by artist’s name, album, song…

…by genre or year.

Now let’s take a look at some of the more specialized screens. The first is the screen showing the videos in my library.

Here are a couple of the views showing the albums in my library as well as a close-up of one’s contents.

But since I have the all-you-can-eat pass for at least two weeks, I want to show how you can download almost anything in the Zune Marketplace library to yours. Each album, when chosen, will display a series of choices. This one shows Buy, Play, Download, or Tell A Friend. I just hit download, and so it begins…

It is always possible to check active downloads by hitting the button under the marketplace.

Just about any band you can imagine – even some of the more obscure ones – are on Zune. Most can be downloaded with no problem, but there are some interesting exceptions.

This particular album is shown on the marketplace, but it is not available for purchase, download or play. A very cool feature is that it shows the songs I already have in my library.

This album is available for purchase, but not for download or play.

This album is not available for purchase or download, but it can be played on the computer.

Visualizations may be displayed while songs are playing…

…and you can either set the player to automatically sign-in on future visits or require passport information.

This email came after I had activated my trial…

Dear Judie Hughes,

This mail is confirmation that you successfully activated Zune 14-day Trial Pass on Tuesday, November 14, 2006. Here are the details:

Congratulations! You just received a 14-day trial to an all-access pass to explore the world of Zune. With your 14-day trial Zune Pass subscription, you have ‘all you can eat’ access to millions of songs in the Zune Marketplace. You can explore to your heart’s content, listen to that new album (or old classic) you have been thinking about, even explore new genres – and then download the music to your Zune and take it with you. You can listen to the songs you download for the duration of your subscription period. You can still purchase songs or albums individually if you like and you can cancel at any time. For information about how to manage your account or how to purchase an additional Zune Pass, go to www.zune.net/meetzune/accounts/. Rock on.

If you have any questions, please go to www.zune.net/support or call Zune Customer Support at 1 (877) GET-ZUNE.
Thank you for using Microsoft Online Services.

The Microsoft Zune team.

What I Like so far: Easy to navigate, huge music selection, the all-you-can-eat monthly plan is about the same as purchasing a CD a month while allowing access to millions of songs.
What Needs Improvement: I’m pretty happy so far…

More later!

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

8 Comments on "Zune-alicious: The Setup & Software"

  1. Chris Leckness | November 15, 2006 at 1:39 pm |

    Thanks for the screenies Judie. This install was very simple and the store is super. They just need to add some artists and all set. The trouble Ryan at Engadget had with the installation probaly isn’t a typical install. He had a zune that had already been registered and that may have had something to do with his install fiasco.

    So, are you planning to continue on past the 14 days? I know I am, unless something evil happens in the next 13 days.

  2. Chris, I seriously think it makes sense to continue the trial. I am having way too much fun downloading everything I want without worrying about “paying” for it.

  3. tiburongirl04 | November 15, 2006 at 3:09 pm |

    Great screenshots Judie! I just have a few questions that are holding me back from getting one myself.

    1) Does the Zune support .avi, .divx, and .xvid file formats?
    2) Currently, my entire music collection, which comes up to around 25 gb is all in iTunes format. How easy would it be for me to make the switch? Could my library be converted without me burning off a gazillion cd’s and ripping them back on my harddrive as mp3s?

    My 3rd gen iPod’s last day could come anyday now, and I have been eyeing the Creative Zen’s Vision W pvp lately. But, I could be persuaded to get the Zune,

    Thanks for all you hard work!

  4. and therein lies the rub…

    The Zune supports MP3, WMA, WMV & JPG. So if your entire collection is in iTunes’s native DRM format, unless you feel like burning and ripping, Apple has you. πŸ™

  5. tiburongirl04 | November 15, 2006 at 6:00 pm |

    Shooot! iPod here I come.

  6. Well maybe that’s not such a bad thing! Perhaps they will finally release that full-screen video version. πŸ™‚

  7. Great thing is even though I have an iPod, none of my music is in their DRM-laden crap. All MP3s ripped from CDs!

    The Zune is so cheap!! BUT, it doesn’t support MCE Recorded TV. I can’t believe Microsoft left that out. That feature would see me seriously considering one, but with out it, I won’t buy one. My next video player will support my Recorded TV, and will have a TV out so that I can play it on TVs outside my dads house (at my mums for example).

  8. In all honesty, there are a lot of things that aren’t quite perfect with the Zune. Some of the concerns are:

    1. Not Mac compatible
    2. Not able to be used as a hard drive (yet!)
    3. Limited playback formats
    4. Introduces a new DRM
    5. fill in your own personal peeve here ______.

    Look, these are all legitimate concerns and they will most likely keep people from buying the Zune right off the bat. However, I think that there are enough positives to this device that it should be given a chance. If it blows the chance, well then…we’ll see if the Zune survives.

    In any case, I haven’t used mine long enough to give the actual review on usage yet – but it is coming. πŸ™‚

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