Zune HD TV Interface Makes It a Media Center For Your Pocket

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

You've already seen the player hands-on; the final reveal for the Zune HD was how well it handled when docked on a high-def TV. As you can see in this video, it blows away anything else in its class.

I was trying to figure out what it was about the Zune HD's TV interface that I was enjoying so much, and then I realized: Unlike every other device of its size and capacity, this thing is a true portable media center. It's not as fast as a fully fledged PC running Windows Media Center, but it is zippy as hell for a pocketable, portable player.


Zune HD goes dark when it's docked, like you see in the gallery. This isn't like an iPod—once docked, it's invisible, the power behind what you watch or listen to. The remote is the key. I bopped around, browsing music, scanning for radio stations (that HD has a few meanings, including an HD radio receiver, so you can see the "what's playing" data and everything) and even watching a short full-screen video on this 60-inch Samsung. The demo Zune only had the one video—I can't wait to see what it's like to fill a 32GB one with great movies and TV episodes.

The only noticeable thing missing from the interface was any online connectivity—you can't download movies to a Zune without a PC anyway, but docked, I am not even sure you can stream music (as you can when carrying a Zune in a Wi-Fi environment). More on that when we review it, naturally.


As we showed you months ago, the player itself takes the PMP user interface to a new level. When you select something, all the screen elements move at different vectors, creating at times a 3D effect, as you can catch up close in the video below. (Pardon the glare, but that's one hazard—for better or worse, it's a shiny shiny screen.)

I don't want to say more—this is not a review, and I won't be the reviewer when we do pass judgment—but let me say that, as someone who's never been terribly excited by past Zunes, this one took me pleasantly by surprise.


[Full Zune HD Coverage on Gizmodo]