Zune wants to come into your living room, entertain you

zunelivingThe Zune, which has sold over (a comparatively tiny) 5 million music tracks, music videos and television episodes, is looking to make the leap from your pocket to your living room according to a very forthcoming Microsoft job advertisement. It reads,

Help shape the future of entertainment in the living room. The Zune team is looking for a qualified software development engineer to help deliver great digital entertainment features into the living room, including on demand music and video.

Primary responsibilities include development of innovative user interfaces for delivering a rich, deep interactive media consumption experience in a living room environment. Experience with online services API development is a must, product will provide a rich online media experience delivering music and video from the cloud. A passion for UX and digital media is a must.

This job posting dated just a couple days ago follows CNET’s report from a month ago that the Zune group was restructured into two separate divisions – hardware and software – allowing a part of the Zune team to focus on potentially porting the Zune to other “tuners”. This obviously is indication of one such device or software on an existing device such as the XBOX360 for the living room. An Apple TV-like device maybe?

20 insightful thoughts

  1. @Jon: Nah, I saw that, actually used that as a reference for the “5 million downloads”. I disregarded it because the Zune team has always said they’re working on internationalization, and all that’s happened is Canada. Them saying they’re working on it is of very little value right now.

  2. Jon, That’s great news if it pans out as I’ve wanted a Zune ever since they added gapless[1].

    Zune isn’t in my country yet, let alone my living room.

    [1]: Since WMA-L support and not having to use iTunes, while having the same storage capacity, makes it a better player for me than my iPod. Assuming the Zune handles compilation albums sensibly.[2]

    [2]: I have learned not to assume music devices will be well designed for actually playing music after all the hassle with gapless and compilations and terrible-quality EQs (AKA “distortion generators”) which plague almost every device to this day. :( I’m still not aware of one which doesn’t suffer from at least one of those problems. Sigh.

  3. I think it is much more likely that they are building a Zune experience for Windows Media Center than something that would compete directly with MCE. Of course, you can already get Zune on XBOX with the “Libraries” functionality…

  4. I don’t think they mean they’ve sold 5 million items, but that 5 million are available. Especially when they also say “we provide rich reviews on more than twelve million music tracks and biographies on almost a million artists”. 12 million reviews and 5 million in sales makes no sense :)

    I think the accurate comparison is Apple’s “Over 10 million different tracks are available on iTunes”, which is merely double (though excluding other types of media).

  5. I know it’s hard to accept the truth but the Zune passed away on March 23rd last month when BBB Ballmer said “I won’t say full stream ahead”. The hardware revisions are over and with that a true decent player is dead. Payware “software services for your digital world” are all that remain.

  6. The Zune did deliver some benefits to MS in terms of learning about user interface and those have wormed their way into media center, xbox and win mobile, in all probability the next phase is a zune store/frontend for all those platforms.

    Plus a license-able store and playback interface that can be integrated into various products like the media center extender (though those like the AppleTV were pretty much a failure).

  7. I’m guessing it’s Zune storefront via XBox. I haven’t gone with Zune specifically because this is missing.

    MS don’t seem to have any qualms about their own products stepping into the space covered by MCE. I used to be a heavy MCE user but now the only thing I use it for is streaming from Napster. If I could get Zune marketplace through XBox I could drop Napster and MCE. I’m just disappointed that they seem to just be starting development.

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