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Microsoft Piles on Zune Content, Features

Microsoft Piles on Zune Content, Features

In the fight against the iPod, few would say Microsoft’s Zune has found much traction, but the company hasn’t given up yet.  On Tuesday, it revealed its latest ploy to ratchet up the Zune from the content end by adding downloadable television shows to the Zune store, along with a new feed-based music downloading option.

The television shows will come from Comedy Central, FUNimation Entertainment, MTV, Nickelodeon, Starz Media, Turner Broadcasting, Ultimate Fighting Championship, VH1 and most interestingly, NBC Universal, which pulled its shows from iTunes back in August. Notable titles include South Park, The Office, and The Hills. Each episode will cost 160 points, which Microsoft says translates to about $1.99.

To push its Zune Card social networking features, which allows Zune owners to see what their friends are listening to, Microsoft also added features making it easier to transfer those tunes to a Zune. Those with $14.99-per-month Zune Pass subscriptions, Microsoft’s buffet-style download option, can drag a friend’s Zune card to their own Zune, creating a subscription that will sync a friend’s new and favorite songs with another player automatically.

Other tweaks to the Zune network include an enhanced friend search, reputation badges to show that users are “passionate or active members,” and user-submitted artist and album reviews. The Zune software has also been revamped with a slew of smaller features, like playlists that automatically update themselves with new music, video browsing by genre and series, tools for editing metadata, and gapless playback.

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