Microsoft has opened the doors on a new 64 GB version of its Zune HD, doubling available storage capacity at a price tag of $349.99. The 64 GB version of the device is essentially the same as its 16 GB and 32 GB siblings—however, all new Zune HD models recently picked up new features via the Zune HD 4.5 firmware update.
Zune HD 4.5 firmware adds a new Smart DJ Mix capability, enabling users to create an automatic playlist directly on the Zune HD device based on a particular song or artist. The Smart DJ mix feature pulls songs from the Zune’s available collection of material—and, for users with a Zune Pass, from Zune Marketplace. The firmware update also offers custom music recommendations and picks based on the music both the Zune owner and other Zune HD users have been listening to on Zune Marketplace. That might turn you on to some pretty cool music, or confirm your low opinion of other Zune users’ musical tastes…hard to tell.
The most significant feature of the Zune 4.5 firmware update might be Zune Music Marketplace on TV: users can connect a Zune HD to a television via the A/V dock, and they can stream, brows, and buy music from the Zune Marketplace on their television. The feature enables users with a Zune Pass to stream music via their television—and potentially via their home theater system. The Zune HD 4.5 update also adds additional video codecs so more video formats play without transcoding on the Zune (including Xvid and native AVI).
Existing Zune HD customers can get the update for free by launching their Zune software and connecting their Zune HD to their PC. Folks who want a 64 GB Zune HD can head over to ZuneOriginals.com and pick out their own custom colors and etchings.