has developed a firmware update to make its existing Kicker-brand ZK500
Zune-docking speaker system compatible with the new Zune HD.
Consumers who bought the
$249-everday speaker system after Microsoft released the Zune HD in September
are eligible for a free firmware update. Consumers who bought their speaker
system before the Zune HD’s release must pay $40. In either case, the system
must be sent in to Stillwater
to make the upgrade. Stillwater
will cover all shipping costs.
The firmware update will
enable Zune HD-stored music to play through the ZK500. About 25 percent of
ZK500s sold before Sept. 2009, however, will work with the new Zune HD and
won’t require a firmware upgrade, the company said.
All ZK500 systems purchased here on in from the Kicker Web site include the update, the company added.
With or without the new firmware, the dock will not output HD
video from the Zune HD because the dock features an SD-compatible composite-video
output. Because the dock does not incorporate an antenna, Kicker added, the
speaker system will not play audio from a Zune HD’s HD Radio tuner.
The system, also called zKick, was launched
in 2008 and features a 2×20-watt amplifier powering a pair of front-firing
0.75-inch tweeters and 5-inch woofers. The drivers are complemented by a 6.5-
by 6.5-inch square passive radiator on back.
It also features separate bass and treble controls, minijack
input to connect other sources, and credit-card IR remote, which controls Zune
menus, bass and treble, and aux-in option. The device’s standby mode will
charge a docked portable even when the system is powered down.