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Microsoft: Zune HD Coming In The Fall

Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft’s next-generation Zune portable media player (PMP) will be the company’s first Zune with touchscreen, full Web browser, HD Radio and HD video storage, the company confirmed.

The new device, called Zune HD, will be available in the fall. It will continue to offer Wi-Fi to download and

stream music directly from the Zune Web site. Pricing and storage capacities weren’t announced.

In a separate announcement, the company said it will extend Zune movie and TV downloads to the Xbox Live Video Marketplace in the fall.

Zune HD will come with 3.3-inch 16:9 OLED touchscreen with 480 by 272 resolution and an interface that lets users flick through songs, movies and other content. The device stores 720p HD video, which can be output to an HD display via planned docking stations that incorporate HDMI output. Although 720p video files play on the device, it is down-scaled to fit the Zune display.

With the incorporation of multicast HD Radio reception, the Zune is the first HD Radio-equipped portable audio device to be announced. The device also features tagging of songs heard over HD Radio or the embedded analog-FM tuner for later purchase from the Zune Web site.

In making its Xbox LIVE announcement, Microsoft said Zune will occupy the first slot within the Xbox user interface in the Xbox Live Video Marketplace. The change will expose the Zune brand experience to millions of consumers for the first time, the company said.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week, Microsoft said it will demonstrate how Zune integrates into Xbox Live.