Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Microsoft is killing off the Zune and Windows Live brands in Windows 8

  1. #11


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    I personally believe that the Zune Software is FAR superior to itunes. I wish that Microsoft came into the digital player game sooner than 2006 when apple already cemented in their status as the one and only standard of digital mp3 players. If Microsoft released a better product sooner and better than the ipod and ACTUALLY did proper marketing for it, we would be living in a different world revolving around a different brand.
    I owned the original Zune 30, a Zune 8 GB flash model, and the Zune HD. I never owned an iPod until I bought my Touch 1.5 years ago and sold all my Zune stuff. I'm so glad I did. I immediately found iTunes far superior to "the Zune software", which never even had a name. iTunes is far faster with my large collection. iTunes lets me customize the view with much more flexibility. iTunes can play gapless reliably. iTunes doesn't grovel the hard drive endlessly looking for new media, which I vastly prefer. iTunes doesn't change metadata in my files from time to time forcing unnecessary backups. Neat little subtle features fall out of iTunes' superior design that simply are not possible with the Zune software. iTunes didn't force Windows 7 libraries on me like the Zune software did, which was a huge problem as Media Center followed the same stupidity of forcing Windows 7 libraries on the user as its only source of files, only it had an endless library rebuilding bug which made the Music Library unusable. Even if you never used Music in Media Center, there would be endless disk activity due to the bug, and thus I had to remove all folders from the Music Library, which had the side effect of removing all content from the Zune software as well. Microsoft only relented on this for the Zune software after hundreds of people assailed them in the old Zune forum. Note that the ridiculous things (WMP/WMC and the Zune software) used the same rigid method of defining the file source, but they maintained totally separate databases and disk grovelers, and Microsoft thought that was OK. I could go on. I can't think of a single thing iTunes doesn't do better than the Zune software, at least as things existed 1.5 years ago. I can't imagine this has changed any.

    With hindsight, the only reason ever to own a Zune was the Zune Pass, and the Zune pass was terrible. Content regularly went missing or simply wasn't available to begin with. Tracks 10 minutes in length or longer were almost all "Album Only", meaning you couldn't download them with your monthly allotment of "10 tracks to keep"; you'd have to buy the whole album. And most albums contain more than 10 tracks, so to download an entire album to keep with your 10 free downloads, you'd have to do it over multiple months. And some of the encodings were bad and wouldn't play gaplessly on any device or with any program. However, I could buy the CD, rip it, and it would play gaplessly everywhere, except of course with Microsoft software, which has never been reliable at gapless. I ended up replacing all my Zune Pass "tracks to keep" with my own rips.

    Microsoft is complete and utter FAIL for music. I would say that for multimedia in general, as there is superior free software for everything except TV. Media Center remains the only real game in town for DVR, and this is literally true if you want to use CableCARD. Otherwise, for library-type browsing, I'm using iTunes and its Remote App for music and XBMC for non-TV video, while for launching files directly from Explorer, I'm using foobar2000 for music files and VLC for video files. I can play everything, and no shady "codec packs" that can cause problems in Media Center are required. I continue to use Media Center for TV only because there is no other choice.

    I say all this as someone who used only Microsoft software for multimedia (WMP, WMC, and the Zune software) up until I got fed up with Zune 1.5 years ago and bought the iPod Touch. It was my good experience with iTunes and the first Apple equipment I'd owned since the early 90s that helped me get adventurous with other non-Microsoft multimedia software, like foobar2000, VLC, and XBMC. It's been a revelation.

    As for the future, and ignoring the streaming capabilities of the noisy, huge, power-hungry, expensive Xbox 360, the only thing Microsoft has got going for it in multimedia is the Media Center DVR functionality. It's literally the only thing on any computer that can do CableCARD. And sadly, by all appearances, Media Center is a legacy product for Windows 8 and hasn't seen even any bug fixes for several years on Windows 7. The opportunity is ripe for some other large company to swoop down and pick up the slack in this area, and it doesn't have to be on Windows. And then I won't need Microsoft at all for any multimedia.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by crawfish View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    I personally believe that the Zune Software is FAR superior to itunes. I wish that Microsoft came into the digital player game sooner than 2006 when apple already cemented in their status as the one and only standard of digital mp3 players. If Microsoft released a better product sooner and better than the ipod and ACTUALLY did proper marketing for it, we would be living in a different world revolving around a different brand.
    I owned the original Zune 30, a Zune 8 GB flash model, and the Zune HD. I never owned an iPod until I bought my Touch 1.5 years ago and sold all my Zune stuff. I'm so glad I did. I immediately found iTunes far superior to "the Zune software", which never even had a name. iTunes is far faster with my large collection. iTunes lets me customize the view with much more flexibility. iTunes can play gapless reliably. iTunes doesn't grovel the hard drive endlessly looking for new media, which I vastly prefer. iTunes doesn't change metadata in my files from time to time forcing unnecessary backups. Neat little subtle features fall out of iTunes' superior design that simply are not possible with the Zune software. iTunes didn't force Windows 7 libraries on me like the Zune software did, which was a huge problem as Media Center followed the same stupidity of forcing Windows 7 libraries on the user as its only source of files, only it had an endless library rebuilding bug which made the Music Library unusable. Even if you never used Music in Media Center, there would be endless disk activity due to the bug, and thus I had to remove all folders from the Music Library, which had the side effect of removing all content from the Zune software as well. Microsoft only relented on this for the Zune software after hundreds of people assailed them in the old Zune forum. Note that the ridiculous things (WMP/WMC and the Zune software) used the same rigid method of defining the file source, but they maintained totally separate databases and disk grovelers, and Microsoft thought that was OK. I could go on. I can't think of a single thing iTunes doesn't do better than the Zune software, at least as things existed 1.5 years ago. I can't imagine this has changed any.

    With hindsight, the only reason ever to own a Zune was the Zune Pass, and the Zune pass was terrible. Content regularly went missing or simply wasn't available to begin with. Tracks 10 minutes in length or longer were almost all "Album Only", meaning you couldn't download them with your monthly allotment of "10 tracks to keep"; you'd have to buy the whole album. And most albums contain more than 10 tracks, so to download an entire album to keep with your 10 free downloads, you'd have to do it over multiple months. And some of the encodings were bad and wouldn't play gaplessly on any device or with any program. However, I could buy the CD, rip it, and it would play gaplessly everywhere, except of course with Microsoft software, which has never been reliable at gapless. I ended up replacing all my Zune Pass "tracks to keep" with my own rips.

    Microsoft is complete and utter FAIL for music. I would say that for multimedia in general, as there is superior free software for everything except TV. Media Center remains the only real game in town for DVR, and this is literally true if you want to use CableCARD. Otherwise, for library-type browsing, I'm using iTunes and its Remote App for music and XBMC for non-TV video, while for launching files directly from Explorer, I'm using foobar2000 for music files and VLC for video files. I can play everything, and no shady "codec packs" that can cause problems in Media Center are required. I continue to use Media Center for TV only because there is no other choice.

    I say all this as someone who used only Microsoft software for multimedia (WMP, WMC, and the Zune software) up until I got fed up with Zune 1.5 years ago and bought the iPod Touch. It was my good experience with iTunes and the first Apple equipment I'd owned since the early 90s that helped me get adventurous with other non-Microsoft multimedia software, like foobar2000, VLC, and XBMC. It's been a revelation.

    As for the future, and ignoring the streaming capabilities of the noisy, huge, power-hungry, expensive Xbox 360, the only thing Microsoft has got going for it in multimedia is the Media Center DVR functionality. It's literally the only thing on any computer that can do CableCARD. And sadly, by all appearances, Media Center is a legacy product for Windows 8 and hasn't seen even any bug fixes for several years on Windows 7. The opportunity is ripe for some other large company to swoop down and pick up the slack in this area, and it doesn't have to be on Windows. And then I won't need Microsoft at all for any multimedia.
    I used to use iTunes ever since 2003 and recently switched to the Zune Software, namely because of my Windows Phone 7 and the fact that it is better than itunes. Before, I had to install itunes, then I had to locate my music files and link them into itunes. iTunes will then had to organize it and calculate the "seemless" playback and grovel the hard drive during such time. It also for some reason now starts to play the first song in your library, which annoys me to no end. The Zune Software has allowed me to navigate through my large music library through a simple Artists column, which I only need to type to search an artist if I wanted to. If I wanted to find an artist, say Red Hot Chili Peppers, all I need to do in Zune after it takes 15 seconds to start up, is to type "red" and it goes right to the artist. And if I wanted to find a specific song, I just need to click once in the Song column and type "monarchy" and then hit Enter and the song Monarchy of Roses starts playing. In itunes, after it takes a good 30 seconds to startup and some extra time when Windows boots up because of it's three automatic startup services, I would need to hit R and find Red Hot Chili Peppers, then click on that. And to find a song, I would need to hit individual letter keys or type in the dinky search bar. I could use the search bar in the first play, but then again, I could just navigate to my Music library and do that and use Windows Media Player then. If I have music that has naked album covers or the wrong cover, Zune can find the correct ones and automatically paste the new ones in. I can even do that myself with a single album by just searching for the album in the Zune Marketplace and it will use that info for my album. Of course, I could always change some settings in Zune to not do all of this.

    I like the fact that Zune integrates itself to your Windows libraries. I don't have to link up files or anything. I actually use my Libraries for how they're intended, to link up multiple locations of similar media in one, single place. All I have to do is after it installs, let it find and link files for about a minute or two and that's it; music, pictures, and videos all in Zune. iTunes looks like a monochrome mess that is still stuck in the year 2002. The Zune Software is fresh, modern, and metro. Not only that, the Zune Software is a dual interface setup. It has the clean media navigator, then I can go the Now Playing visualizer that turns listening to music into a whole audio/visual experience. iTunes has done a good job at creating a digital media marktetplace so we can consume the content, but the Zune Software has been what no other's have done: make it an experience. I've never actually seen what some artists and bands look like and how their styles reflect in their music that I'm listening to. I can see how The Beatles have changed over the decades and find out the background information of Depeche Mode. I can have Zune compile a playlist of related songs and I can find related artists and genres easily.

    I'll give you the fact that Microsoft is abhorrent in media. WMP and WMC to me are just awful. Media player's navigations SUCKS! Media Center looks like Zune Lite and is just bleh. Microsoft seems like they're fixing past mistakes and failures by killing the Zune brand and renaming the Live brand. I'd love to see Windows Media Center become a true CENTER of media, and one that looks like the Zune Software and does what it can do. I want to see Media Player die off and integrate its quickness into Media Center. I want to see it be able to not only connect a Windows Phone to and manage it, but always idevices as well to give the ultimate middle finger to apple. I want Media Center for Windows 8 the be the ultimate media player for everything and be the one stop shop for media as well.

    In hindsight, the main reason I ditched apple products in deference to Microsoft's offerings is that I am a vehement despiser of apple and all it is worth and all it stands for. To me, I think they're the biggest scam in the tech industry.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #13


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    I used to use iTunes ever since 2003 and recently switched to the Zune Software, namely because of my Windows Phone 7 and the fact that it is better than itunes. Before, I had to install itunes, then I had to locate my music files and link them into itunes. iTunes will then had to organize it and calculate the "seemless" playback and grovel the hard drive during such time.
    The beauty of iTunes is that it does a "full grovel" ONCE, not every time you start the program (as per the Zune software, which relies on automatically locating new files) or at random background times (WMP/WMC). That's what I like about it. That's what makes a newly started iTunes so quickly responsive with large collections, while the Zune software took quite a few seconds to get up to speed so that scrolling through the list didn't lag.

    It also for some reason now starts to play the first song in your library, which annoys me to no end.
    iTunes has never, ever done that in my experience.

    The Zune Software has allowed me to navigate through my large music library through a simple Artists column, which I only need to type to search an artist if I wanted to. If I wanted to find an artist, say Red Hot Chili Peppers, all I need to do in Zune after it takes 15 seconds to start up, is to type "red" and it goes right to the artist.
    I do exactly that all the time in iTunes, except I can do it within 2-3 seconds of launching iTunes. That's partly what I meant when I said iTunes is far faster with my large collection than the Zune software. A 25,000 file music library is not a problem for iTunes. I was truly sick and tired of the slow-to-start, laggy Zune software.

    If I have music that has naked album covers or the wrong cover, Zune can find the correct ones and automatically paste the new ones in. I can even do that myself with a single album by just searching for the album in the Zune Marketplace and it will use that info for my album. Of course, I could always change some settings in Zune to not do all of this.
    I found Microsoft so bad for adding the wrong or just plain inferior album art to files that didn't come from Zune Marketplace that I disabled all its metadata updating features, and I even used to make all my music files read-only for extra security. That's when I started using Mp3tag to manage metadata, choosing the best art from albumartexchange.com and amazon.com. I had to give up some of this security as the Zune software began to require one to allow it to add "missing information" in order for all its features to work. I don't remember the details, but I do remember the Zune software caused my backups to take longer due to its updating my files with hidden metadata. iTunes does not do that. Once added to the library, iTunes leaves the files alone, which is what I want. As for what iTunes can do with album art, it does have a feature "Get Album Artwork", which I assume works. I've never used it, though.

    I like the fact that Zune integrates itself to your Windows libraries. I don't have to link up files or anything. I actually use my Libraries for how they're intended, to link up multiple locations of similar media in one, single place. All I have to do is after it installs, let it find and link files for about a minute or two and that's it; music, pictures, and videos all in Zune.
    I gave a very good reason in my last message why one should demand the ability to select sources on a program-by-program basis. I think it was January 2010 that Microsoft released the Zune software update that forced Windows 7 libraries as the only source. After hundreds of complaints on the old Zune message board, they finally published a registry hack that allowed one to specify locations for the Zune software to look for things. It was in the next update months later that they added back the GUI for it, which they had deleted in the previous update. It's a very, very bad idea for any program to look only in Windows 7 libraries and provide no way to exclude those locations or add other locations, and that's what Microsoft did in Windows 7 WMP and WMC (which they've never fixed), and what they did to Zune a few months later. Besides preventing people from arranging their files the way they want and thoroughly screwing up existing arrangements, this was terrible because of the endless library rebuilding bug and background groveling that characterize WMP and WMC. If you wanted to use the Zune software circa Jan 2010, you had to use the Windows 7 Libraries, and you couldn't avoid the WMP/WMC misbehavior, which affected the system on a background basis. FWIW, I was posting about this in Sept 2009 in Microsoft forums warning them not to make the Zune software solely dependent on Windows 7 Libraries. So of course Microsoft did it anyway, and the problem I predicted came true, along with all the complaints about that boneheaded decision, which uncharacteristically, they did address.

    Not only that, the Zune Software is a dual interface setup. It has the clean media navigator, then I can go the Now Playing visualizer that turns listening to music into a whole audio/visual experience. iTunes has done a good job at creating a digital media marktetplace so we can consume the content, but the Zune Software has been what no other's have done: make it an experience. I've never actually seen what some artists and bands look like and how their styles reflect in their music that I'm listening to. I can see how The Beatles have changed over the decades and find out the background information of Depeche Mode. I can have Zune compile a playlist of related songs and I can find related artists and genres easily.
    I don't care about any of that. Concerning the "related" stuff, I think iTunes did it first with the "Genius" feature. While Zune has "The Social" (which was a miserable failure), iTunes has "Ping" (also a miserable failure). I turn all that stuff off in iTunes. As for the information about bands that Zune can provide, I can find better, more complete information with google, when I'm interested enough to look for it. It's nice Zune can do it, but I don't miss that feature. I don't know if iTunes can do it, because I've never looked. I think I remember reading that Ping can do at least some of it, though.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Microsoft is killing off the Zune and Windows Live brands in Windows 8
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