FutureFive NZ - Microsoft to launch NZ movie, music download service

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Microsoft to launch NZ movie, music download service

Microsoft will launch its digital entertainment service Zune later this year in New Zealand, as the company prepares to roll out Windows Phone 7.

The latest version of the Zune software (version 4.7) will be available to download for free in more than 20 countries. Like iTunes and other media suites, it allows you to easily manage movies, music, podcasts and pictures. The update will also introduce streaming of high-definition movies, though you might want to consult your data cap before getting into that.

"The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Live is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings," said Craig Eisler, Corporate VP, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. "Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it — and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers."

Here’s a round-up of what Microsoft announced:

  • Zune Pass (U.K., France, Italy and Spain). The monthly music subscription service will be available for 9.99 euros /8.99 pounds per month for unlimited Zune music downloads and streaming to Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Live. US prices stay at US$14.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming access, with the ability to keep 10 MP3s per month.

  • Music purchase (U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany). Expansion to these markets will enable consumers to purchase MP3s and listen on their Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 or any other device that supports MP3 format. Users will also be able to purchase music videos.

  • Video purchase (U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere in the house via Xbox Live, Windows-based PC and Windows Phone 7.

  • Movie rental (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). In addition to Zune video on Xbox Live, consumers in these countries will now be able to rent movies for viewing on their Windows-based PC or choose to sync the rental to their Windows Phone 7.

It’ll be an uphill battle for Zune in a market dominated by Apple and iTunes. Do we have any Zune evangelists out there?

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