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Zune HD AV Dock
|Price:||$35.45 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details|
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- Watch supported 720p HD movies, TV shows, and videos in high definition on your HDTV
- Send music to your home audio system
- Charge your Zune HD player while docked
- Control your Zune with the included wireless remote
- Allows syncing of supported HD videos
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This all-in-one package enables your Zune HD to charge sync and play HD videos on your HDTV. Send music and HD Radio reception to your home audio system and control it all via a wireless remote. (Zune HD player sold separately.)
- Display HD video and photos on your TV.
- For 720p HD video, plug the included HDMI cable to your HDTV. Zune HD player required.
- For 480i standard resolution, plug in the AV output cable to your TV. Zune HD, Zune 120, or Zune 80 players required.
- Listen to your music collection or HD Radio stations. Connect to your home audio system using the provided cables. (Zune HD player required for HD Radio reception.)
- Wireless remote control. The wireless remote allows you to control your Zune player from anywhere in the room.
- Small and convenient AC adapter. This small AC adapter easily fits into crowded power strips.
- Included: dock, three inserts (one for each Zune model), wireless remote, AC adapter, HDMI cable, and AV output cable.
Zune players sold separately. Zune HD player and HDTV are required to view supported video files at 720p HD resolution and listen to HD Radio reception. HD Radio is not currently available in Canada. Click here for more information about HD Radio.
Top Customer Reviews
Couple things threw me.
This needs a power source. You either power it from the USB power of a PC, or you use the USB to AC adapter which is included. You can't just throw the Zune HD in the doc with nothing for a power source.
If you use it with your PC's USB port for power, it duos as a sync dock. That means, Marketplace will auto start and want to sync with your Zune. And it's up to you to quit that software so that the Zune HD will display it's menu on your LCD or Plasma TV. It help s to read the manual, but who's kidding who here. Manuals? I thought those were just extra box padding, right?
I actually believe it's best to place this right next to your TV and use AC power. Leave the remote right next to the dock by your TV. Then all you ever have to do is place it in the dock when you want to use it with your TV. I'd rather keep using the sync cable that came with the Zune HD as the sync method, and leave this exclusively for the TV.
So enough of that hardware and on to the good stuff.
You won't get all of the menu items on your Zune HD on your LCD TV with this. I was actually hoping you would. I was hoping you'd get to browse the internet on it or something. Wouldn't that be cool. Here is what you do get:
I truly wanted this to watch video podcasts and movies on my 32" LCD TV. Many podcasts will not look too good, but at least I can watch Jim Cramer's Mad Money on CNBC on my TV via the podcast. That's pretty great in my opinion. So on to the movies:
I bought an HD movie on Zune Marketplace called "Battle for Terra". If you do look for this title, cause it's great for kids, you mostly see TERRA in the title. "Battle for" is written smaller. So just look for something like TERRA in big letters. The movie is very good and worth watching. So how did it look?
I am in utter awe of this now. You will be too. Right at the start when the intro starts, you see how crisp and clean the video is on your wide screen HD TV. And just that quickly you see where your money went, and oh boy is it worth it. WOW! I still cannot believe this little tiny Zune HD drove my 32" HD TV without any compromise. It's perfect, five stars wow. You get a remote too, so sit back and enjoy the movie. In fact, I like this so much, I am now trying to figure out who to write a letter to so as to convince them to make a much smaller portable version of this dock for travel. They should make an app for PowerPoint viewing as well. I'd love to have a single small cable that just went from Zune to HDMI so I could walk into a hotel and plug this right into their TV and watch MY Movies, not what the hotel offers. This is the world's smallest video library as far as I can tell.
The Zune HD's Tegra video chip works! It really works. I have small laptops that can't produce video output this well. We are entering into a new age. I can see so much more opportunity for technology like this. But to keep this review on point, I'll just state that the movie, which I watched from start to finish, was crisp, clear and perfect. No skips of any kind. It's in fact better than DVD or Blu-ray for one simple reason... You can't have any disc issues. You're playing the video off NAND memory. No moving parts! And that means stability. I'd rather have this than a DVD or Blu-ray player. Why not just buy or rent our movies and get them right over the internet. You know why that has always sounded like a bad idea? Because never before could you really take that movie with you somewhere. Not truly anyway. Portable means you can go to your friends house and watch the movie you rented there. And with this, you can do just that. Of course they have to have a dock too, or you have to take yours with you. Which is why I state that a portable cord would be the killer app for this. We're so close to making digital purchase and rental truly perfect. I know that's what I want. I want to rent or buy a movie, and I want to be able to watch it on my friend's TV or mine. For now, I am watching on mine and I can watch it on the device itself. Which is by the way so much better than an iPod Touch. Why? One huge reason...
OLED vs LED based LCD
All Zune HDs use OLED, not LCD. And the difference isn't rocket science. I'm sure your friends have an iPod Touch or iPhone. Watch the screen and tilt it in your hands. Because the light source is behind the screen you will notice that the picture gets horrible the more your angle changes. Okay, this is why many devices tell you what the viewing angle is.
OLED doesn't have a light source behind the panels. It's all just one technology. The results are far better image quality and from virtually any angle. See for yourself. The Zune HD's video performance is the best screen you likely own. I know it sounds like I'm a nut, but it's true. See for yourself. The Zune HD has a OLED screen and an nVidia Tegra video processor. This little Zune is state of the art for video. It will rival many laptops for video performance.
Anyway, the Zune AV blew me away. Watch Podcasts on your TV. I love that, though the picture quality of your average podcast is not great. But buy or rent movies on the Zune HD and you will be so very impressed.
Now, the AV dock comes with EVERYTHING you need. I know the first two reviewer said things like, buy the other dock, and buy your own HDMI cable. Neither of them actually state that the $50 dock as an HDMI or not. So I still don't know, but I am guessing that's what they mean. But before you do that, consider this.
In the AV dock for the Zune HD, you get the following:
The dock itself
A USB power adapter
The regular RCA type cables in case you don't have an HDMI based TV
And a remote
The dock even has TOSLINK which is that fiber type connector.
In other words, you buy this kit and you're covered. Everything you need is here. The Doc has a built in cable that is USB on the other end and that goes into the PC for sync or attaches to a power block with AC prongs for AC power in any standard power strip. There is a built in FM HD antenna as well.
There is one thing I wish it had. I wish it had the Zune Marketplace right on the menu when you are docked into your HD TV. It would be even better if you could dock it, and then go to the marketplace and watch previews and then buy or rent right from your HD TV. Microsoft is perhaps one generation away from the next big leap forward. Perhaps the next generation Zune will finally put the nails in the coffins of DVD and Blu-ray. We're very close to having a system that just replaces both of those silly old technologies.
This thing is $89 but it's so worth it. Call me crazy, but I'm seriously considering buying another one of these docks and giving it my friend for his TV so I can plug my zune in over there when I visit. Maybe one for the HD TV in the office AV room as well. Microsoft should really create the next zune to easily attach to any TV with just a single cable.
Now for the gripes:
For some reason, you have to completely power off the Zune before you place it in the dock. I realize this is an issue with the Zune, not the dock, but it still seems relevant. I had a couple days of frustration before I found the solution in some Zune forum. I would imagine this will be eventually be fixed in a software update at some point. It is not really a big deal, but it is kind of annoying.
The other issue is the price. It just seems a little high. Don't get me wrong, the dock does what it is supposed to and does it well for the most part. It just seems a bit high to me.
Overall, I am very happy with it and can't honestly say I wouldn't buy it all over again knowing what I know now. In fact, the A/V output capability of the Zune HD has resulted in it being used almost exclusively in the house, as opposed to the car for which it was originally purchased.
But build-quality is not the deal-breaking issue. Functionality and inconsistency is.
When the HD is in the dock and video-out is "off" (meaning that the device's screen displays the UI), you cannot navigate through the UI with the remote control. The only buttons that work are play/pause, track next/prev, vol up/down, and home buttons. Inserting a previous generation Zune device, like a Zune 80, shows that full navigation is still available to the device. (my conclusion is that it is the HD's firmware that is the culprit not any particular limitation of the dock)
When the HD is in the dock and video-out is "on" (meaning that the attached TV displays the UI), only Music, Video, Pictures, Radio, and Podcasts options are displayed. Internet, Apps, Marketplace, and Settings are not visible nor accessible. Remote control navigation is active however.
But... when using the remote to navigate, if you go to the Video section and browse the description of a video and press the PLAY button (instead of the center button on the upper direction rocker button) then MUSIC plays instead of the video that is currently being displayed.
The navigation rocker button and media control buttons perform separate functions... unlike previous generations where the buttons did double-duty.
Using the HDMI output presents a surprisingly good image on an HDTV. Even .mp4 videos that were originally encoded 320 pixels wide and 700Kbps bitrates look near-DVD quality on a 42" LCD tv. That was a pleasant surprise and meant that I could continue to encode my videos that could play on a variety of devices and still have it display nicely on a large tv.
The now-playing visuals look nice on the tv as well.
It is possible that Microsoft could release a firmware update to correct these navigation issues with the dock. But until then make your buying decision knowing the facts.