New Zune Won’t be an iPod Killer but it’s Just as Good

Sep 12, 2008
Updated • Feb 12, 2013
Music and Video

Microsoft announced it’s latest lineup of Zune products to a fairly underwhelming response, which was  frankly also fairly well expected.

It’s easy to get cynical about the Zune, especially considering Microsoft’s promises about delivering an amazing iPod killing device three years back.

The original Zune was pretty ugly, far too bulky and came in an attractive poo-brown. It still sold a million units however and Microsoft stayed in the game to bring out the Zune 2. For me the problems with the original Zune where that it failed to deliver anything the iPod didn’t have and came with some hideous software which was one of the biggest issues.

The wifi connectivity was almost un-utilised when it could have been a fantastic addition to an mp3 player and instead Microsoft let Apple steal it’s thunder with the iPod touch.\

The Zune 2 however was actually good enough that the best most commentaries could come up with where that it still wasn’t a success. The Zune software had been rewritten from scratch, the Zune interface was new, unique and attractive and the devices themselves where slimmer and far better designed then the first generation.

When my friend bought one (over Ebay, the Zune still isn’t released in Australia) what I loved the most was the navigational trackpad. The iPod scroll wheel was always one of the devices greatest strengths and something other companies struggled to compete with in their own products. The Zune however introduces a trackpad which has the same strengths as the scrollwheel (quick navigation through long song lists) while having an additional strength – ability to click up and down like a normal 4 direction pad which makes it a whole lot easier for moving up and down a couple songs at a time.

The generation 3 Zune is an incremental upgrade and is mostly changes in the services, firmware and pricing of the product, but still worth purchasing, check out Paul Thurrot’s review. I’m looking forward to trying the new software, some great new changes there.

As Paul mentions, the Zune 3 update is available for all Zune owners, even the original Zune 30. This is a great move on Microsoft’s part and actually shows they care about customers more then pushing them into buying the latest and greatest version.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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