Microsoft to take media player fight to Apple

    Zune V2 promises new era of high definition streaming capabilities.
    Zune HD is set to challenge Apple's iPod Touch for market dominance.
    Zune HD is set to challenge Apple's iPod Touch for market dominance.

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    Microsoft’s redesigned Zune HD portable media player will be the first to incorporate high definition video, radio and Wi-Fi capabilities when it is released next month, the company has claimed.

    Powered by NVIDIA’s next-generation Tegra processor, the media player – which has struggled against rival offerings from Apple – will also incorporate an organic LED (OLED) touchscreen.

    The Tegra chip, which has been customised for Zune, incorporates eight independent processors – one each for HD video, audio and graphics – and two ARM cores.

    The processors can work together or independently to minimise power consumption.

    Zune’s Wi-Fi capabilities will enable users to stream 720p quality HD content directly from the player to a television receiver. Microsoft will sell a docking station accessory that will simplify this task.

    In the US, a 16 Gb version of Zune HD will retail for US$219, undercutting the equivalent iPod Touch by $80. The 32 Gb version, which is priced at $289, will beat out the equivalent iPod offering by $110.

    Both models will hit stores on September 15. A Middle East release date is yet to be confirmed.

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