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Tuesday May 6, 2008 12:39 am

Zune 2.5 client launches TV downloads, Zune Card social sharing

Zune 2.5 Video Store

As of this moment, Microsoft’s team is deploying the new Zune 2.5 software out to the Internets, with the hopes that it will result in many more people getting down with the Social. We got a sneak peak at some of the new features that the crew is rolling out, and we must say, it’s very apparent that they’ve put a lot of thought and a lot of work into tightening up some of the loose ends.

So, first things first, a huge part of this update is about connecting with friends, and discovering new music. This is being done by way of the overhauled Zune Card, which is a quick snapshot of anyones Zune profile. It auto-updates to reflect the latest music played by a user, their favorite songs, and top songs from most played artists. Even cooler, you can take these Zune Cards with you by syncing them up with your Zune device. This will give you a glimpse into what your friends are listening to, and if you are a Zune Pass subscriber, you automatically get the last 6 songs from each category of the Zune Pass, for each person you add. That’s a new 18 tracks per Zune Card that you choose to sync to your device.

The other major thing here is the additon of the Zune Video Store. In addition to the music videos that you are probably used to seeing (which also gets an overhaul, as all music videos now have a dedicated section,) the Spring Update also brings TV downloads to life. For 160 Microsoft Points (or, about $2.00), you can purchase content from a vast array of television shows. We’re talking about content like South Park, The Office, Heroes, 30 Rock, The Hills, Battlestar Galactica, Afro Samurai, and much more. They can be viewed on up to 5 PCs, and can be sync’d to your Zune device as well.

There are a few smaller updates as well, all in the interest of creating a better user experience. All are definitely welcome changes:

Auto playlists. You know the Smart Playlists in ? Those.

Editing album and track information. This is cool. The updated Zune software now includes a way for you to quickly and easily manage the metadata of all your music. Our favorite was the dragging and dropping of albums onto each other, thus combining them into one when the software incorrectly thinks they are separate. Works great for soundtracks and compilations.

Gapless playback. A feature that should have been there from the very beginning, quite frankly. Glad to see it finally make an appearance.

Syncing groups. Another nice feature. When determining what music you want to sync to your devices, you can actually pre-set where you want the Zune software to put it. Have two Zunes, but only want to put your friends Zune Cards on one of them? No sweat, even if the wrong Zune is plugged in. Nice.

There are a few more bells and whistles in the Zune 2.5 Spring Update. All in all, color us impressed. Meantime, feel free to also check out a few images of some of the new features in our Zune 2.5 gallery.

Read More | Zune 2.5 gallery

Gallery: Zune 2.5 client launches TV downloads, Zune Card social sharing

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