Apple, Napster and Spotify better look out: Microsoft has expanded its Zune service to European users, with Australia, New Zealand and Japan set to follow in a matter of weeks. Previously, Europeans could stream movies using Zune, but now – depending on where you live – this service has been extended to offer music and videos for outright purchase, plus unlimited streaming through a monthly Zune Pass subscription.
UK and French users get the best deal with access to everything offer; other European users may find certain services missing (Germans don’t get access to the Zune Pass for example) – visit www.zune.net to see exactly what’s on offer depending on where you live.
Microsoft has also rolled out Microsoft Zune 4.7, an updated version of its free Windows client. This acts both as a media player for content on your PC, and a portal for accessing Zune’s content. It will also allow you to wirelessly synchronise data between your PC, Windows 7 phone and Xbox 360. Microsoft has also recently confirmed plans to release a Mac version of the client, with a public beta likely to appear before the end of the year.
Where applicable, the Zune Pass will cost £8.99 or €9.99 a month, while content will also be available for purchase and rental – sadly, while US holders of a Zune Pass can keep 10 tracks for each month they hold their subscription, this won’t be available to European users. A Windows Live ID is required to access Zune, and a 14-day free trial of the Zune Pass is available when you install the PC client, which is available in both separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
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