Microsoft Zune becomes exclusive audio provider for United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment

In a smart marketing move, Microsoft’s Zune service has become the exclusive audio provider for United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment. Of course, this does not mean all passengers will be handed a Zune, the collaboration merely means the music experts behind Zune put together the music on all United Airlines domestic and international flights.

The 21 channels of digital programming include selections like classic rock, electronic dance, piano jazz and opera. Of course, United will still be in charge of their awesome channel 9 cockpit audio channel.

As a fan of Zune, I’ve always been impressed with their features, and taking their musical skills to the skies seems like a very smart step.

Microsoft Zune HD available today

Our friends over at Engadget got their hands all over the new Microsoft Zune HD. For those that haven’t been paying attention to the latest media player to come out Redmond, the Zune HD features a large OLED touch screen, along with a built in FM/HD radio, HD video output and 33 hours of music playback off a single battery charge. Like the original Zune lineup, the Zune HD also includes WiFi and support for Zune Pass, their $15/month all-you-can-eat music service.

Later this year, the Zune HD will become even better, with the addition of 3D games (powered by its impressive Nvidia Tegra processor) and it’ll gain support for Twitter and Facebook.

The Zune HD is available in 16GB ($219.99) and 32GB ($289.99). The Zune HD dock pack includes all the cables you need, a dock, a remote and an AC adapter, and retails for $89.99. The new Zune HD is available today from your local electronics superstore of favorite online retailer.

Daily gear deals – $50 camcorder, 400GB portable storage and more

Here are the hottest gadget deals for today, Wednesday June 3rd 2009. Remember, these deals are often only valid for one day, so act fast before they are gone!

The first deal in today’s lineup is the Flip Ultra 30 minute digital camcorder. Yes, 30 minutes is rather short, but $50 is also rather low for such a decent little camcorder.

If you regularly carry a lot of data, then it may be worth taking a closer look at this Fujitsu 400GB portable hard drive.The normal retail price is $90, but it is currently on sale for just $69.99 and comes with free shipping, as well as a bundle of backup and security software.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the Jabra SP700 Bluetooth car kit. This fantastic portable car kit normally sells for about $70, but is still on sale for just $30. You will need to “view other sellers” on the product page to find the reseller offering the Jabra at this low price (Shopcell). As a reminder – this carkit connects to any Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, and allows for handsfree calls in your car.

And finally, if you are looking for a media player, check out this Zune 4GB deal over at – not only do you get the Zune itself, but they also throw in a car kit and a pair of the Zune premium headphones. Normal retail price for this kit is about $150, but you can order one for just $87.77 with free shipping.

Daily gear deal – Pink 4GB Zune with free car kit for $74.99

Mothers day is coming up again (May 10th), which means we’ll start seeing more pink gadgets go on sale.

If you want to get shopping a little early this year, check out this deal from – they currently have the Microsoft Zune 4GB Pink on sale for $74.99, with a free car kit.

The car kit consists of a charger/FM transmitter. Normally, the 4GB Zune retails for about $95 and the car kit for $25, making this deal about $45 cheaper than normal retail prices.

The package even ships for free (with slow ground shipping), but you can upgrade to 2 day shipping for just $5.95.

The player is of course perfect for traveling, and the addition of the car kit means mom (or anyone else you buy this for) will be able to enjoy tunes in the (rental) car.

Product review – Microsoft Zune AV kit

In my final installment of “convince people the Microsoft Zune rocks”, I’m going to give you a quick look at the Zune AV kit. I’ve featured this pack of accessories before when I showed how to hook your own equipment up to the hotel TV.

As a refresher, here are the reasons I think the Zune is the best option out there are the moment for an MP3 player – the price is right, the interface is fantastic and the desktop software and Zune service are brilliant.

As I mentioned in my original review, there are not that many accessories for the device, certainly not as many as for the iPod, but the accessories that are available, are actually very good.
The Zune AV kit consists of the following parts:

  • docking base
  • composite video/audio cable
  • remote control
  • AC adapter
  • Various docking base adapters

The kit functions in several ways – you can plug the composite audio/video cable into the headphone jack of the Zune, and plug it directly into your TV. You can also plug the Zune into the docking base, then plug the AV cable into the dock.

When you plug the AC adapter into the Zune dock or your computer, you power the built in remote control receiver, which means you can now control the Zune using the included pocket remote.

Unlike other players, the Zune actually displays everything from its screen onto the TV – this means you can sit back and use the remote to pick music, photos or movies, without having to pick your content on the device first.

When you use the Zune AV kit with an 80GB Zune, you can also use the Component connectors, hidden behind a removable panel on the rear or the dock. When you use these outputs on a TV with component inputs, you’ll get a clearer picture, and while it won’t be in HD, it will look pretty damn good.

The best part of the Zune AV kit? The price. The kit has an MSRP of just $59.99. To make that even better, you can pick the kit up from Amazon for under $44! This is insanely low when you compare it with “that other’ brand of player, where the dock alone costs more than the entire Zune kit.

In an ideal world, the Zune AV kit would come with a carrying pouch, but the product isn’t really designed to be taken on your trips, even though it functions perfectly “on the road“.

All in all a solid and easy to use product with the kind of price that makes clicking “buy now” so much easier.