It's hard to keep up with all the changes coming in the Zune HD wave of products and services, but here's a peek at some of the new functionality in the Zune 4.0 PC software. Like the Zune HD itself, there's a lot going on here, and while the software may look a lot like its predecessor, there are major improvements all around. I'll cover this more deeply in the review, but for now, here are a few things I've noticed.
Full screen mode. Finally, the Zune PC software supports a true full screen playback mode. In Zune 2.x and 3.x, you could always see the taskbar, which I found distracting.
Windows 7 support. The Zune integrates a bit with Windows 7 and supports Jump Lists, taskbar hover playback controls, and more.
Mini player mode. Like iTunes, Zune now supports a mini player mode. Bonus: It looks an awful lot like the excellent Zune device rich media screens.
QuickPlay. Zune supports a nice looking new QuickPlay environment that lets you access your most frequently-used content quickly and easily. I'm curious why this environment is black while the rest of Zune is white, however.
Movies. The Zune Marketplace now lets you buy and rent movies in either HD or SD (standard definition) but, curiously, not both, as with iTunes. I haven't be able to sync rented content to a device, however, which is odd. (And hopefully temporary.)
Song Picks. The music recommendation service from previous versions has been updated and is hopefully more accurate. ("Genius.")
Smart DJ. As with Genius Mixes in iTunes 9, Zune 4 sports a collection of automatically-generated playlists. Unlike with iTunes, however, you control what playlists get created. Take that, Apple.
That's it for now. Enjoy the shots.