Last night, in the middle of a mission in Borderlands, I got booted off of LIVE for an update. I saved my progress and applied the update.
Like most people who got into the preview program, I started playing with the new updates immediately after the update applied itself some 20 minutes later. Unlike most people, who probably went to Facebook or Last.fm first, I went directly to the Zune Marketplace to see how well the transition went.
When I installed the Zune 4.0 software on the day it launched in September, one of the first things I noticed was that all of the videos I had downloaded on the 360 appeared in my download history. This made me happy, as I never understood why the Zune and Xbox 360 had two different video marketplaces. Although I couldn’t access any of those videos from the Zune software, I figured I would be able to when the 360 update went live. As the screenshot above shows, many of them still come up as unavailable. It is likely this will change once the update goes live to all 360s.
A week or so ago I downloaded the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, 33, from the Zune Marketplace. After applying last night’s update, I checked out my video library on the 360’s newly Zune-branded video marketplace and was pleased to find that episode sitting there, ready to play.
It only took a few seconds of buffering before I saw Caprica Six and Baltar talking to each other in 1080p. That was quite a step up for me, as I had seen the entire series in standard definition. The video transitions from a somewhat pixilated SD picture to a smooth HD picture quickly. I found the quality to be better than Netflix’s HD videos, which is surprising considering how long it takes an HD Netflix video to start compared to the Zune’s HD videos.
To demonstrate that Microsoft’s claim of “Buy video once, play it on HDTV, PC or ZUNE HD” is accurate, in the screenshots above you will see the same TV show running on my Zune HD and on my PC.
As a user of both the 360 and Zune, I am very happy to see how well the video portion of my Zune account is synced up with my 360. I would like to see Microsoft bring the Zune Pass service and some aspects of the Zune Social to the 360 as well.