Zune HD – the savior of radio?

Microsoft’s answer to the iPod is out in a few weeks, and the NAB is crowing about its success in getting Microsoft to include an HD radio receiver in the device.   The Zune HD will sell for about $289 and be available in mid September.

The basic idea is the Zune is an MP3 player with video capability and a stripped down IE browser, with a slim profile and programmable touchscreen like the iPod Touch.   It is bundled with a subscription to a service to buy music each month, and the purchased songs are downloaded over wifi wireless connections.

The big “gotcha” about putting an HD radio in a digital music player would be that in theory it would be trivial for the player to take digital music from the over the air music stations, and store it into the MP3 player without buying the music.   Therefore, the HD radio in the Zune HD lets you *listen* to HD radio, but not to record it.

Why would the radio business be interested in protecting those greedy fat cat foreign-owend record companies from having listeners play music without paying for it?   Odd paradox, don’t you think?

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