ZVUE, or not to?

ZVUE is a personal video player that sells for $99, it has no internal memory, however it does use SD and MMC memory cards to a maximum size of 512MB. Just the other day ZVUE announced a parternship agreement with DivX, this will allow existing ZVUE owners to upgrade their ZVUE device (for $69) to allow playback of DivX and MPEG-4 compatible files. The DivX and MPEG-4 compatible version can be purchased for $149.

It sounded good at first, but when you add things up is it really worth it? So you have the player for $149, your going to need some storage, why not max it out with a 512MB SD card for $149.95. Thats already $300 spent, throw in some NimH AA batteries and charger and your at around the same price of the sleek stylish 20GB RCA RD2780 with 3.5-inch screen compared to a 2.5-inch screen 512MB ZVUE, not to mention full mp3 playback, DivX, MPEG-4 and whatever else you can imagine is a given with RCA.

The ZVUE is powered by AA batteries, so if you run out of juice you can pretty much find more anywhere, a plus is that the battery life is almost double of harddrive based players.

What does ZVUE mean anyways? Z? Visual User Environment: a desktop manager for Unix from Hewlett-Packard, hardly.

See press release below.


HandHeld Entertainment Signs Licensing Agreement with DivXNetworks for DivX Video Playback on the ZVUE

HandHeld Entertainment and DivXNetworks, Inc. today announced a licensing agreement to integrate the patent-pending DivX video decoder with HandHeld’s popular $99 ZVUE personal video player, which will allow playback of DivX and MPEG-4 compatible files on the ZVUE.

The ZVUE is the first DivX Certified handheld product on the market, offering users the ability to play all versions of DivX video content on a portable device. The DivX-enabled ZVUE player was tested by DivXNetworks’ and HandHeld Entertainment’s teams of video engineers to ensure high performance and full interoperability with the entire suite of DivX technologies. DivX, often called the “MP3 of video,” is among the most popular video technologies in the world with over 120 million users.

“There is a huge global pool of high-quality DivX content that is now at the fingertips of ZVUEers,” said Garrett Cecchini, executive vice president of HandHeld Entertainment. “In addition, ZVUEers now have the freedom to play a full-length movie, a television show or even a home movie on their ZVUE because of the DivX upgrade. With DivX’s base of 120 million users, the ZVUE now runs one of the most popular and widely used video technologies in the world that generates insatiable amounts of content at the ZVUEers’ fingertips.”

HandHeld Entertainment will sell its “ZFlicks” DivX upgrade package for $69. ZFlicks includes the MPEG-4 firmware upgrade for the ZVUE, DivX video encoding software, a USB cable and an SD card. The ZFlicks package will be available online at www.zvue.com and at retailers throughout the United States and Canada.

“HandHeld Entertainment has shown there is widespread, mass-market opportunity for affordable, high-performance multimedia devices with its $99 ZVUE,” said Jim Geison, director of sales at DivXNetworks. “We are extremely pleased to partner with HandHeld as we help the company bring millions of DivX video files to ZVUE users around the world.”

In addition to today’s licensing agreement, HandHeld also announced that current owners of the ZVUE personal video player can update their USB system through a firmware download available at www.zvue.com.

“Integrating the ZVUE with DivX video technology was a very smooth process,” said Nathan Schulhof, president and chief executive officer of HandHeld Entertainment and the person known as the father of the MP3 player industry. “DivX has a global acceptance because it produces phenomenal video quality, and it’s easy to use. After extensive evaluation, DivX proved to be the absolute best MPEG-4 compatible solution for our ZVUE customers.”


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