Since 2012 I have kept using Zune on the Desktop and the Zune HD, but I do realize it’s a dead platform. That said, I do want to set about programming a new and improved version that keeps its interface style (pivots as opposed to hamburger menus).
This image, for those who may not remember, is what Zune looked like once upon a time. I intend to recreate this aesthetic in my Windows 10 Universal Windows App, but at the same time, bring it forward into the modern 2016 era. It will be reminiscent of Zune, but will not be an exact copy. It will be its own program and be fully featured for 2016.
This new program will have several features that make it useful and innovative, especially in comparison to the Microsoft Groove software.
Advanced ID3 Tag Editor: If you right-click any MP3 file, there will be an option to Edit ID3 tags, and an option for “Advanced Tag Editor” like Windows Media Player 11 had. If you check the ‘frames’ from the ID3 website, every one of those, I want to have this program be able to edit successfully.
API Integrations: This app will integrate with theTVDB.com, themoviedb.org to help pull metadata for all the TV shows and Movies you’ve purchased and stored on your computer.
Audiobook Support: Using the genre and sub-genre tags, I will have an audiobook section of the program, wherein all MP3s of the genre “audiobook” will be found, and use the sub-genre frame
Auto-Playlist Creation: based on how Windows Media Player and Zune could do this, I intend to program this feature into this program so you can have several auto-generated playlists, such as “Most Played” or “Least Played” and so on. Further, I intend to program WMP-style auto-playlists based on certain criteria into the program.
Background Images: Zune had several background images (Zero, Phyta, Diaphanous, Koi, Schmikyl, and so on) that I intend to put into the program as options for either theme, and several others from DeviantArt if I can get permission to use them.
Favorites: You can choose heart, broken heart, and no heart ratings for songs, TV, movies, and music videos. With this you can get auto-playlists generated on this variable.
Internationalization: The app will be fully translated from English to German, French, Spanish, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese, Dutch, Frisian (all kinds), Luxembourgish, and all the Celtic languages (Irish, Cornish, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Manx, Breton), and further. I’m going to make sure this app is usable with as wide an audience as possible.
Now Playing: I intend to have a Now Playing screen for this app that will be dynamic and delightful, as Microsoft used to do in their software. This video shows off roughly how I plan on implementing this in the software.
Play Count: based on the ID3 tag for play count, this feature will let you have
Podcast Support: Using the genre tag, I will have a section for podcasts so that all your podcast series will be organized and together in one place.
Social: You can add friends who use the program, and view their movie, TV, and music collections. This will be dependent upon your Microsoft account, so if you like someone’s music, you’d be able to download to your own machine or stream it. You can see their music, and like/dislike whatever music you see, if they allow ratings from other users. There will be a “What’s New” feed of your friends so you can see what they’re listening to, or what they’ve shared either within the program or to Facebook/Twitter, be it a playlist, artist, album, song, TV episode, movie or TV show. I also intend to allow a map view so you can see what’s playing in your country or state/province in the top 10 or so for music, TV, and movies, which I think would be very cool to see.
Store Support: Using Microsoft’s API, I can bring store support to this app, helping make it a one-stop place for media purchase and management.
Subtitles: For movies/TV, there will be multiple subtitle support, where you save a subtitle file per language ISO code. So if you are watching your copy of Avengers, you can switch from English, to Spanish, to French, to German, to Faroese, and back all while still watching the movie.
Themes: I plan on including dark and light theme support that will obey the OS theme you set.
TV Show Organization: TV shows will be viewed first by series; you double-click in and you see the seasons of that show, then click a season, and see that list of episodes. This is what will utilize the DVD covers and season covers so it looks much nicer than a list of files with file icons.
Video Metadata: Like Zune, I intend to include video metadata so that you can sort your video files, whether they be TV shows, movies, music videos, or personal videos.
Here you can see editing a movie in Zune. You have Title, Genre, Description, Category, and Release Date. Great for basics, but in my program, I will add parental rating (G, PG, PG-13, R) so you can have parental controls. There will be subtitle support so you can add subtitles per ISO Language code. I will add DVD covers so you can view not a video file thumbnail, but a nice, clean DVD cover image so your files look clean and organized. In addition, I will add actors/roles, directors, writers, and producers as fields so you can sort and find your favorite actors and writers in whichever video file you have.
Here you can see editing a music video. You have Category, Title, Artist, Release Date, Genre, and Description. That’s a good start, and still ahead of Microsoft Movies & TV and iTunes. I would like to add subtitles (for lyrics) here so I can sing along to the music.
Finally, we have TV. In Zune, we had Category, Series Title, Episode Title, Release Date, Season, Episode, Genre, and Description. To this, I would add subtitle (per language), release date (per country ISO code), episode title (per language ISO code), writer, director, stars (plus roles), guest stars (plus role), IMDB ID, TheTVDB.com ID; and Series cover, Season cover, and episode thumbnail.
Video Playlist: I intend to have the ability to create video playlists so you can put together a TV episode binge list, a music video playlist, home video list, or whatever else you can imagine.
Mobile Support: This program will have a mobile interface reminiscent of the hubs of old. It would let you access all your media in one app for easy access.
There will be a persistent app bar in the mobile app with a search, equalizer, and settings buttons. Swipe over and you get the recent list, with your now playing at top. Next is the list of new music, then your social feed, then a list of other apps.
Now Playing: To give users a great mobile experience, unlike Groove, I will show the artist background in addition to the album art (at the same time!) like Zune used to do. At the bottom will be the buttons for shuffle, repeat, favorite, and share. In the more (…) menu, you can view/edit the id3 tag of the song in question. Tap on the small list of songs at the bottom to bring up the playlist, where you can tap to advance or go back in the songs. Tap the artist name atop the screen to view the artist page. There will be “scrobbling” so you can advance the song, more useful for podcasts or audiobooks, but also useful for songs. Swipe left/right to advance through songs. Tap the album cover to pause and bring up the volume up/down and track back/forward buttons. Alternatively in settings, I will also put the option for those buttons to be persistent at the bottom, as I know some people like that.
Artist View: When you view the artist’s page, you get pivots for albums, songs, pictures, bio, buzz (from the artist official FB/TW feeds), and videos. This is a sample image of what I’m going to program into it. You can pin an artist to your start screen, favorite the artist (in which case you get notified when a new album is released by the artist), and share. Songs will show you by jumplist each song by the artist; pictures will show the artist pictures for a given artist. One little extra I plan on including is album-specific artist pictures so that, for example, when playing “Rock Lobster” you get a 1979-era B-52’s image, but when listening to “Love Shack” you get a 1989-era image of the band.
X-Box One App
I also intend to release this for X-Box One so you can have a great media player there also. For the XBO, I intend this app to work with a remote control, so you can have a great TV interface that’s as feature-rich as X-Box Media Center is/was, but is as easy to use as Windows Media Center.
I intend to use this as a starting point to the app interface, where you can use the up/down/left/right arrows to change the categories, and navigate through the media in a category. I intend it to be easier to navigate than Netflix on XBO and as attractive as Zune and WMC were in their day, but also modern.
Party likely won’t be there, but TV, Movies, Music Videos, Music, will be there, along with Pictures, Podcasts, and Audiobooks.
This is where you come in. I will need help first to put a development computer together. This is critical to getting this project off the ground. I also will be hiring one or two additional programmers in C# to help speed development along in this project. Here is a donation page, where I am asking for a small donation of $5, $10, or $20 to help this project. Any person who donates will get (a) the program free, of course, and (b) credit in the about section of the app and this website. I am estimating this project will require about $5000 total to get done in a reasonable amount of time and to help pay the one to two developers I will bring in, whom I will also be paying out of my own pocket.
Thank you for reading this post, and if it interests you, please pass this post around and encourage others to donate as well so that we can finally have the media player and manager that we Windows users need, want, and deserve.