Zune introduces HD video

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HD video comes to Zune

HD video will be made available on one of the UK's most popular media players, raising the prospect of a new avenue for digital marketers.

The new Microsoft Zune HD enables customers to play back 720p HD files on the device itself or through an HDTV. Consumers can buy or rent standard and HD videos from the Zune Marketplace, which is also undergoing a major overhaul.

Later this autumn, Microsoft plans to merge the Zune and Xbox video stores in the UK and 17 other markets to expand the number of films and TV shows that viewers can watch. Consumers can watch video content from the integrated platform on a Zune HD, a PC or an Xbox.

Microsoft promises Twitter and Facebook functionality

Moreover, the company plans to introduce Zune-ready Twitter and Facebook applications before the end of the year. This could potentially bring social media marketing campaigns to the attention of thousands of early adopters.

Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the TV, video and music business at Microsoft, said: "With today's announcement, the Zune business is growing into a comprehensive entertainment service that's no longer tied to any one screen or device.

"Zune lets consumers connect to their music, TV shows and movie content."

Last month, video advertising received a high-profile boost when Google announced a revamp of its YouTube Partnership Program. The expansion means creators of one-off hit virals on YouTube will now be invited to set up a Google AdSense account and allow ads to run alongside their content in return for a share of the revenue.