Sorry that this is so long but I wanted to get all of the details out there to get the best advice.
I spent months researching mainly the Zen and several other players and I finally purchased a Creative Zen Vision M 60 GB MP3 Player. I don't trust Digital Rights Management (Microsoft or Apple). I planned on just purchasing and ripping new and existing CDs, converting home videos and some Zen and Pod casts (as a novelty) importing my pictures and syncing all of this to the player. I also plan on just using the player legally (no peer to peer or file sharing). I really don't have the time to investigate and perform any hacking of licensing via burning and ripping etc... In case there should ever come a day where we are forced to purchase music and videos with Digital Rights Management only (no ripping), I researched purchasing music and videos from the Plays for Sure Sites and it appears that these stores require you to install their software to your PC (Amazon Unbox, Yahoo Music Jukebox (non-subscription) etc..) in order to purchase their music and videos and each site has a different process/procedure to restore your music, video and licenses in case your hard drive crashes or if you purchase a new PC. I work with computers but this could all be a time consuming hassle and you could also be vulnerable to loosing all of your music and videos when upgrading a PC or recovering from a possible drive crash. For the Apple Ipod and Itunes there is only one store which is a disadvantage but the advantage is that you only really need one application on your PC - Itunes to purchase their music and videos and the process/procedure to restore will always be the same. Also, after reading stories online and speaking with a few of the store's representatives, I get the feeling that I may have a better experience with the Apple Ipod and Itunes during a PC upgrade or possible recovery from a drive crash than other sites but I'm not sure of this. Because of this reason of the possibility of one day we may be forced to purchase music and videos with Digital Rights Management (no ripping) and the possible experiences that I mentioned above, I 'm considering returning the Zen for an Ipod but I only have 1-2 days left to decide on this.
Some other notes....
The newest Sony Cameras use mpeg-4 AVC/h.264 (.mp4 extension) and the Zen?s mpeg-4 SP is DivX/Xvid in an AVI container but mpeg-4 AVC/h.264 can probably be converted to DivX/Xvid.
I know that I can put my home videos on the Zen but I can probably to this with the Ipod as there is so much third party software out there for it but I did hear of one user with a problem with Roxio's Easy Media Creator 9 which is the software that I'm using but this is only one user and one particular software. But this isn't a major issue as the ability to play home videos are more of a novelty and I believe that putting Zen and Pod Casts (advertisements, behind the scenes etc?) on the Zen are a novelty as well unless I missed something.
In case I wind up in the future buying into one of the formats/licensing (Microsoft or Apple), if there should ever come a day where there is one device powerful enough (battery, storage, processor and memory) to completely do all functions (music, video, PDA, phone) which would be more likely to succeed, Microsoft with Windows Media Player on their Smartphones or Apple with their Iphones. Seems like more choices for phones and PDAs with Windows Media Player and Smartphones but I think that only the Palm Treo 700W is on the Plays for Sure List. I?m not sure if a device with Windows Media Player on it can play licensed wma if it?s not on the Plays for Sure List.
I believe that the Plays For Sure devices have a subscription service (Napster to go and Yahoo Unlimited) and the Ipods don't but I'm not sure if it's worth it to get this.
Why did Microsoft stop including the option to backup licenses in Windows Media Player 11? Is it because they are pushing Zune and dropping the support for the Digital Rights Management License for the Plays for Sure Devices
Please respond back with any advice as to what player I should get - Zen Vision M 60 GB or Ipod Video 80 GB and I would be extremely grateful especially from those who have experience or knowledge of both.
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