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  1. Does anybody on here own the new Creative Zen? The small flash based one that's just simply named 'Creative Zen'?

    I currently own the Zen Vision: M, and I love it. The primary selling factor that got me to buy it, though, was the codec support. It plays all my avi videos, no conversion required, which is incredibly awesome. I've gotten quite used to the interface and features, so when i end up replacing it, I'd very much like to stay with Creative.

    I may need to replace my Zen Vision M soon, so I've been doing some reviews. The new Zen seems to have nothing but good reviews, but i can't help but notice nobody seems to really mention whether or not it actually has the same codec support as the Vision M. Does it or not?

    Can I just drag/drop an AVI file to the player and have it play? Or does it need to be converted to wmv first?
    If it has the same codec support i'm definately getting one. if not, well, i'm not so sure, and i'm not sure i'll even want to buy any media player if i can't get one that will match the Vision M's codec support...

    EDIT: I also rly like the feature of being able to connect my Zen Vision M to my tv. Does the new Zen have this feature? If so, can i use the same AV cable i already have?
    asdf
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  2. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    FYI I think the archos line of players has the same wide open codec support. Though some of them need to be purchased seperately.

    Have you checked the creative website for the exact model you are interested in? I can't imagine they wouldn't have the full specs on it.

    In case your interested I love my ZUNE (wmv looks very good )
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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    I own the new Creative Zen.

    Codec support is XviD, DivX, Generic MPEG-4 SP/ASP (AVI 1.0 only), WMV, MJPEG (who uses this?), AAC (iTunes-only, not Nero), MP3, WMA, WAV, and Audible. All of this is possible WITHOUT conversion during sync if they're encoded correctly. Yes, if you know what you're doing on the encoding side, then they will just sync.

    This player is fantastic!! Video is smooth and beautiful. Audio is full, rich, and deep with decent headphones. It's incredibly lightweight. The interface is sleek and snappy. If you're coming from a Zen Vision: M I would definetly get the 32GB Zen, although even with my 8GB I don't feel limited thanks to the SDHC card slot.

    Creative got this one right.
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    you want to go here:

    http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=121

    full of Zen owners and lots of info about this awesome little toy.

    i have had mine for about a week and i love it. there are some tricks to figure out but once you do it is pretty nice. i love the picture quality on the 2.5" screen.

    i dont have much to compare it to as this is the first portable music player i have had since my walkman in '93.
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    hey greg - cool to see you over here at videohelp.com.
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    Originally Posted by kevo777
    hey greg - cool to see you over here at videohelp.com.
    i think forums are the greates thing ever. they are so usefull, i would have never even dreamed of figuring out how to use some of the programs i now have without them.
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    Yep. Everything...and I do mean everything that I know today about video encoding came from this site and http://forum.doom.org. I've been hanging out at these two site for almost three years now. Good stuff.
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    Well, my son has a Zen 4GB. The only video format that it supports without reencoding is WMV and even so that has to be really tight to whatever spec they are using. The Creative site does say that it supports all of those other formats, but that is using the supplied Video manager/converter, which has very limited options.

    I have used DVDFab Platinum to convert some DVDs to the Zen 4GB without going through the Creative converter, but it was a lot of trial and error. I kept having audio sync issues and fast forward wouldn't work and some videos would freeze the player while others wouldn't.

    I am going to go to the other site mentioned and check around some. The player IS really nice and the video screen is actually quite watchable, even with a widescreen movie.

    ** OK. Went to the site. GREAT STUFF. I really looked for some info like this before but couldn't find it. Anyway, the player apparently will do DivX and Xvid native, but the container has to have an .AVI suffix. There is also and encoding guide link that I am still reviewing. **
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    Yes. Zen supports DivX and XviD in the AVI container. Why the Zen Video Converter only does WMV is probably a matter of licensing. Microsoft is extremely liberal about the WMV9 encoder, more so than the MPEG consortium. Also an important note which I found out through trial and error and which is not documented anywhere is that the Zen only supports AVI 1.0 format, not the later AVI 2.0 format (OpenDML).

    My software suggestions - AutoMKV, VirtualDub (in tandem with AviSynth), or MeGUI (untested, but does encode to XviD AVI). MeGUI requires AviSynth scripts as input, so learning curve is steep but has a friendlier interface. VirtuDub doesn't require AviSynth input, but helps with source format diversity.
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    I use AVISynth a lot in creating DVDs, so I will look at MeGUI. Thanks for the tip. One of the really nice things about DVDFab is that you can split the DVD by the chapters, which works really nicely on the Zen since it doesn't bookmark video files (or does it?? - let me know). It really is a nice all-in-one solution (I have been using the trial version so far, may actually have to spring for the software).

    When encoding to DivX or Xvid, what are your video/audio parameters. I know the video should be 320 x 240 (or less for widescreen). Video rate ?? Audio type/rate/CBR?? Thanks for any info... The player is great for the kids on long car trips since I won't buy them a DVD player!!
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    These are the parameters I use for Xvid/Divx:

    Video
    Res - 320x240
    Bitrate - 500 kbps
    Framerate - whatever the source is - no need to change - Zen supports up to 30
    Profile - Advanced Simple Profile @ Level 5 (lower levels work also)
    No QPEL - required
    No GMC - required

    Audio
    Bitrate - between 96 ~ 128 kbps CBR (for file size consideration)
    Sampling Freq. - 22050, 44100, or 48000
    Stereo or Mono - same as source

    I'm hoping Creative implements the MP4 container format in a firmware upgrade. There seems to be sync issues with the AVI format at this time. Other Zen-related forums are blown up with sync issue posts.
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    I just tested MeGUI and it looks better than encodes I've done with VirtualDub. MeGUI is the way to go if you like using AviSynth scripts. It was a short 2 minute movie trailer so I still don't know if sync would have been an issue. I will do more extensive tests tonight, but I have a feeling the sync issue is on the Zen itself.
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    Yah after reading this.... ill admit.. im a total noob..... But i am a dedicated creative zen owner, I had the Zen Vision M 60Gb for a while and loved every bit of it, untill i dropped it off a roof, i had no problems "drag dropping videos" of all types, codecs, quality... and only a small select few wouldnt play

    I just bought a 16gb Flash Zen.... and i am enjoying it, but of all the old movies ive had backed up.... hundred upon hundreds.... i so far have only got one to work ".wmv"....... which many of my other WMV.... wouldnt work as well

    its sad, but im not losing hope.... I even download Windows media encoder from the actual site like it refered me too... still... none of the converted codecs work...... its sad, i have tons of movies, live music, videos.. avi's, divx, Mpg, MPEG, mp4, mjpeg, you name it.. none of it works on this new player, accept one..... which really bothers me cause i know it works, it just doesnt hahahah

    any free encoding programs you guys can refer me too?????
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    Actually yes. Try Handbrake. I tested with it recently and the result looked fantastic on Zen. There are many profile configurations but sadly not one for the Zen. Looks as if one can be easily added though.
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    ok.... i finally just sold out and now im using the creative converter that comes with the cd.... which works fine.... but why WMV..... it claims to support divx and avi of all sorts... i have yet to find one that works.... ill live

    still... im very happy I didnt get an ipod..... im still loving this zen and its size.... it was ignorant of me to believe i was gonna get the same specs with this flash based drive like i had with my zen vision M, with a hard disc

    i figured it out... thanks guys
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  16. I don't understand. Some people are posting that they have the player, and it does play (divx/xvid) avi, and some are saying it only plays wmv.

    Can it indeed play an avi video (encoded with xvid/mp3) with NO CONVERSION TO WMV REQUIRED??
    asdf
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    Yes. The Zen supports AVI with and Xvid video stream and an MP3 audio stream. But don't use the included Zen Video Converter Software. It will only convert to WMV. Use something like Handbrake or AutoMKV, both with which I have created Zen-friendly AVI files. Handbrake was much easier to setup but both worked great!

    Note: When you sync an AVI file using Creative's Media Explorer (and Windows Explorer too I think), it may throw a warning saying the file is "out of spec" and may not play properly. Ignore it and tell it to sync anyway. The video will play just fine. Personally, I think it's a bug in in the software. Either that, or Creative has an agenda and prefers that we use WMV.
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  18. Originally Posted by kevo777
    Yes. The Zen supports AVI with and Xvid video stream and an MP3 audio stream. But don't use the included Zen Video Converter Software. It will only convert to WMV. Use something like Handbrake or AutoMKV, both with which I have created Zen-friendly AVI files. Handbrake was much easier to setup but both worked great!

    Note: When you sync an AVI file using Creative's Media Explorer (and Windows Explorer too I think), it may throw a warning saying the file is "out of spec" and may not play properly. Ignore it and tell it to sync anyway. The video will play just fine. Personally, I think it's a bug in in the software. Either that, or Creative has an agenda and prefers that we use WMV.
    But is it actually required to have the videos encoded at a max of 320x240? Or will my 624x352 avi's work?
    asdf
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    The Zen will not scale videos. They must be encoded at a max 320x240 resolution. Check out the bottom of page 3 of the attached PDF. It's an official Creative Zen Video Encoding Guideline that I found on Creative's developer site.

    zen_zenvision_video_encoding_guidelines_v2.pdf
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  20. Alright kewl thanks for the info.
    asdf
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    This thread has been very useful...many thanks.

    The second part of the initial question was never answered, though.

    "I also rly like the feature of being able to connect my Zen Vision M to my tv. Does the new Zen have this feature? If so, can i use the same AV cable i already have?"

    Anyone know?

    Thanks in advance!
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    OK, for a device that's supposed to play so many formats, I continually run into "can't play this format" errors. It took about 5 tries, and 5 various forums to get a format that looks good, is compatible and no sync issues for conversion from file to file.

    So now I'm looking to go from DVD (un-protected) to Creative Zen. I am using Handbrake (windows), and can't get a single format to play. Can anyone (kevo777) tell me the format they used?

    I am of course at 320x240 and have tried combinations of:
    Mp4 with Mp3
    H264 with AAC
    Xvid with avi ext. with MP3 (which I use successfully with Super, but have sync issues).
    Mpeg 4 (avi) with Mp3 (which I prefer when using Super).

    Nothing works.

    If you could run down the list of all relevant settings I'd most appreciate it. Super is great, but slow, and can't do a straight from DVD rip (at least not that I've found).

    ...and no, don't want to use creative's software, it's slow and has sync issues too.

    Thanks kindly in advance.
    "There's no time like the future"
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    @shalbatana - the one format you haven't tried yet is wmv. Give it a go and see if it works. - also .mov might be an option.
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    WMV was just ok with the supplied converter, but I don't even see it as an option for Handbrake, is there another simple direct dvd to media file converter that offers it (preferably free)?

    Also, it isn't a preferred choice for me. I was less happy with the quality of it than with Mp4.
    "There's no time like the future"
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  25. Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I have found it quite useful for bulk-converting flv videos to avi, and it's relatively lightweight, quick and painless to use (not to mention free):

    http://www.mediaconverter.org/index.php?s=c&show=downloads

    Don't actually have a zen myself, just doing some forum-surfing research first. Would be curious to know if this software does works to convert to a zen-friendly video format, if anybody actually tries it out.

    cheers!
    cc
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    i found any video convertor set to wmv9 320x240 works everytime. the zen is crap at sync with avi (divx/xvid) wmv stays in sync much better.

    avc is slow but better than super which wont do wmv9 (afaik)
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    Well I personally own a zen 8gb model and have very good luck with the following settings. these setting work very well. only issue i have is if i fast forward, i have to play the video, pause it , and hit play again to get it back in sync. the tool i used is media coder or tmpeg with identical results. portions are pulled from the zen specs at creative.com

    resolution: 320x240 or lower (multiple of 4 work , but multiple of 16 give best compression)

    audio mp3@44.1khz 128kbs (48khz works but causes pause issue to act up more)

    video xvid
    profile unrestircted
    max settings, min I B P quant 2, trell, Adapt quant (optional), NO GMC, NO QPEL, NO INTERLACED, 2 B frames max
    max BITRATE!!! 975 (doc says 1mbit, but at that it stutters so use 975 as the max)


    encode into a avi container and enjoy!!

    the doc says wmv at 736video and 64 audio (800kbps total) work and it does. however the file even encoded at 600kbps experiences decoder slowdowns at high action scenes. so stick with xvid for best results..

    well hopes this helps

    oh yeah some reccomended acpect ratios:

    320x240 4:3
    320x180 16:9 (320x176 for mul 16)
    320x144 us 2.35:1 ratio (widescreen movies with black borders still)

    by no means is this list complete. it is meant as a simple refrence for new zen owners. for advanced encoding and aspect ratio see guides on this excellent website

    feel free to hit me up with any thanks, this sux, etc

    dannyboy48888
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  28. Mr. Computer Geek dannyboy48888's Avatar
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    ADMENDMENT: The output resolutions only look right with a 1:1 par output. dont try a 1.33:1,etc as the player dont understand the display flag for those and willl ignore it
    if all else fails read the manual
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    @dannyboy:

    320x240 4:3
    320x180 16:9 (320x176 for mul 16)
    320x144 us 2.35:1 ratio (widescreen movies with black borders still)


    Would these work with a 30gb zune for wmv?

    I always encode to 320x240 4:3. I'm ok with the wide black bars just so its not distorted widescreen (ie I get letterboxed widescreen when I do 320x240 from a widescreen dvd which I'm ok with).

    What about this 320x144 res? Would that be wide and tall and stretched or distortion free?
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  30. Mr. Computer Geek dannyboy48888's Avatar
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    Yoda313,

    what encoder do you plan to encode the wmv's with? if it is tmpeg, you can just crop the black all the way out in the soruce and specify 320x240 wmv9 on the output with a 16:9 pixel ratio setting , this will 'scrunch' the video and expand it on play back it minimal black bordering and give you a higher 'movie' area. wether the zune honors the PAR in the wmv header is beyond me as I do not own a zune. remember the zune is a rectangle that dont conform to any widescreen spec so many movies will be stretched or scruntched anyway that normally look fine on other players.sorry I cant be of more help in this area

    the zen works by doing 1:1par (it dont honor par flags either...)on the videos and displaying X,X pixels in the 320x240 area so 320x144 is acutally taking 320x144 pixels on the screen (square pixel screen)

    dannyboy8888

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