Creative Introduces Zen Vision Player

In its latest effort to take back some market share from Apple's iPod, Creative on Wednesday introduced the Zen Vision music player with photo viewing and video playback. The Vision sports a large 3.7-inch color screen and 30GB internal hard drive for storing media.

Video will be a primary feature of the Zen Vision that its Apple counterpart lacks, and Creative is boasting a screen size three times that of the color iPod. Vision's 640x480 pixel resolution is also 10 times more than the iPod.

Creative has included support for TiVoToGo for watching television shows while on the run, along with popular video formats such as DivX and Windows Media Video. For those needing more video storage space, the unit includes an expansion slot for Flash memory.

On the audio side, the Zen Vision features largely the same functionality as Creative's previous players, including an FM tuner and support for Microsoft's Janus DRM format used by Napster and Yahoo Music Unlimited.

Battery life of the Zen Vision is advertised as 4.5 hours during video playback; Creative did not provide audio-only playback times.

"The Zen Vision is our most versatile and coolest-looking digital entertainment player ever," said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative. But such features do come at a price: the Zen Vision is a larger device than standard MP3 players, measuring 4.9 x 2.9 x 0.8 inches and weighing 8.4 ounces.

In comparison, the 20GB iPod measures 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.63 inches and weighs only 5.9 ounces.

Creative has not set an official launch date for the Zen Vision, but the company is accepting pre-orders via its Web site. The device will retail for $399 USD, which includes a rechargeable, removable Li-ion battery, an AC adapter, USB 2.0 cable, high-quality earphones, an AV cable, and a protective pouch.

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