As you can see from my previous post (here) I am now a huge fan of Microsoft’s Zune 4.0 desktop software. However being in the UK means that a lot of the features are unavailable to us…mainly the Zune marketplace.
The Marketplace is where you can preview and purchase songs, videos, apps, podcasts, games and more.
As you can see in the screenshot above, it’s got pretty much everything you could want:
- New releases
- Top Songs
- Top Videos
- Topical/focus sections
and you can split it down into genre, which then gives you all the above but specific to that kind of music.
The video section is similar and also lets you purchase movies.
Above is the Zune App section of the marketplace, which looks pretty great. If I actually had a Zune HD, I’d definitely be loving this!
Anyway I digress slightly. You’re quite probably wondering how this is possible-what with me residing in England and Zune Marketplace being US only…well let me tell you.
I was having a look around the internet to see what I could find on accessing the Zune Marketplace from outside the US and I came across this blog. Here the author, Ian Blackburn, details how to get initial access to the Marketplace; and it’s much simpler than I would have thought.
You simply change your PC location to “United States” via “Region & Language” in Control Panel.
The next step is being allowed to download things. To do this, you simply need to log into Zune Marketplace with a Live ID that is set to US location.
I changed my Live ID location and it worked. I was in Marketplace and downloading a free track from “People Under the Stairs”…brilliant 🙂 However, when I tried to download something a few minutes later, it said that “marketplace wasn’t available in my location” and blocked me from downloading anything 😦
The way I found around this was to download HotSpot Shield (available here) which masks your IP address. This gave me proper, full access to the Marketplace as well as Zune Social; plus little things such as syncing my proper play count…and the big one – enabling me to download things once again! The only downside I’ve found to Hot Spot Shield is that it places banner ads at the top of web pages which is a bit annoying; however I can put up with that…
Over at Bbits, Ian ponders how one would purchase things from Zune…and I agree with his theory. As the Zune marketplace users Xbox points as currency, one should be able to redeem a code against the LIve ID used for Zune and be able to download freely, without worrying about a US address/credit card etc. I haven’t tried it but if I do, I’ll let you know 😉 Another thing I’m going to investigate is getting a Zune Pass…but that’s for another day.
So there you have it, a relatively easy way to access the Zune marketplace from the UK, or indeed anywhere else…have fun!