The process of syncing video files to my Zune is pretty simple. You put all your video files in a folder on your Desktop PC and tell the Zune Software to monitor this folder to sync any video files inside it. Simple. The problem that has plagued most users is the dreaded “Transcoding” that occurs to these video files during syncing. What is Transcoding you ask? It’s a re-conversion process that the Zune software does to convert your video files to a WMV format suitable for the Zune. Sometimes this transcoding process will take hours and hours to complete, frustrating most users who are in a hurry to use their Zunes.
Even if your video files are in WMV format, they still might go through the transcoding process if they aren’t created in a specified format. Although the Zune.net web site has the required specifications and recommendations for video files, they leave out a few important specifics. Through trial and experimentation, I was able to find the proper settings for the WMV file to avoid transcoding (which I will describe on my “Video Conversion” page). Basically, your WMV files must be encoded as “Windows Media 7, 8, or 9” (not Windows Media 9 Advanced Profile) and Audio encoded as “Windows Media 9.x”, 44 kHz Stereo CBR. The Video bit rate must be under 1 Mbps and the Audio bit rate at or under 192 kbps. Anything outside these parameters will force transcoding by the Zune syncing software.
Syncing a properly formatted WMV file is very quick, so if your video files are taking more than a few minutes to sync they may be transcoding.