I was looking through the zunescene.com forums, and there are numerous postings with the general title, “Where can I download free music and videos?”. Let’s assume that these posters are all honest people and aren’t asking for illegal downloads. In that case, you have to realize that you probably won’t find a legitimate web site that has the top music hits available for free download (the same goes for mainstream movies). So, is there anything available for free download? Luckily, the answer is yes. If you simply do a Google search for “free mp3 downloads” you’ll get lots of hits, some good and some junky advertisement sites. Below are a few of the good ones that you might want to check out:
- ArtistDirect.com – This site actually has music from several well known artists (Barenaked Ladies, Moby, Brian Eno, etc.) available for download for the Zune. There’s not a lot of song choices, but enough to wet your whistle.
- GarageBand.com – This site offers lots of music by Independent Musicians for download on your Zune. Lots of different music genre.
- Epitonic.com -Quite a few free mp3 downloads available from Independent Artists.
Free Video Download Sites
- YouTube.com – This is the famous site that contains hundred of thousands (or possibly millions) of user uploaded videos. The trick, is to save the displayed video in WMV format downloaded to your PC. There’s lots of browser-based utilities to do this, such as 1-Click YouTube Batch Downloader.
- PublicDomainFlicks.com – Here’s a really cool site where you can download full-length movies that are public domain. These movies include documentaries, old classics, and independent films. Format is MPEG4,MPEG2, and MPEG1.
- Emol.org – An excellent site that contains old classic movies, TV Shows, and cartoons. And when I say classic, I mean 1960s and older. I’m currently downloading The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price (the original movie that was remade later as Omega Man with Charlton Heston and I Am Legend with Will Smith).
- AtomFilms.com – Some interesting (and strange) short movies you can download (use the iPod link to get MP4 files).
- Video.Google.com – Amazing, there’s lots of videos you can download just by searching for them and clicking the “Download” button (for the Video-iPod). Note, that I couldn’t get a selected video to download completely using Firefox, but it seemed to work ok with Internet Explorer.
- CnetTV.com – This site has numerous videos covering product reviews, tech shows, how-to videos, etc. available for download. You just find the video want and click the “download” link. This will download a MP4 file to your Desktop PC (with a .m4v extension). You should be able to copy these files to your video sync folder and have them transfer to your Zune (I tried a few and they synced with no transcoding).
- Public Domain Comedy Video – This site has numerous old comedy shows available for download. Old Dick Van Dyke Show episodes, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucille Ball Show, etc. The test file that I downloaded was in WMV format, and it synced to my Zune with no transcoding. If you like the old comedies, check out this site.
- Internet Archive – Thousands of videos available for download in MP4 format. Includes old movies (e.g., The classic, Night of the Living Dead), documentaries, Open source videos, etc. They also have audio files (audio books, music, etc.) but I didn’t look too closely at what is available. Definitely worth checking out.
Stage6.com – This site has tons of videos available for download. They don’t have full commercial movies (which would be illegal to download), but they do have movie trailers, music videos, video blogs, documentaries, Comedy, and lots of modern and classic TV shows. I was surprised to find full episodes of many TV shows that are currently in season, especially Science Fiction shows. [As of 28 Feb 08, this site is shutdown]
- ROLF – This site offers YouTube-like videos of funny clips available for download. The files are in MP4 format, so they are suitable for the Zune and require no converting.
Now, I don’t know positively that what you find on these web sites are legal videos for download, but I assume they are since what I’ve found don’t appear to be copyright material. The Stage6.com site did have full TV Shows available for download, but they are now closed down (maybe due to copyright issues?).