Netflix

In 2014, if you are looking to watch television shows or movies, there are a plethora of different apps and services available to fulfill your need of entertainment consumption. We are going to look at what we currently consider the best TV and movie apps available in the Windows Store for Windows 8/RT devices. We will begin by noting that all of these application will work within the United States, but elsewhere your results will vary.

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Nokia is looking to partner up with Vodafone UK to offer free Netflix on all Lumia 1020 purchases. The FT reports the deal will include one year's worth of Netflix for those who purchase the Windows Phone on Vodafone. Nokia is currently signing a deal with Microsoft for the latter to purchase its devices and services division, but it's clearly not halting aggressive marketing anytime soon.

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Earlier in August, Netflix added profile support to their popular video streaming platform. The move was met with praise left and right. No longer do you have different movie and television tastes clashing and distorting suggestions for multiple people in a family. The feature first showed up on the web version of Netflix and slowly went out to the iOS and Android versions of the mobile apps.

It’s also supported on the PS3 and Xbox 360. But Windows Phone still doesn’t support profiles and today the Windows 8 version just gained the ability.

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Flixster and Netflix have been on Windows Phone for quite a while. In fact, Netflix was shown off on stage at the Windows Phone 7 Series unveil at MIX back in March 2010. Both apps were available for consumers when Windows Phone went on sale at the end of 2010. They’ve received small updates here and there along the way. Both just received two updates today, let’s check them out.

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Audible and Netflix both updated for Windows Phone

We love when apps get updated, especially big apps that are used daily by a lot of people. Audible and Netflix are two apps that we use often, both are great time killers whether you’re catching up with the latest bestselling novel or hit television series. Both also just received two updates on Windows Phone.

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Good news for those of you who watch Netflix “on the go” and who also have 720P devices like the ATIV S or HTC 8X. Netflix version 3.0.0.1 is now out on the Store, and it adds at least two things that we can see right off the bat: support for 720P resolution (meaning no more “black bars” for viewing) and double wide tile support.

That first one is pretty huge as being able to see full HD video on a 720P HD screen is kind of a big deal for Netflix fans. Now that the app has the full resolution support, videos can be watched “wide screen” and boy do they look great.

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In less than 24 hours a winter storm is expected to hit the Northeast United States. Big deal right? Nope, most meteorologists are already calling this one for the record books. Mostly because it is two wild storm systems that are going to combine into one apocalyptic blizzard. While Windows Phone Central can’t stop the impending snow, closed roads, and a weekend spent indoors – we certainly can help prepare you with some ‘winter storm’ apps.

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After serving on Microsoft's board of directors for five years, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has decided to give up his post . Earlier in the week, Hastings said that he will not seek re-election to the position of lead independent director, as he wants to cut down on the number of boards that he serves on. Instead, he will focus more on his primary job as CEO of Netflix, as well as his work in the field of Education.

"I'm thrilled to have served on the board at such a pivotal time for Microsoft," Hastings said in a statement, citing the development of Windows 8, Windows RT, and the Microsoft Surface tablet, which he said "will bring exciting new opportunities for customers and the industry as a whole."

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer said in a statement that Hastings' "insights and experiences have really helped guide us through a critical period of transformation for both Microsoft and the industry." Hastings will stay on until Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting in November, at which time the board will determine his replacement. There has been no indication that Hastings will step down from any of the other boards he currently serves on, which include Netflix, Microsoft, Dreambox Learning, the Knowledge Is Power Program, the California Charter Schools Association, and Facebook.

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We overlooked an interesting feature mentioned last night at the Microsoft Surface tablet event. The Netflix app.

Microsoft showcased the Netflix app during last night's presentation saying it supported semantic zoom and that the Netflix app would be ready when Windows 8 launches later this year.

We're guessing that with SmartGlass you could start a Netflix movie on your Xbox console, pause it and resume watching the movie on your Surface tablet or Windows Phone. With the kickstand feature on the Surface, the tablet sounds ideal for mobile movie watching.

Details are still sketchy on how our Windows Phones will interact with the Surface and hopefully we will be able to shed a little light on things after tomorrow's Windows Phone 8 event. In the meantime, you can catch a brief glimpse of the Netflix app, in the full video of Microsoft's Surface announcement around the 14:25 mark.

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Two popular apps have just been updated: Xbox Live Extras (version 7.3) and Netflix (version 2.1). Both updates appear to be under the hood, i.e. no new features or noticeable changes. Netflix just received a more significant update two weeks ago, and the release notes for that update still appear, unmodified, on the app’s Marketplace page. It’s likely that after rolling out version 2.0, the development team discovered one or more bugs that needed fixing.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft about the Xbox Live Extras update and will report back if they provide any details. If you guys discover any changes in these two apps in the meantime, please let us know in the comments below.

Both Xbox Live Extras and Netflix are free apps, though Netflix obviously requires a subscription to use. Xbox Live Extras is a fairly important tool for gamers, so make sure to get it here if you haven’t already. Netflix subscribers can get the app here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on both app updates!

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Netflix, the popular movie streaming service, has updated their Windows Phone app to version 2.0. Using the app subscribers will be able to stream movies and TV programmes to the big screen and now their Windows Phone while on the go.

In this update UK and Ireland, as well as 47 countries in Latin America, are now supported, which is a huge plus for those who patiently awaited access on their handsets. Quick run through of what's new:

  • Support for additional international locations – UK & IRE, 47 countries in Latin America
  • New localised UI for all international locations
  • Support for subtitles, closed caption and alternate audio
  • Performance improvements and optimisations for a better browsing and viewing experience

You can download Netflix from the Marketplace for free (requires a subscription to use the service).

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this.

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We've had quite a few updates to some major apps today, so lets recap on what we got, shall we?

First up is Netflix, gets bumped to version 1.5. Is this the big Mango update with tons of cool new features that we've been hoping for? Nope. Just a plain Jane "bug fixes" update with nothing new, as far as we can tell. Find something we missed? Let us know in comments. Pick up v1.5 here in the Marketplace.

Next is MSN Movies. A nice freebie app from Microsoft that for some reason has ads (how tacky for a MS app, sorry), this baby though got a nice Mango update today. Hooray! So you get some fast-app switching and the ability to pin movies (but not theaters?) to your start menu. This is actually a pretty nice, minimalist movie show times app with trailers and movie news on board too, so it's worth checking out. Give v1.3 a spin here in the Marketplace.

USA Today goes Mango! Yes, one of the most popular apps on Windows Phone, USA Today finally gets fast app switching, double live tile (with weather on the backside now, just like they promised) and the ability to pin the sub-sections Pictures, Sports and Celebrities to your start menu. An already beautiful app gets even better, though we now have too many weather apps on our Start screen! Get your US and World news right here with v1.5 in the Marketplace.

And finally, Xbox LIVE Extras goes to v7.2. No new features are on board as far as we can tell, though we imagine this goes a long way in fixing a bug some of you reported to us, namely it erasing your avatar if you modified it. Ouch. Hopefully that's fixed now. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

Thanks, Luis R., Vic and ej lee, for the tips!

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Although last we checked, our Windows Phone Netflix app doesn't currently have the ability to add DVDs to our queue (was it ever there in earlier versions?), we now know that the feature won't be added anytime soon nor for the Xbox 360 either.

Netflix announced yesterday that they're removing "add DVD to queue" for all streaming devices, meaning you'll only be able to add that non-streaming title via their website. They give reasons for doing so, but we can't help but think we're going to forget to add that DVD when we get home later (or we can fire our browser we suppose, but it starts to feel redundant):

We’re removing the “Add to DVD Queue” option from streaming devices. We’re doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly. Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality.

We could say this would be a great time for a developer to make a Netflix Queue manager app, similar to what is found on Android, so long as it's just not another Mobile IE wrapper app.

Source: Netflix blog; via: Consumerist

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When people talk about smart-phone platforms, the two that stand out to people (for better or worse) are iPhone and Android. There are a lot of reasons for this; usability, ecosystem (apps, services), and just sheer popularity are all factors. It makes you wonder why a brand-spanking-new platform like Windows Phone 7 would get a popular app like NetFlix before one of the two 300 lb gorillas in the room (Android); and if you really think about it, the Windows Phone 7 app was demoed at the Mix conference (March 15-17) before it was available for the iPhone (August 26). So what is it about Windows Phone 7 that makes a company like NetFlix choose a fledgling OS as their starting point for mobile over the more established platforms?

It turns out that the answer comes down to security (ironic, considering this is Microsoft). According to Wired (via @joebelfiore), Android doesn’t offer a secure enough DRM system to make Hollywood happy. With all of the concerns about piracy digital rights, Microsoft has been able to get a leg up on the competition by building Windows Phone as a secure platform.

Now before I start getting hate mail from the Android faithful, I recognize that NetFlix is coming to Android; but the current plans are for limited device support (can you say fragmentation?); not a full-fledged roll out.

So what does this mean to Joe Consumer? Microsoft is making every effort to make app developers happy and successful with Windows Phone 7 as a platform. This will serve to help the Windows Phone ecosystem (apps and services) grow and mature; which is great news for you and me.

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