Xbox Video

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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Our forums here at Windows Phone Central can be considered the breath and soul of the site itself; a place where fellow "Microsofties" can talk about the technology they hold dearest. In a post this week, WPCentral Member Dallas Gaston asks whether he should grab an Xbox One to pair with his Windows 8.1 Desktop, Surface 2 Pro, and Nokia Lumia 1520 or grab a PlayStation as he always has in the past.

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Xbox Video is Microsoft's movie and TV streaming service supported across all its platforms – there are apps available on Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox and the web.

Microsoft today unveiled a sweet freebie for everyone to enjoy this weekend. Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem will be available for free, enabling those who haven't yet seen the 2007 AvP sequel to sit through the sci-fi horror movie.

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When Xbox Music and Xbox Video first came out on Windows 8 they offered an abysmal experience. Especially when compared to the Zune desktop app, their spiritual successor. Thankfully that didn’t last too long, the Windows 8.1 refresh to both apps made them usable and enjoyable again. They’ve slowly been picking updates up over the past few months and today we’ve got another for both Xbox Video and Xbox Music.

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Last year, Windows Phone 8 infamously launched without the ability to watch your content from Xbox Video. It was a sore point of contention when Windows Phone fans would argue the overall strengths of the Microsoft ecosystem. Earlier today, Microsoft finally launched a dedicated app for Xbox Video (and surprised us with a new app for Xbox Music). So, how are you liking it?  

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This morning, Microsoft continued to surprise us with two new releases for Windows Phone 8. Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps were released in tandem, augmenting current baked-in functions of their mobile OS.

The Xbox Music app is currently in ‘Preview’, meaning a final version won’t be due until 2014. Likewise, Xbox Video currently doesn’t support HD video playback or downloading, but a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that feature is coming next year.

How are the apps? Watch our video tour below to see them in action.

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After what seems like an eternity of waiting, Microsoft has finally plugged one of the last big holes on Windows Phone 8: the ability to buy or rent videos from their Xbox Video program. Up until now, it has been impossible to transfer previously purchased content from Xbox Video to your Windows Phone, despite the promise of “three screens and the cloud”.

Now, version 1.5.1256.6 of the app has gone live and users with a Windows Phone 8 device can browse, stream and even download videos right to their phone.

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Microsoft just sent out a notice that Zune Marketplace will no longer support rental and purchase of content, or browsing movies and TV shows, beginning as early as November 22, 2013. This is part of the Fall 2013 update that also retires Microsoft Points for local currency. Remaining Microsoft Points balance are transitioned to local currency when initiating a purchase or redeeming a Microsoft Points card or code on your Xbox 360.

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The desktop Zune client could easily go down as one of the greatest desktop applications of all time. It was loved by many for its modern interface, features, and operability with Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to unify its entertainment offerings under the Xbox branding, which is why we now have Xbox Music and Xbox Video. Zune still lives though, it’s essential to users who are still on Windows Phone 7.x or those hanging onto their legacy Zune devices. Sadly, video won’t work after February of 2014.

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GDR2 is slowly rolling out to Windows Phone 8 handsets around the globe. Some devices, like the Lumia 925 and 1020, already come with GDR2 preinstalled. For everyone else, the updates are slowly coming.

We’ve always had a pretty good idea of what’s new in GDR2, but some items were slightly vague. For example we knew Microsoft made "improvements to Xbox Music", but didn’t know exactly what that meant. Thanks to a blog posting by the Windows Phone team, we now know what's changed.

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Recently, Microsoft announced some further changes to the Zune Marketplace motivated by the company’s move away from the Points system for payments. The modifications mean that any purchases through Zune for video or music will begin to end in just a few days (though Zune Pass subscribers can still stream or use their credits, thankfully).

Interestingly, a little footnote about Xbox Video went unnoticed by many including ourselves, which has some widespread implications for current customers. It notes that “Starting later this year you will be able to access Xbox Video on Xbox One, Windows Phone 8, and any web browser”.

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Sometimes technology is a collection of circuitry and silicon, sometimes though – it is a magical moment full of feelings and memories. The best experiences are born when technology transcends our knowledge and connects us with what we love. British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, once said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Microsoft has been around for a long time and for those of us who live off of the technology they provide, some of the memories will never seep away.

In 2007, the company released a four minute commercial that has come to be known as “Your Digital Lifestyle”. The ad highlighted the then current hi-tech Microsoft products of the time and how one green shirted hipster used them to party the night away. The commercial is set to a cover of Ash’s Girl from Mars by Canadian group, Magneta Lane.

Buckle up, because we are going on a field trip to six years ago; along the way, we are going to jam with our green shirted friend and revisit some of our past Microsoft technology goodies. Windows Vista will probably be seen along the way, but there will be plenty of other experiences to combat that bad flavor.

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To say the re-launch of Zune Music and Video as Xbox Music and Video has been smooth for some consumers would certainly raise some eyebrows around Windows Phone Central.  Since day one we have had numerous complaints over incompatibles and items that need re-purchasing.

One area for which we can verify ourselves as a problem is that of Xbox Video, where as far as we can tell, it is not possible to transfer your purchases to your shiny new Windows Phone 8 device. We spent a good hour or two yesterday fidgeting around with various setups and failed on each one. We’re sure many, many other people have and will do the same—after all, according to Microsoft it’s “three screens and a cloud”, right?

Wrong...

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