Xbox Video

True to their word, Microsoft has pushed out two new updates for their Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps for Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft is on a tight schedule, delivering updates to those apps every two weeks in an effort to bring them to par.

Heading to the Store and version 2.6.155.0 for Xbox Music and 2.6.154.0 for Xbox Video are now live for downloading and updating.

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What the what? How many big updates can we get in one day? Let’s recap today, which will go down in history as one of the most updated days of all time for Windows Phone. Spotify got the ball rolling by picking up a major update with a new design. Beats Music followed with some insane optimizations. Readit went hard and gained more features than we could list. Path hit version 2.0 and introduced Path Shops and Xbox Games picked up a quick update. Pretty busy day right? Not be left out of the fun, Xbox Video and Xbox One SmartGlass Beta picked up Windows Phone updates too. Let’s see what’s new.

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It’s been slightly over a month since we last covered an update for Xbox Music on Windows 8.1. The app has just been updated with a handful of new features. In addition, Xbox Video picked up a small update too in the Windows Store. The Windows Phone version of Xbox Music just picked up a major update. So let’s check out how this one for Windows 8.1 fares.

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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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Microsoft releases Xbox Video app for Windows Phone 8

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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