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Update: The problems with Xbox Video and Xbox Music appear to be cleared up now.

Original Story: If you were looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Eve soaking up some entertainment via your Xbox One, you may be experiencing some difficulties. According to Microsoft's Xbox Live status page, the service is currently experiencing outages for both the Xbox Music Store and the Xbox Video Store on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and "other devices."

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If you fire up your Xbox One right about now you should be seeing an icon on the dashboard to turn your console into a roaring fireplace for the festive season. Or a snowy forest. Or a beach front with rippling water. Microsoft has added the trio of ambient themes to the console for you to use at your leisure. Or if you don't have a real fireplace.

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Get free trial of Madden NFL 15 on Xbox One December 25

Xbox One owners are in for a special Christmas treat, courtesy of EA. Beginning tomorrow, December 25, you'll be able to get a free, six-hour trial of Madden NFL 15 from the Xbox Store. The trial will be available in the store itself, or right from the Xbox One dashboard.

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The Xbox One Countdown to 2015 sale continues today with another new title getting a healthy price reduction. This time out its Child of Light with a 50% discount dropping it to just $7.50 in the U.S. and £6 in the UK. And if you missed yesterday's deal on Dragon Age: Inquisition, the good news is you get another chance at the 35% discount again today.

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The Interview now available to watch on Xbox Video

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have no doubt heard of Sony's new flick, The Interview. Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, the movie has been at the center of the Sony hacking scandal that has resulted in much media hype and attention in recent weeks. And from today, you'll be able to watch it on Xbox Video and xboxvideo.com.

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When it comes to streaming music wirelessly from your house, Sonos (Sonos.com) is the go-to brand for speakers and hubs. While other wireless systems are just Bluetooth streamers from your phone, Sonos can play music from Pandora, Spotify, Deezer, Songza, and a dozen more services to multiple speakers all at your control.

No official Sonos app for Windows Phone is available today, but reports have been circulating for some time that the company was considering making one. Indeed, back in March the company was measuring interest – and feature requests – for such an app were they ever to make one. (Additionally, ex-Microsoftie Marc Whitten also works for the company now).

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GAME UK starts teasing post-Christmas Xbox One deals

After Christmas, British shoppers will once again hit the high streets and the online stores for the next round of sales. For GAME, the sales begin on Christmas Day online and the retailer has already begun to tease some of its Xbox One deals. These include picking up a console bundle with Forza 5 Game of the Year edition and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for £299.99.

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Update: Looks like this update is only for those users registered in last week's beta test. You can register for the closed beta by filling up this form.

Last week, we wrote about the upcoming changes to music-based game SongArc, which includes a more modern user interface, gameplay tweaks and much more. Several users were already testing the new features through a closed beta.

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Last week, I took a deep dive into SmartThings home automation showing how it works with Windows Phone. Currently set as my default home automation, SmartThings is a very potent (and fun) system to control your humble abode wirelessly.

Today, version 1.04 of their Mobile app has gone live for Windows Phone. What do we like more than app updates? That would be app updates with detailed changelogs. Luckily, we have one of those.

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We are slightly past the halfway point in our 12 Days of Hidden Gems campaign, co-sponsored by Microsoft, and we figured we would expand things a bit.

If you recall, we recently announced that some highly valued Microsoft engineers and developers are assisting in our forums, working with people on Windows 10 requests and features. Now, we are growing that project with more Microsoft reps, focusing on Hidden Gems.

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Goodbye, Windows Central

Over two years ago I met Daniel at Build 2012 on Microsoft's campus in Redmond. Little did I know that meeting would lead to an incredible journey at Windows Central and now a new chapter back on Microsoft's campus.

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We bid farewell to our Managing Editor, Sam Sabri

We say goodbye and give thanks to Sam Sabri as he heads off to his next adventure!

The season for change is upon us as we approach 2015 and New Years. Some of it is good, some of it is sad. For the last two years, Sam Sabri has been on my right-hand side, helping the Windows Central site grow into one of the largest Microsoft sites on the planet. He is also a good friend. It is with this sentiment that it saddens me to announce his departure from the Windows Central team.

As it turns out though, this is actually a joyous occasion too. Although we are losing an esteemed member of our staff, Sam had an opportunity that he just could not pass up. We jokingly refer to it as 'getting called to mothership' but in reality, it means he is going to work for Microsoft.

To say that we are proud of Sam is an understatement. We certainly respect his decision and couldn't be happier for him and his future at Microsoft!

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Tired of seeing Top Gear games launch on Windows Phone? Prepare for yet another with Stunt School Revolution, which launched today on Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. This latest title on both Windows and mobile devices allows players hop behind the wheel of highly customised and – put simply – wacky contraptions, just what you'd expect to see from the popular TV series.

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We are continuing on with our 12 Days of Hidden Gems series this week. So far we have checked out fitness accessories that work well with Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, the connected home, and some great travel apps. You can catch up on all of the articles to date on our Hidden Gems page.

It's Day 7 and continuing on the theme of capturing those special adventures, we're taking a look at the GoPro HERO4 BLACK camera.

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This year was somewhat of a soap opera for the Xbox One. At the beginning of the year Microsoft was trailing Sony in console sales and they were still recovering from the lashings they received for introducing the Xbox One as an online-only console. However, at E3 in June they came out swinging and delivered one of their best E3 press conferences to date.

This fall, they delivered some amazing games exclusively for Xbox owners such as Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. But now it's time to put 2014 to rest as we look at the Xbox One's most anticipated games of 2015.

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