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Microsoft is not making it easy to get on the UHD movie bandwagon

The Windows Store feels like one of those forever evolving projects that is never complete, much like the operating system on which it resides. I can forgive some oversights in knowing that they will be corrected soon, but that doesn't make the user experience any better.

Buying digital content in 4K Ultra-HD (UHD) is still very niche even in late 2017. Most people do not have TVs or the bandwidth to handle such content. Plus, there is just very little content (films mastered in HDR are even fewer). Nonetheless, we all know that UHD for cinema will supplant for HD in the coming years. It's just a matter of time.

That is why it bothers me how bad the UHD experience is in the Windows Store. And even though UHD is still in its early days, Microsoft should be doing as much as it can to push the standard and making it easy for people to adopt, not making it harder.

Problem #1 – Can't find UHD content

Microsoft is good at creating categories but the last I checked there is no simple filter for UHD video content in the Store. That makes finding new titles very difficult, even if there are only a handful (there's just slightly more than thirty UHD titles right now).

Only by typing "UHD", which is weird, can you find 4K content.

Only by typing "UHD", which is weird, can you find 4K content.

Luckily, I did discover if you search for "UHD" it thankfully does show only films in that higher resolution format. That's a start. It would be better if users could pre-set their preferences in the Settings app or even just have a UHD category that shows new films in the format when they are made available.

Problem #2 – HD is by default

I recently bought the classic Bladerunner: The Final Cut (2007) (opens in new tab) since it was on sale. As usual, I bought the HD version as that is what I saw with the price. Later, someone mentioned about how expensive the UHD version was, which I agree, but that is not what bothered me.

I had no idea Bladerunner: The Final Cut was even available in UHD! Had I known, I at least would have contemplated purchasing it since I have an Xbox One S and a 4K UHD TV.

As it turns out, you need to check the format drop-down menu to see if it's in UHD. By default, it shows HD; since there are only around thirty titles in UHD right now the odds of a movie being available in that format are very slim.

Would it have killed Microsoft to put a small banner or something telling me that a film is also in UHD? Making me dig for it is not conducive to an ideal shopping experience.

Problem #3 – Upgrade? Nope.

Citing the above problem, I then thought "maybe I'll grab the UHD version now, paying to upgrade." I was willing to bite the bullet because Bladerunner is awesome who wouldn't want to watch it remastered in UHD?

Turns out, I can't.

Bladerunner: forever stuck in boring HD.

Bladerunner: forever stuck in boring HD.

There is no way to re-purchase Bladerunner in UHD once I own the HD version. I can't delete it (as far as I know) from my main library and there is no path to upgrade to the UHD version.

So even if I wanted to buy it twice just for the privilege of UHD, I can't. As of now, I'll never see Bladerunner in 4K. Lame.

Problem #4 – These prices are too damn high!

If you own a 4K UHD TV and a Xbox One S or Xbox One X and you want UHD movies, you are an early adopter. The higher price of buying new tech is known to us and just part of the consumer game. Not a problem.

Wonder Woman (2017) is $19.99 for full HD but jumps to $29.99 for UHD. That's a whole $10 surcharge for the same movie with four times the pixels. Others are a bit lower, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, which is "only" $5 higher but you get the point. (Renting is also $2 more for the UHD edition).

(Spits out coffee) How much?

(Spits out coffee) How much?

Some of this wouldn't be so bad if Apple didn't recently announce how they will upgrade your existing library to UHD (opens in new tab) (if available, which it probably isn't anyway) for free. Moreover, they aren't charging more for the UHD version of the film for rentals or purchase.

Apple is doing that for one reason: to drive UHD adoption. It's smart. Of course, my guess is Apple is eating those costs as movie studios play a large part in setting those prices, but that doesn't matter for the consumer. Given a choice between buying on Apple TV versus Xbox One, it is Apple's system that seems better financially.

Problem #5 – Movies & TV is not everywhere

I recently wrote about the demise of Microsoft's music streaming service Groove and how Movies & TV is safe from any cuts. I also mention how that may not matter now as the perception is that Microsoft will cut any service whenever it doesn't fit their vision, which seemingly is always in flux.

Besides dwindling trust in buying digital content from Microsoft, there is the more significant problem of why Microsoft Movies & TV is not available for more products, e.g., Roku, Amazon Fire, or even on iOS and Android.

I realize there are probably good reasons for some of that, e.g., tough negotiations, or companies like Amazon who may not want Microsoft on its platform, but that still bums people out who may want to buy a movie and watch it on other devices, even if competing ones.

For Microsoft Movies & TV to succeed, it needs to be in more places — starting with iOS and Android.

That's a wrap?

I've been hammering on Microsoft this week about perception. It's important. People won't invest in buying digital content if they fear a company won't back it. Microsoft is having that problem now, and there's no reason for it besides just lousy communication.

If Microsoft is serious about Movies & TV and its 4K UHD content, then it needs to do more to woo people to it. They already make excellent hardware – the Xbox One S and Xbox One X – that can handle it, so why not give some incentives to spur people to buy those UHD films?

Upgrading people's existing library, keeping prices more neutral, and even just making it easier to find an upgrade would be a great start. I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for that commitment just yet, which means you, dear reader, likely do not either.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • It will be really interesting to see if there is any "response" from Microsoft on this negative trend, feeling, perception, attitude that seems to be growing... For the first time in earnest with even the hardest core fans... Like me.
  • Even before Microsoft just killed off Groove, I was in a ‘never buy’ mindset on video since it’s not available on all platforms. They have a great opportunity with Windows to make great consumer services.  I’d even say Groove was one, but how can anyone invest in buying when a few months or years later things stop. Microsoft are big enough that a purchase should be TRUSTED to be permanent. Recent actions has shown sadly they don’t have them right commitment to deserve customer commitment. Amazing I find myself saying this but the last 3 years has really impacted my view of Microsoft in a negative way. I hope they can pick up on the damage they are doing to their brand. When enough big tech proponents that offer advice and often pioneer choices start saying to friends these concerns, it’s not good for their bottom line. 
  • I can really relate to feeling like your purchases should be permanent. I don't know how many songs I've purchased in Groove, only to later get the message that they have been removed at the request of the copyright holder. I can't play music I've bought and can't get my money refunded. Incredibly frustrating!
  • It's pretty simple as far as movies go...the movie store has been around for like a decade. Groove unfortunately failed because people already use one of many competing services. Google for example, if you have YouTube red then you also have access to unlimited music. Groove was doomed before it started but movies are different. As for upgrading peoples libraries you will need to talk to Hollywood because Microsoft LEGALLY can't do that. They very well might want to but they aren't allowed HD is selected by default right now because 99% of people don't have 4k so if they default to 4k and people buy it and realized they spent money they didn't need to they would be angry. If you buy an HD movie and wanted the 4k version it's as simple as calling Microsoft and telling them that. They will refund the movie and charge you for the 4k version, I've done it twice... As for finding 4k content when this article was written there was about 10 titles in 4k. By the time they hit 20 titles they had a 4k section and a big banner that said 4k right on the front page. Fact is the movie store isn't going anywhere. It's been around for as long as the Xbox 360 (well about 2 years after that console launched anyways) so maybe more than a decade by now. According to Microsoft in their earnings reports they make over a billion dollars a quarter on just movie sales and rentals alone. That's THEIR cut it doesn't include what they have to send to the studios. So the service is doing absurdly well, in fact it might be the overall #1 store for paid video media at this point. They also have the best video and audio quality of ANY digital video service online and also allow you to download the media should you choose. So I think the service is just fine.
  • Here is my problem, I own hundreds of movies via the Microsoft store. I started buying them way back on the 360. Should I ask Microsoft to refund every single purchase that has a UHD version over the last several years simply to upgrade? I'll try that and see what they say, but this should be quite simple..add a button 9n the page when I stop on a movies landing page asking me to buy the UHD version. How freakin hard is that?
  • Gonna follow groove. Will sell your accounts to vudu though!
  • 1. "had i know the movie was available in uhd..." did you not read the description? In the picture you posted it clearly says  "this title is available in ultra high definition. 
    2. HD is the default because 90% of people don't have 4k sets. More importantly, as you mention later UHD is more expensive so presenting the default cheaper (and there fore more appealing) price is a wise decision. 
    3. as far as i know apple is the first and only service that is upgrading content but i agree this would be a nice service. I bought the UHD bluray of GotG vol 2 and it sucks that the digital copy is only in HD and there is no way to upgrade it. 
    4. They price with the market. UHD is 25.00-30.00 across the board. Thats why i buy the disc. you get a 4k disk, bluray, and a digital copy (which for now is only in HD). 
    5. Very valid but i have a strong feeling movies and tv will meet its demise soon. which is a shame. 
  • For #1, no I just followed the link Microsoft tweeted and hit buy; See a few comments below as someone else did the exact same thing. Point is, they could do a better job here.
  • Daniel, I'm sorry. But the very first line of the description says "Available in UHD".
  • 2. HD is the default because 90% of people don't have 4k sets. More importantly, as you mention later UHD is more expensive so presenting the default cheaper (and there fore more appealing) price is a wise decision
    The answer to that is simple: add a Store setting for preferred definition, that way Daniel and others can always be sure they're buying movies and tv shows in the resolution they want.
  • Yup. I mean, I do point out that UHD is niche, so I get it, but there are solvable UX problems here that can make everyone happy. It's just good UX design, that's all.
  • Daniel, in Windows 8.1 XBox Video there's a category specifically for UHD videos.  It's on the front page under "Feature Sets" as well as movies in HD.  8.1 might be the forgotten OS but I still luv it!  :) Edit:  But I should state I can't purchase a UHD on my computer but I can see them.  LOL!
  • As for point number 4, it isn't what the market is pricing UHD content at though. I bought Wonder Woman last week on Vudu because it was $20 instead of the $30 on Xbox. As pointed out in the article Apple is also $20. I understand what you're saying but when both Apple and Walmart price their digital copies at $20 it seems hard to say that the market has priced the content at $30. At the time I was bummed out that that I couldn't buy it on Xbox for a reasonable price, that's where I've bought all my other content, but then Grove was killed. I'm not sure I will keep buying movies through Microsoft  as I've been a customer of one too many products they've discarded.
  • One movie on one service is not the market. WW is $20 on vudu, it's 30 on google play and Microsoft movies and TV. The newest Pirates movie is $25 pretty much everywhere. and most other 4k movies are 30 dollars. My point is that the market is still young and Microsoft's current prices are not completely out of line with most of competitors excluding apple. Because Apple is pushing for $20 movies others are trying to follow suit and i expect microsoft will as well. I honestly dont believe microsoft cares much about movies and tv (both the app and the content) but i don't think they are so stupid as to maintain a higher price point than all of thier competitors for an extended period. if $20 becomes the new normal, microsoft will follow suit but for the time being the price point is still a sliding scale between 20-30. Side note, Disney was the lone hold out in apples announcement but looking at spiderman homecoming, itunes has it listed as 4k for $20, yet GotG is still only HD on itunes. Wonder if Disney reached a deal or whats going on. 
  • This isn't quite accurate.  Both VUDU and Apple offer new 4K titles at $19.99, the same price point as most new HD (1080p) releases.  Since Apple's embrace of 4K I have had two titles upgrade for free.  In fact Apple has really been pushing 4K and many titles can be found on discount.  For example I picked up Blade Runner: Final Cut in 4K for $9.99, complete with bonus features.
      Of all the streaming services both Apple and VUDU seem to have the best handle on streaming as both offer better values over their competitors, and in many cases retain the extras found on physical disc.  MS, Google, and even Amzon really have fallen behind in these categories... And yes... it would not shock me if Movies & TV gets axed right after the holidays.
  • yeah, so Movies & TV might soon go the Groove way...
  • Most of the issues the author brings up are an issue for every movie streaming service.. VUDU, and Fandango have little UHD content, and yes UHD movies are $30 a pop, and you have to jump through hoops to find UHD content. Netflix only offers UHD for the content they make themselves.
  • Not true regarding netflix as I watched Better call Saul in 4K the other day on Netflix
  • Hey, youre right, there are a handful of shows in UHD that arent owned by Netflix, cool.
  • Ugh, I just bought Blade Runner too, and I had no idea it was available in UHD! I would've gladly bought it in UHD format if I knew it was available. Oh well. MS just lost $10 because of bad design.
  • Glad I'm not alone on that.
  • I sure if you call them they will refund, remove your HD version and let you buy the uhd version. They did that for me with similar content.
  • You can't read? It clearly says it was available in UHD.
  • All great points that I struggle w/ on a daily basis.
  • The only thing that interested me about the new Apple TV is that they will automatically upgrade all your movies to UHD if you have one (and if that movie is available in UHD of course). That could translate into significant savings relative to the current $10 difference - it's the same gap in Canada, typically $25 for HD and $35 for 4K. I really hope all the digital stores steal that idea, or even make it really easy to upgrade for more like $2 each so they can still make some profit off the effort while being way cheaper than buying all over again. The state of digital movies perpetually annoys me. UltraViolet is supposed to be the thing that gets you around being stuck in one ecosystem or another, but none of the big device manufacturers support. In Canada, pretty much the only option is Flixster, which has minimal app support and no 4K at all. Others existed, but either shut down (CinemaNow) or cut their ties to UltraViolet (Cineplex). I won't buy digital outside of UV because I don't want to forget about it on some other platform I don't use anymore - e.g. I did buy some movies on the BlackBerry 10 movie store which we can never watch again (fortunately only bought a few on $0.99 sales, so not a big loss, but the principle is annoying). But then UV is pretty much dying. So... buy discs and rip to Plex, I guess?
  • 1. Have you ripped UHD?
    2. Xbox (and everyone else but NVIDIA - who has no optical drive) have gimped PLEX when it comes to audio, so unless you have a HTPC with a Kaby Lake processor (which is, apparently, required to watch UHD directly from disc) there's really no perfect solution right now.
  • Price is an issue with physical discs too.  Wonder Woman in 4k is $30 or $35 at Best Buy...
  • Which is the other weird thing - same with video games and music - where the physical is the same as digital, which makes little sense.
  • In some cases, you can get physical copies substantially cheaper compared to digital copies.
  • I know it doesn't make that much sense but I understand it. If prices were significantly cheaper for digital media physical stores would be going out of business at an even faster rate.
  • I think digital games are always more expensive as you only have a single choice of who to buy from...Microsoft. In stores they stores will compete to the point they are making a few pounds or cents etc. on a game - In the UK especially true of supermarkets who sell almost everything under one roof, they can make a small amount off games etc. just to get you in the store. It's often £10+ price difference between digital and physical in the UK - I just go Digital for convenience but if I bought more games that could really add up
  • Almost every physical copy includes a digital copy.
  • Don't worry by the time MS solves all these UHD problems Nutella will be ready to kill this section of the store too. Nutella will advise us all to transition to iTunes instead. Is there any point in giving advice when the current CEO is so terrible and treats consumers like garbage?
  • Hey you never know...maybe they would do that one day. If iTunes ran on Xbox One for example.
  • I'm not sure I agree that needing to click a dropdown menu is that difficult and you did find the UHD content with a simple search, but these are pesky issues that make for a less than ideal experience. It makes no sense that you can't pay to upgrade your copy from HD to UHD or buy a second copy in the other format. I suspect the studios are behind that however, not Microsoft. I would like to see Movies & TV added to other devices, particularly Fire devices. There is room for an agreement here. Amazon could allow me to actually purchase content on the Xbox instead of making me grab my Surface to make the purchase and Microsoft can put their app on Fire devices.  I agree with your assessment that Movies & TV is far more likely to remain a service than Groove because of where it is used, and adding a voice remote (something I have been complaining to the Xbox people about for years) and spreading the app to a few more devices would go a long way to reassure any nervous customers. 
  • Of course, the pc requirements for UHD are some way off being easily available anytime soon
  • Personally, I won't buy uhd digitally because it's inferior to dusk. For the same price as digital only, I can get the dial, which includes digital for free.
  • Excellent article with good points that really affect our user experience.  I hope Microsoft is reading this!  I always prefer Msft Movies & TV app so I can have all my content in one place.  I wish I could access it on my Android phone. I use Groove on everything but I guess I'll be switching to Spotify next week.
  • Spotify is pretty good - Even their WP phone app is half decent, people blew it out of proportion when they've said it doesn't work. I've not had an issues on an Elite X3. Groove was the better app but the Spotify service itself does seem a little better. Hopefully in RS4 Cortana will integrate with Spotify more directly
  • In the context of recent events you have to ask what would be their motiviation to focus more resources on this service to add the improvements outlined? Does it fit into their productivity vision better than the band, groove or mobile? It certainly doesnt seem so on the surface so unless it would take minimal effort it doesnt seem likely to me.
  • 30$ not really bad
  • This is why you buy your stuff from Amazon. Platform agnostic. Doesn't get locked in with one of the platform vendors. Backed by Amazon, who is currently a Megaopoly that nobody wants to break up, but seems to use its sheer size and pull to dominate industry after industry.
  • "Wonder Woman (2017) is $19.99 for full HD but jumps to $29.99 for UHD. That's a whole $10 surcharge for the same movie with four times the pixels." The exact same happens with the disc versions.
    And if you're going to bring up the fact that these are digital copies I'd say that'd be a fair argument...if games didn't have the same problem with the digital versions actually often being more expensive than the physical discs (specially overtime). I'd sure like UHD films to go down in price since I no longer buy HD versions of films that are available in 4K. But it'll take time and wider adoption of the format.
    Which is why Sony's lack of a UHD player on the PS4 "Pro" is so damn stupid.
    But we'll eventually get there.
  • honestly, if you have a one S and a 4k tv, 4k bluray is MUCH better than what you get from ANY streaming service. Both audio and video is better on bluray. We did a one to one comparison on several movies on every service they were offered, and bluray one every time.
  • First of all I know only 2 people now without 4K TVs.  Journalist think everyone is broke?  LOL  
  • Our demographics are about 1/2 non-US, so no, not broke, but just don't assume everyone has a 4K TV or One S.
  • Do you assume rich people own 4K TVs? You musn't know many rich people then. Allow me to tell you that I know more people who earn the minimum wage and barely make it through the month with 4K TVs than rich people with them. And I'm not someone who knows a lot of people earning the minimum wage. It's called "priorities". Most people I know don't see a 4K TV as a prirority AT ALL.
  • I'm Pretty well off,  I have NO 4k TVs.  Why?  because I see no real point in them.  Regular HD is GOOD ENOUGH.  I have a "regluar HD" Projection system with 120" screen,  movies are fan effin tastic on  it.  Move theater quality and sound in my recreation room in my basement.  The screen comes down to cover my 55" samsung LED tv that we use for general tv watching.  4K is not something that I persue as a big need.  
  • It does feel like there's significant synergy lost here. Allowing for the free upgrade could help in marketing. Afterall, one of the appeals of the Xbox One X is the free upgrade to 4K for games you already have. The value to the customer just went up. There's this chicken/egg dilemma that is involved in emerging technologies. In the case of 4K, to enjoy it, you need a 4K source with 4K content and a 4K display. I hear this all the time when I talk to people about 4K. Why buy a 4K TV if you don't have a 4K source? Why buy a 4K source if you don't have a 4K TV? Buy both at once? That's expensive! Allowing the free upgrade helps in a lot of ways. First, it provides me with 4K content. Second, it adds value to the purchase, even if the user doesn't have a 4K display. They've engaged in free future-proofing. From a Microsoft perspective, they've also increased the value of some of their products (Xbox One S/X) to the user. 
  • Yeah Microsoft Movies needs too be on more platforms, especially Android/iOS
  • One is that is missing from the article is the UHD selection when compared to other platforms. Titles such as Spiderman or Baywatch are available as UHD except in Windows Store
  • I have spent a lot of time ripping my DVDs and Blue-rays to MKV format... and filled up space on disks (15TB, more or less... all of it movies I have purchased -- no pirating). What would I require of a video service?
    * Good selection of movies, and good quality (UHD > Full HD > DVD),
    * Yes, please an option for upgrading quality -- for a price,
    * A good system for searching/filtering available movies,
    * Decent prices,
    * Choice as to either *rent* a movie (one download or download for a limited time) and *purchase* for movies I'd like to see more than one time,
    * Purchased movies... I don't really want to download it and store it locally. Instead, I'd buy the right to perpetual downloads -- I don't want to have the responsibility for back-up, etc. -- a little like books I buy for my Kindle through Amazon. Whether MS offers this themselves or provides the service via another company, is not that important. Or perhaps MS could offer a system where I can buy/rent movies from a number of companies -- that would also be ok. In any way, if I buy a movie -- I'd need some security that the movie is available in the future.
  • I just knew we would have company "fans" doing damage control, defending a company and attacking the author. Looks like it's impossible to criticise a certain company without upsetting people.  Cricitsm is good. It can help make a product better for us consumers...
  • These things are why Microsoft is failing in so many areas. Not because of their timing, marketing etc.
    But their horrible execution. I can understand that advanced things are failing. That they have trouble making ai, or quantum computers. But these are simple things, present in almost all of their products. Things that should have been fixed before even a beta.
    A lot of the mentioned things might be small, and insignificant. But they become significant, if the competition does not have these flaws.
  • Go ahead and kill it because I'm not buying anything more from them.  Just give me a full refund when they do it and double that for wasting my time.  Satya Nedella Sucks!!!!
  • I’m not really a fan of digital items that aren’t platform agnostic. When iTunes started selling music it was DRM-PROTECTED. Probably bought 2 songs from them. Everything else I’ve ever bought has been in MP3 format. Same goes for digital movies. It makes no sense to me to be stuck on a platform you are unsure will be around tomorrow. This is why I prefer services that have ULTRAVIOLET support. So, VUDU it is on the movie front, after all they’re everywhere, even on Apple TV...crazily enough. 
  • I've built up a collection of movies and shows over the years that I purchased on my Xbox. Having recently switched from Windows Phone to Android, I was blown away that my video content is not even accessible from my new mobile device. I'd gladly continue purchasing things from Movies & TV but now I'm being forced to buy video content elsewhere just so I can watch it on the bus. Definitely feels like Microsoft is pulling out of the consumer business when they make it this difficult to spend money in their ecosystem. 
  • You tell them Daniel! Get angry.  }:-[  
  • They do have a section. Scroll to the bottom there's a section "Movies in UHD"
  • sorry after groove, I could careless of microsoft movies and tv. this is why when i am redeeming my movies coupons i choose other providers. Microsoft lost their trust in me for keeping me as a consumer of their products. i still love windows but you can only be burnt so many times. maybe for a quick movie rent on xbox i will use movies and tv, but i will not be purchasing stuff from Microsoft, and like you said these movies only exit on windows 10 devices and that is now pc and xbox ( mobile is dead). since i have to buy an iphone or android devices i will go with where movies could be watched across my devices 
  • They will ignore this market until it will be way too late to address it and eventually will kill it off or ignore it completely.
  • I think I've purchased maybe a couple of videos through the Microsoft Store. I typically do not buy digital media for these kinds of reasons but the ones I did I think were black friday sales that were super cheap. My personal preference is still physical media. With that said, I have a strong bias towards Bluray that features UltraViolet Digital Copy. So now I slowly have a decent collection of movies and  I can watch those on any platform. If Microsoft adopted this platform as an integration or whatever, it would go along way in comforting users about any future impending doom towards Microsofts video services. Furthermore they should update the Movies and TV App so that you can watch your ultraviolet collection in that movie app. For now, on windows 10 there's flixster.
  • I'm glad you are addressing this. Maybe just maybe you have enough exposure that MS might actually see this.  I have posted almost this exact same thing in the Feed Back Hub and nothing seems to happen.  This seems to be MS biggest problem.  They are so afraid of failure that they do so little to invest that it becomes the reality.  Now thier reputation for giving up is catching up with them that they would have to truely do something monumental to regain any trust.  They would have to make a consumer push like never before for me to believe them and continue to invest in thier products.  Now I'm just looking for alternatives so my burns can heal.
  • Also, the movie industry adopted hardware DRM for 4K, which has a host of problems. To be honest, 4k might not even be mainstream in 5 years. Especially since there is no benefit to 4k movies on a 6in phone.
  • 3 Years ago I was fully committed to the Microsoft ecosystem and wanted to start buying digital movies. I live in Spain. Microsoft predominantly only supply movies with a Spanish soundtrack and do NOT include the original soundtrack. Google has the same party trick. Apple OTOH for most of its movies does supply the original and the Spanish soundtrack. Thankfully I went with Apple for that decision, just got free upgrade to 4K movies, could not be happier in the Apple ecosystem for movies. After seeing what just happened with Groove, and having been burnt with two dead end products, Band 2 and the Lumia 950 I will not be "expanding" in the MS ecosystem any further. Still a happy Office 365 subscriber, but *very* suspicious of their consumer offerings with their poor support. Caveat emptor.
  • wtf? Different prices for different resolutions?!?! Who in their right mind would ever pay that?
  • I hate to say it but Microsoft is going the way of IBM! They will continue to be profitable, just from enterprise. That's just how it seems the last few years. I went from wp to iPhone, Surface to iPad, Groove to Spotify....whats next?
  • I am really disappointed in MS, probably for the first time, since it's founding! I have been upset a few times along the way. But Windows phone will be the last time, they ever get me to buy anything, hardware related, EVER again! I loved my Luima phones, and snap, well we're changing direction again, and again! Well I am though! About 37 year's, I have supported, bragged, and defended MS : ( Never again!
  • I hope Microsoft pay attention to this article. Fair written with good points.
  • #6 How long are they going to support Movies and TV?  At least my purchased music is playable in iTunes, Google Play........
  • The thing that bugged me the most about this article is that there is a "Movies in 4K UHD" Featured Collection in the Windows Store.I mean... it's like right there. Click on "Movies & TV", go to "Featured Collections", and then click the "Movies in 4K UHD" collection. There's all the UHD movies they have. Are you mad there's not a "The Exact Movies You Are Looking For" collection that pops up when you log in to the computer so you don't have to look for them? Otherwise, this app/service will die soon also. Google, Amazon, Apple, Vudu... there's other places to get movies. And you can even watch some of those on Xbox.
  • Pretty nonplussed about this to be honest, I'm happier they gave a UHD blu-ray in the Xbox vs none and more UHD downloads. Even if my broadband was amazing if you want to own a film you get way better quality, the standard blu-ray if you are into ripping and often ultraviolet (which isn't great but is multiplatform at least in a bind). I would like to see more HDR though as I will rent stuff on the store. Whatever your preference though, wow wow wow the Blade Runner 4K UHD HDR presentation is a thing of wonder..... I've seen things.....I'd never noticed is the way to see it!
  • I think there is a section in featured collection for "Movies in 4K UHD". (Maybe they might have added it after this article)
  • If it makes you feel any better, I recently bought the same and it was not yet available in UHD. You may not have overlooked anything.
    I just wish they would adopt UltraViolet, I think.
  • I concur with the writer; the design of the store does not encourage users to get 4K content. In addition, the content is not available on mobile platforms that are dominant, and the application has a few bug problems I face when using it. But, I still chose to use the services in hopes it would improve over time. I am afraid that given enough time Satya Nadella could axe the content in a hope to “focus on important areas” aka his cloud baby. Grooves take down has really raddled the community’s sprit and trust in the store.   I really like Microsoft, my Surface Book is amazing, Windows 10 is incredible…I just wish Microsoft would give the personal users more love.
  • Speaking of sorting, have you tried sorting stuff on  It's an absolute mess.
  • I don't even see the UHD option in the Canadian microsot store, only the US microsoft store.  I've amassed a good collection of HD movies on Microsoft.  I enjoy the convenience of being able to watch movies on TV via Xbox and anywhere via Surface.  However with the discontinuation of Groove which I heavily used, I will not be spending any further money on owning movies on Microsoft.  I haven't yet decided if Google or Apple will be my new goto for digital movies.  I might also just go back to Blu Ray disc.  What I find frustrating it when movies are released its common that they release on digital three weeks ahead of blu ray.  However the experience is never consistent and its clouded in secrecy.  For example, Wonder Woman released three weeks early in Canada on Apple and Google but not Microsoft.  Microsoft did release Wonder Woman three weeks early in their US store but not in other countries.  Prior to the release Microsoft heavily promoted pre-orders of Wonder Woman in their Canadian store.  The day before the early release the pre-order and all mention of the Wonder Woman movie was removed from their Canadian store front.  Microsoft of course had no details or explanation for this other than to lay blame with the "content providers".   I think that digital movies needs to be more regulated in order to provide consumers more peace of mind.  I might just end up switching back to physical discs until that day arrives... if it ever does.  
  • Good article Daniel. I really hope folks at Microsoft are reading your articles. Microsoft, I'm a former employee, huge Windows Phone fan, XBox fan, Surface owner and fan etc. You're losing me. You're losing your biggest fanboys because you're shifting focus completely away from consumers. Don't forget what happened when the iPad first came out. It proved that consumer products often shape the Enterprise. Many enterprises were (albeit for a short time) forced to allow execs to bring in iPads.  Azure and cloud is great. Having Office on every device is great. But losing music, having a relatively crappy TV service, losing the best mobile OS because of lack of investment and commitment on your part MS, that's just really unfortunate.
  • and to that Belfiore should be fired...he is the harbinger of doom for anything he touches at MSFT...
  • Simple solution. Give up on Microsoft Store. I'm actually slowly transferring over to apple now, as more and more things are service based, Apple has their service sorted and has for a long time. Microsoft have been given what feels like a million attempts to get this right and every time they change its like they started from ground zero again. And example of this is the Zune PC client, it was actually great, they changed the name, and scrapped everything and went back to nothing, then again and now goodbye Groove. Mean while Spotify just grew, they didn't change names to try and get new people. Can anyone honestly say they have all thier collection through xbox video or what ever it is called now? I've finally given up on using my Xbox as my media device and just bought an Apple TV. And you know what it's a joy to use in comparison for media, weirdly just on Netflix alone, the ATV feels like it has about 10x the power of the Xbox One, it's an absolute joke.
  • "Search for the movie you want and watch in the best quality available you are willing to pay for" seems pretty damn reasonable to me. If you want to search for movies specifically based on resolution there is an two separate sections for HD and 4kHD movies explicitly in the store. It seems very strange a senior editor is complaining about finding 4k content when he can  1. Look for sections 2. Searching for the string "4k" or UHD in the store. It is getting to the point of ridecule that he can recognize this, yet somehow have an entire section devoted to "It's too hard to find 4k content"
  • Reason #5 is the killer for Movies & TV. Even Google Play as a Roku App. Amazon is everywhere. Apple, at least, has iTunes on Windows.
  • Like "J88NY R," I've simply transitioned away from Microsoft. I'm only using my Dell Notebook until I replace it with a MacBook Pro, at which point I will wipe out Windows and replace it with an alternative (probably a popular Linux distro, or FreeBSD). Apple is the only choice if you want polished Desktop and Mobile platforms that integrate completely and seamlessly with each other - in addition to having good commercial Software/Application ecosystems. Linux can be themes to look superficially like macOS, and the user lands are "similar," so I will use that on the Windows laptop once I get the MacBook, as a sort of back-up.
  • Microsoft never gets it when it comes to the consumer. That's why companies like Apple, Samsung and even Google will always be ahead. Nadella needs to leave and be replaced by someone with a vision.
  • Microsoft has done and continues to make plenty of mistakes when it comes to consumer loyalty and keeping up with trends. They always seem to be in catchup mode most of the time. They have their moments though like Full screen support for streaming movies on a LG Ultrawide monitor and Dolby Digital Streaming support as well included in the Edge Browser. It seems that Netflix has supported this out the gate and Amazon may have finally caught up as well with Dolby surround support. However, when it comes to buying digital content from Microsoft I did start early on thru my Xbox 360 buying a lot of music videos over 100 of them and a few movies over time. But when I no longer had access to my Music video purchases and they said I could join Prime Music to get some of them again I was a bit upset. I did call them showing my receipts for all the purchases which was about $200 worth of music videos so they offered me a 1250 MS Points card as compensation. That was a serious insult to me so my days of digital purchases from Microsoft were over after that as I could not trust them any longer no matter how big a company they are. I have purchased a couple from amazon but then had issues of no Dolby Digital Support streaming to PC's even though the content I purchased said 5.1 it would only stream 2.0 PCM stereo in Windows 10. That seems to have been corrected already recently so may reconsider in the future. However, I have mainly gone back to just buying Blu-ray disk now and rip them to whatever format I wish and create my own streaming server that way I have a Disk that will play the full content with surround no matter what via Xbox One or Windows 10. When it comes to Music I always buy the CD's and rip them myself to Flac for backup. However, I like when Amazon lets me download the MP3's while waiting on the CD's as a bonus but I still end up converting them to my own format due to the mid quality choices they have on the digital downloads. I have also experienced this with iTunes as well, being substandard audio. It amazes me how Today's Generation has become accepting of lower quality standards when it comes to digital downloads while paying more for it. The end result, when it comes to Music and Movies, the original Hard Copies are still the only true guarantee that you will get the best quality and compatibility period.
  • I have a 3D TV, so I buy the 3D physical copy packages. A few of them, so far, have included both the 3D and 4k versions, along with the HD version and a digital copy. Why pay the same price for one version, when I can get three versions, plus the extras, and not be tethered to the Internet to watch any of them?
  • Microsoft's attitude to the consumer space is one of the reasons I won't be buying any digital content from them. I don't mind renting movies or TV shows via Films & TV, but as for buying titles I like, I'll be getting them on disk. At least then I know that neither Microsoft nor anyone else can take them away from me.
  • Don't worry Daniel, MSFT doesn't need to do anything...loyal MSFT users will be abandoning the Windows ecosystem with the ending of Windows Phone...MSFT will too end this someone who is heavily in the MSFT ecosystem, ever since Zune HD debacle, I kept a hand in the Amazon ecosystem and purcased all my media from them, because I didn't trust MSFT's commitment to their own services...I have proven myself right with the shuttering of Groove and now WP...I will still stay mostly with MSFT but will change to Android for my phone and subscribe to Amazon's Unlimited Music service...I'm a Prime member so I will get a discount...many people feel as I do and are starting their migration already...I'm not interested in Spotify...
  • The story of Microsoft and the consumer in a few words. It's almost as if they approach each product without thought for the consumer. I've been a die hard supporter of Microsoft for years, but following their recent trend of ending support for products that management no longer likes, I'm second guessing every purchase. Even the upcoming Xbox One X, and that's a major problem.
  • I am pissed that Microsoft blocks the DirecTv and AT&T streaming package. I bought a M. S. Lumia 950 and this GREAT offer WILL NOT WORK! I worked for AT&T and have bin a customer and PRAISED all 3  AT&T, Directv, and Microsoft company's for years but this SUCKS and you are just letting Apple and the others walk all over you and take your business. AGAIN IT SUCKS ! ! !
  • Probably the main reason I purchase digital goods from Amazon is that their apps are pretty much within reach on most platforms. I would purchase from Microsoft, but like you mention, forget about it if you need to watch on a Roku or streaming stick.