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.
"Xbox Video brings the latest movies and TV shows to your Windows Phone 8 and makes it easy to watch what you love wherever you are. Rent and buy new blockbuster movies and favorite classics, or catch up on last night's episodes of the hottest TV shows, and watch them on your Windows Phone 8, PC, tablet, Xbox One, Xbox 360, or at XboxVideo.com."
- Get the latest TV shows the day after they air
- Ratings and reviews
- Rent and buy the latest blockbuster movies
- Resume watching from where you left off
- Stream or Download movies and TV
All in all, it seems like a solid app, though we still have to put it through its paces. For instance, we already received a playback error with Pacific Rim with a message of “Failed to acquire license for download”. We’ll chalk that up to the service being fresh and some kinks needing to be worked out.
With Xbox Video being separated from the main OS, and rumors that Xbox Music will get the same in Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft should be able to quickly push out updates and fixes for the service as it grows. That dynamic ability should benefit customers, instead of having to wait for an OS update.
Regional availability: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.
Although the app current does not support HD Playback, Microsoft will be bringing that feature later on. From a Microsoft spokesperson: "We’re thrilled to release Xbox Video for Windows Phone 8 customers and look forward to adding HD playback in 2014"
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.