Xbox One: Xbox Video

Xbox One: Xbox Video

In this case, simple works

It's interesting to see how Microsoft has reimagined key entertainment apps for Xbox One. Case in point, the new Xbox Video app, which features a clean presentation that takes minimalism to new heights.

And to be clear, that's a compliment.

The Xbox Video app on Xbox One follows the user experience model Microsoft also uses on the web-based version of Xbox Video. That is, rather than provide a complex panoramic experience, it simply breaks down the interface into four parts: Your collection, the (default) home view, and separate Movie and TV show stores.

Xbox Video on Xbox One: Simple, clear

In the Xbox Video app for Windows 8.1, this information is all splashed across a single display that reaches past the edges of both the left and right sides of the display. It's too busy.

Xbox Video on Windows 8.1: Confusing panorama with more info off both sides of the display

Sadly, the UX experts at Microsoft didn't apply this minimalism to the landing pages for individual movies and TV shows. Those are in fact panning panoramic experiences. (Queue the wa-wah-waaaaah sound effect.)

Video playback is simple enough, however, and that's probably where you're going to spend most of your time anyway.

And search works exactly as expected. (Plus, you can tap [Y] at any time to search.)

You can also pin movies and TV shows—even those you haven't yet purchased—to the Pins area of the Dashboard for quick access.

Overall, Xbox Video is simple and well designed, and I wish the Windows 8.1 looked like this. The biggest miss? The inability to play your own media, either on attached USB devices or over the home network. Maybe that comes in a future update.

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