Microsoft wants to take you to the Movies (but you're paying)
Microsoft’s new media player, Movies & TV, gives you access to all of your locally hosted videos and video content purchased from the Windows Store. Putting everything in one place, and playing it through a clean Metro interface, the app certainly sits well within the Windows 10 environment, but it isn’t without flaws.
Slick and lean
Movies & TV filters everything into three simple categories: TV, Movies, and Videos. These are all represented in the left hand column, and clicking on any one of these displays all of the related available folders/media in the main window. This makes it easy to move between and browse your visual media thanks to the clear thumbnails that represent each file.
If you have a lot of movies this process may become a little more cumbersome, but a convenient search function sat with the other options solves the majority of this problem.
Clicking on any downloaded media starts it playing. In tests with limited media on the hard disk, this process was seamless with videos starting instantly (though this was a fresh install of Windows 10 so the hard drive was quite lean). However, not all video formats are supported, and while the only file I found a problem with was an MKV, the list of formats is far from exhaustive (M4V, MP4, MOV, ASF, AVI, WMV, M2TS, 3G2, 3GP2, and 3GPP).
All in one place – kind of
Nothing purchased from the Microsoft Store had this issue of course. Movies & TV also does a great job putting viewing ideas front and center. It suggests movies you could be interested in, and if you are missing episodes or seasons of TV shows then they will be displayed alongside owned ones to speed up the download process.
The issue with this is, when you want to download anything, clicking on it opens the Windows Store menu. While it is on the desired page, it would have been nice to have the store and player integrated into a single app, as Apple managed with iTunes.
Movies & TV is also a little short on options. While you can select whether you want to download or stream videos in either SD or HD, most settings are simply linked to your account, device, and purchase history. This makes sense for the streamlined interface, and focus on downloads from the store, but it is less than ideal if you want to customize your viewing experience.
While is now in its official release, Movies & TV will no doubt still undergo improvements. Currently it is a nice looking, simple app, but it needs Store integration, more options, and increased format support before it’s a real blockbuster.