Microsoft rebrands Xbox Music and Movies, promises to release Android and iOS apps

Microsoft Groove

Microsoft is dropping the Xbox branding that once accompanied its music and movie services, the company announced this week.

With the launch of Windows 10, Xbox Music will become Groove, and Xbox Movies will become Movies and TV.

For Microsoft, this is an attempt to make “the content in the app[s] more identifiable for our broad customer base.”

As part of the rebranding, both services will receive UI overhauls.

In the case of Groove, the new app will focus on providing better music management, an improved listening experience and a UI that better scales across devices that have different input methods. Users will also gain access to a small set of customization options, including the ability to pick between light and dark themes, as well as the option to choose between several accent colours.

Additionally, Groove will become integrated with OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. Once the new app becomes available, users will be able to upload their entire personal music collection, including songs purchased from iTunes, to the OneDrive, making it possible to listen to those songs on any device.

Microsoft Movies and TV

Groove will also continue to double as a streaming service. Like its predecessors, the service will cost $9.99 USD a month; a full year subscription can be bought for $99 USD. Anyone that is currently subscribed to Xbox Music will have their subscription carried over automatically, says Microsoft.

Movies and TV will receive many of the same UI and UX changes. That said, in terms of app specific improvements, Microsoft plans to add support for a variety of file formats, including .MKV, an open standard video format that’s popular online for its ability to hold an unlimited number of subtitle tracks within one file. Like Groove, users will be able to upload their own personal video collection to the Movies and TV, though it doesn’t look like OneDrive syncing is in store for the app.

Lastly, the Movies and TV will feature direct integration with the Windows Store, meaning that users will be able to buy and rent video content directly from the app. Microsoft promises that in some cases TV episodes will be available the day after they air.

The apps are coming to Windows 10 first, which is set to roll out in stages later this month. However, Microsoft promises that are Android and iOS apps will come shortly after.