Here's the summarised changelog for 'Films & TV' from the last eight months (since our last news story on this app) to this rather useful Windows 10 core application:
- When you play a personal video, 'autoplay' lets you keep watching everything else in that folder.
- When you start a video in folders view, Previous and Next now skip to other videos in that folder.
- You can now switch between Dolby and AAC 2-Channel audio while streaming video (if those audio streams are present in your content, obviously)
Content purchasing and rentals:
- Your old expired rentals now get cleaned up automatically.
- When rentals expire, it's easier to rent them again.
- If you only own an episode or two of a TV show, you now get a link to complete your season in the Store.
- Buy while you binge: You can pay for each next TV episode just before it plays.
Performance and miscellaneous:
- You can more quickly resume or restart movies currently in progress.
- The grey overlay in the Now playing screen that appeares when the video was paused has now been removed.
- Better handling of low disk space errors.
- Minor fixes and Improvements.
That's a very decent changelog and, as I say, all of it is now available if your Windows 10 Mobile smartphone is registered on the 'Fast' Insiders ring. If not, just.... wait a few weeks to get the full feature set. The latest version is v10.16112.1015.0, if you want to check (in Settings/About in the app).
Here's the new version of Films & TV in action:
It's great to see Microsoft putting so much effort into what, on some other platforms, is a bare bones (or even non-existent) first party video player. Of course, Microsoft's main aim is to promote the idea of buying or renting film and TV material from its own Windows 10 Store, but we're all benefitting as a result.
I realise that offline media is a concept from the last decade, but Microsoft does seem to recognise this use case, with the folder playing features, i.e. working your way through a physical folder (e.g. on microSD) of previously downloaded or sideloaded videos. Personally, I find it incredibly useful to have 5GB or so of favourite videos (in my case music concerts and documentaries) stashed in a corner of any phone I'm using so that I never get left waiting around (e.g. for trains, appointments or family) without something fun to watch and listen to (via headphones) even if there's no cellular or wi-fi signal.
Just me? Anyway, enjoy the new version of Films & TV on Windows 10 Mobile, it's really rather good...