Netflix Win8 Apps Semantic Zoom.png

Microsoft seems to building the next level of consistency across its apps.

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The Xbox apps look the same, but aren’t great, while the apps in Windows 8 are remedying those issues

Microsoft rolled out media apps as part of its 2011 Xbox Live dashboard update, and the media apps looked the same. That’s great, because you know what to expect, but when apps like YouTube don’t work it’s pretty off-putting and it’s encouraging to see Microsoft putting more effort into developing a consistency across the apps in Windows 8.

The app Microsoft showed off to set the new precedent was Netflix for Windows 8, showing on the Surface tablet it unveiled on Monday (though make sure to call it a PC, because it certainly has the internals of one). It maintained the Metro UI, of course, and functioned like the Windows 8 Start screen: Semantic Zoom allows users to zoom in and out and swipe across to see movies and TV shows.

What I like is that while Microsoft is creating a very consistent experience, there’s lots of functionality. Using YouTube on my Xbox 360, it’s difficult to view my channels and subscriptions. If apps follow the suit of Netflix, then apps like Hulu and YouTube will look so much better. I think it could also be interesting for comic readers to support the layout.

How Will Windows 8 Impact The Xbox?

Now what I want to see is the apps go back on to my Xbox, because the Metro implementation on there just isn’t good. If Microsoft can find some way to integrate its tablets, perhaps through SmartGlass, to use apps, then there’s more reason to use the Xbox as a media device. The My Xbox Live app on Windows Phone already allows this, so it would be a logical feature.

The result is that there seems to be an emphasis on design in Windows 8, which I like. Windows has lagged behind OS X in terms of designs in seemingly forever, and tablets from non-Apple OEMs haven’t provide the sleek form factor and well designed OS. Microsoft’s doing that. I just wish desktop Windows 8 could be disabled on a tablet, because I feel like it’s always trying to encroach on my experience.

Roll on October, when Windows 8 will probably release.