Problems with Xbox Video in Windows 8

by Van 7. March 2013 23:02

This is a copy of the letter I jjust sent to Microsoft support telling them of the issues double charging in Xbox Video on Windows 8:

 

 

I have been buying season passes to various TV show from the Zune marketplace for over 2 years. The Zune HD device with the TV adapter is great (too bad you no longer make them). It is an easy way to carry lots of TV show when traveling. It is very easy to hook up to any TV. I could do the same with my iPod but the experience is not as good. Therefor for years I would buy from the iTunes store if the show was not available from the Zune marketplace.   The idea of a season pass for shows currently in progress is that when the shows episodes becomes available, generally the day after it airs, I will be able to download it to my device.

This has been working great for me for years, until the middle of February 2013. I have a season pass for “Once Upon A Time” Season 2, when episode 13 “Tiny” became available; I started getting an error when I tried to download it. I thought this problem would be resolve the next day so I did not worry about it.  A couple of days later I had the same issue with “Nikita” Season 3 episode 10 “Brave New World” when that became available. Following the help from the Microsoft web site, I reinstalled my Zune software, but the issue remained. Being a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer and having a MSDN subscription, I loaded the Zune Software on one of my Windows 7 virtual images, which I use for developing software and had the same problem. Since I also have a Surface RT, I was able to download the episode form “Once Upon A Time” in the XBOX Video app in Windows 8. However that format will not play on my Zune.

At the time I decided start a chat with Microsoft support. At first they were trying to tell me it was my machine with the issue, until I explained that it was happen on various machines. While I was in the chat suddenly I was able to download the current episode of “Once Upon A Time”. The technical did tell me that there is a problem with season passes, but sounded like a different issue. After hours on chat the technician escalated my issue and “Nikita” was still not working. A couple of days later I was able to download the “Nikita” episode, I thought the problem was resolved.

When episode 6 of “Continuum” season 1, episode 6 of “Being Human” season 3 and episode 3 of “Touch” season 2 became available, I realize that the problem had not been resolved. At that time I decided to use my surface RT and not my Zune since I could download the shows in windows 8 and have my Surface RT connected to my TV instead of my Zune. I decided to uses my Windows 8 slate to down the shows via Ethernet and move them to my Windows Home Server then copy them from my server to my RT.

Yesterday, March 6, 2013, was when I realize the how big this problem really is. This happen when I downloaded the latest episode of “Continuum” Season 1 episode 8 “Playtime”, I got an email stating that I have been charge $1.99. I immediately got on an Xbox chat; the technician told me I was not charge. I then went to my account screen and saw the charge, told that to the technician and they reimburse me. While looking at my account, to my horror, I realize that I have been charge for every episode of every show that I have a season pass for since the problem started with episode 13 of “Once Upon A Time.  I also realize the reason that start working in in the zune marketplace was because I had paid for it again in the Xbox Video app on windows 8. Xbox video did not send any notification or give any indication that I was being charged. The reason why I was charge yesterday was because I did not have enough Xbox live points left. This was 9 shows, I told this to the technician, they said they can only reimburse me for 3 episodes and escalate my problem and someone will get within 3 days, this was again after spending hours in chat.

I generally do not write letters when I am unhappy with service or products; I simply just never buy from that company again. However since I make my living developing software with Microsoft products I felt I should let you know how bad this problem is. The thing I am most upset about is the when I pointed out that I was double charged my money was not immediately refunded, I know I will get my money back eventually. I also feel this is a broken promise for season passes, I would like to have the episode when they become available with no hassle (like it used to be). Obviously there is a problem in the backend, when an enhancement was done it broke something, which means it was not tested well. Also double charging does not seem to be a big deal to you as you can let this problem persist. I think windows 8 is a great platform, however I really lost trust of the Microsoft apps since it was charging me without telling me. This could cause ordinary customers to lose faith with the whole platform.

I currently have 7 season passes for shows in progress; the remaining episodes I will buy them from the iTunes Store when they become available, even though I would much rather have them on Microsoft hardware. I will be much cheaper for me to do that rather than using my time to get this issue straight. Because I spent several hours in chat with your technicians (my time is valuable), I will never (never) buy a season pass again from Microsoft (you are probably unaware of how customers you are losing because of this) 

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MIX10 – Day One

by Van 16. March 2010 15:10

This is my fourth MIX conference, missing the first one. This is the first sold out MIX. The excitement is all due to the Window Phone announcement.  

The day started out as all MIX conferences (actually all conferences) does with the keynote. Scott Gu gave the first day keynote as he has done in all of the MIX conferences I have been at. His first bit of news was SilverLight 4 RC is now available. The best part of this announcement was that we can build SilverLight 4 applications with Visual Studio 2010 RC. This was not a surprise but what I had expected and would have been disappoint if not been release today.

But the star of the keynote was Windows Phone. They demonstrated the new platform; the ease of building compelling applications. This platform uses silverLight and/or the XNA framework. They showed how you can build an application that runs on the PC, Zune, Xbox and the new Windows Phone platform. The real beauty of this is that any .Net developer can start doing this today. Of course the tools for Windows Phone development are available now.

My session of the day was “Beyond File | New Company: From Cheesy Sample to Social Platform”. In the session they took the “NerdDinner” ASP.Net MVC sample and changed it to a more compelling application using iCal, Open Auth, Odata, bolg flairs, etc. Look at the code at http://www.codeplex.com/site/search?projectSearchText=nerddinner.

My last session of the day was “Understanding the Model-View-ViewModel Pattern”. This session did give me a better understanding of the MVVM pattern. The speaker had created a framework to help with creating MVVM applications. He talks about how this pattern is good for SilverLight applications. His focus was building the view part of the application in Blend.

About Van

Van, a Senior Web Developer for Innervisions Software, Inc. since 1996, started programming Mainframes using COBOL, JCL for AT&T in 1979. While at AT&T, Van was part of many development teams that produced enterprise level applications and systems using CICS, IMS and other mainframe technologies. 

Van bought his first personal computer in 1982, an Apple II+, and started to write programs for home use in Applesoft (Basic Microsoft created for the Apple II) . 

Van first started working with Microsoft technologies using Access 1.0 and Visual Basic 3.0. In 2000, Van attended VS Live in Orlando where he was first exposed to .Net. He started programming .Net with Visual Studio .Net Beta 2. He became an Independent Consultant in 1996 and started Innervisions Software, Inc. 

In 2003 he wrote his first professional ASP.Net app. Since 2004 Van has been subcontracting on an IRS project using ASP.Net, VB.Net, and SQL Server.


He spends his spare time working on the web site for Prince William Special Olympics which was created using Dot Net Nuke.   Van is currently working on a Silverlight app for Prince William Special Olympics to manage their volunteers.


Van has a BA in Mathematics from Lehman College in New York City and a MS in Computer Science from George Washington University. Van holds MCP certifications in Visual Basic, Access, ASP.Net and SQL Server.

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