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When you want to kick back and listen to a few tunes or watch the coolest online videos, you don’t want to spend time searching for them. It’s a good thing that Windows 8 has great apps to spare you that inconvenience.
The tiled interface of the Modern UI introduced with Windows 8 has its detractors, but it’s pretty neat to use, especially on a touchscreen. The number of high quality Modern apps is steadily increasing. Here is a selection of free tools to discover music and videos which you should check out.
Who says video killed the radio star? Internet radio is alive and kicking with TuneIn. TuneIn’s tiled interface blends in well with Windows 8 and makes navigation a lovely experience. Next to an endless selection of neatly categorized online radio stations, the app displays presets and the stations you played recently. Most importantly, TuneIn can run in the background while you are using other apps.
What it does: Plays online radio stations.
- Search stations by category, language, or location.
- Browse recently played stations.
- Run app in background.
When you look at 8Tracks on the Web, iOS and Android, you will notice that none of these interfaces are as easy and beautiful as what you get on Windows 8. The functionality remains the same: users create and share playlists or “mix tapes”, which other users can stream. Playlists are ideally categorised by mood or genre, making it easy to find what to listen to and even discover new music in the process.
What it does: Create, share & play user-generated playlists.
- Playlists categorised by mood or genre.
- Trending playlists to discover new songs.
- Share your playlists with others.
Have you noticed the song that is playing, but don’t know what it’s called or who the artist is? Shazam it! Launch the app and touch the icon for a few seconds for Shazam to get to work, as it records what your microphone can hear and identifies the song.
What it does: Identifies songs playing around you.
- Shows album cover, lyrics, artist biography, discography.
- Buy song on iTunes.
- Search for song on YouTube.
YouTube may not have taken Windows 8 seriously enough to release a Modern app for it, but video-sharing alternative Daily Motion sure has. An array of big and small tiles displays videos based on categories. Pinch-in and they collapse into little tiles for each category, making it easier to find the one you want. Tap any video to start playing in the clean, minimalist viewing mode, which also shows the number of views, the uploader’s info and related videos.
What it does: Browse and watch videos.
- Videos categorised by news, sports, music, featured, etc.
- Pin users, playlists, groups or channels to Windows Start Screen for easy access.
Note that you cannot upload videos with this Daily Motion app.
The best way to browse YouTube in the Modern UI is with MetroTube, which is clean, has a dark background and uses the Segoe font of the Modern UI. You get four of the regular YouTube options (watch later, favourites, uploads, recently played), along with the most popular videos at the moment and categories to browse. You can log into your Gmail account to use the personal options. The app also comes with a ‘portrait mode’ layout, where the comments and related videos are presented as two columns under the main video.
What it does: Browse YouTube and watch videos.
- Beautiful interface with dark background.
- Supports video upload.
- Portrait mode.
Reddit TV [No Longer Available]
The social news network Reddit is the best place to find out what’s going viral on the Web. And Reddit TV essentially taps the crowd’s knowledge, selecting the most popular videos out of the “r/videos” subreddit and creating a playlist with them. The built-in video player will start playing the videos, with the playlist appearing on the left in a scrollable sidebar.
What it does: Watch the latest viral videos.
- Continuous playlist of Reddit’s most popular videos.
- Minimalist, big screen layout.
Tip Of The Iceberg
Of course, the Windows 8 Store has many other fantastic apps for music and video, such as Songza, Muzu.TV, Gaana, or Viral Tube. The above list is only a selection of the ones we consider to be top-notch, but we are also curious to know about your favourite Modern UI apps for music and videos. Drop a line in the comments and share!