We may not have been overly enamored with the Xbox 360's HD DVD drive when we saw it, but Microsoft is doing its level best to sell its player as an HD source.

The latest HD development for Xbox owners comes with the release of Xbox LIVE Marketplace Video Store – an on-demand rental service for movies via the online Xbox LIVE.

Launching in the UK on December 11th, the service is already up and running in the US, where - naturally - Microsoft claims it has been a great success. Still, we can't fault the idea: Xbox LIVE Marketplace will allow owners to rent full-length films from as little as 250 Microsoft Points (around £2) for SD movies, or 380 Microsoft Points (around £3) for HD movies.

All that's needed is an Xbox Live Silver or Gold membership and a broadband connection, and you could be watching downloaded rental video content. Some of the films available on launch include The Matrix, 300, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Training Day.

More after the break

The movies would download to your Xbox 360's hard disk, and then be available to view for a limited time. Details remain sketchy at the moment, though we suspect you would be able to watch the movie an unlimited number of times in the first 24 hours, after which point you would have to re-buy the movie.

HD movies should be around 5-6GB, but seeing as none of the content will be yours permanently, storage shouldn't be an issue unless you are using a lot of your hard disk space already. If the UK follows the US model, HD downloads should be 720p content and feature 5.1 surround sound.

It certainly sounds like a good thing – when we find out more details regarding quality, content, we'll be sure to bring it straight to you...

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