NEWS: Microsoft launch HD movie rental service

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.

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...

Technorati Tags: download, HD, Microsoft, video marketplace, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).