Microsoft is truly letting loose the Trojan Horse that is the Xbox 360. In a deal with Akimbo, the company is ready to strike at the hearts of Netflix and TiVo by offering a TV and movie download service -- all set to start on Nov. 22.
The Xbox 360, along with Akimbo, will be among the first mass-market devices able to download high def television programs -- and the first we know of in the states able to download HD movies. The service is called Xbox Live Video, and the fall update enables customers to spend their Microsoft points on standard and HD television from CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Turner, and UFC, as well as HD movies from Warner Bros., Paramount, and so on.Want some details? Have a look: • Microsoft has not yet disclosed pricing for downloads, but it will be in Microsoft points. • Movies will be "rental" only, TV for "purchase" only. • At launch there will be over 800 hours of SDTV, and 200 hours of HDTV. • Neither TV nor movies are streamed; they are only downloaded, although you can stream short preview clips from the Live interface. • You can only download content to your Xbox 360 drive -- not to an external drive. More after the jump. Continued ... • Your "purchased" TV programs can be downloaded an infinite amount of times to an infinite amount of consoles; you may also play them back on friends' 360s with your removable drive. • Deleted TV shows can be re-downloaded later; HDTV shows can be re-downloaded in either HDTV or SD. • Movies can be watched an unlimited number of times the first 24 hours. Plays after that period will cost the same as the initial download, although the movie data isn't necessarily deleted. You can keep the movie data on your drive up to 14 days without re-downloading it. • Downloads are in VC-1 (aka WMVHD) at 720p, 6.8Mbps video with 5.1 surround. • An average HD movie download should be between 4-5GB, and a two hour SD movie would be 1.6GB. • An average 1 hour (44 min) HDTV download should be about 2.2GB, and an average 1/2 hour (22 min) HDTV download should be about 1GB. A 1 hour SDTV download should be about 600MB, and a 1/2 hour SDTV download should be about 300MB. • This service will not be available for MSN TV users, Vongo subscribers, or any other Microsoft partners. It is Xbox Live only. • You cannot download programs through the Xbox Live web interface -- they can only be transported to your 360's removable drive. • There aren't any drive announcements being made, so if your puny 20GB Xbox drive is near or at capacity, you're out of luck, kid. Launch titles • Aqua Teen Hunger Force • Avatar: The Last Airbender • Batman Forever • Breaking Bonaduce • Carpocalypse • Chappelle's Show • CSI • Hogan Knows Best • Jackass: The Movie • Jericho • The Matrix • M:i:III • Nacho Libre • Nicktoons Network Animation Festival • Numb3rs • Pimp My Ride • Race Rewind (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races) • Raising the Roofs • The Real World • Robot Chicken • Skyland • South Park • SpongeBob SquarePants • Star Trek (original) • Superman Returns • 50 fights from Ultimate Fighting Championship, and some episodes from The Ultimate Fighter