Microsoft has partnerships with dozens of TV networks to bring you their latest and greatest shows. You can download the latest South Park just a few days after it airs. You can download condensed versions of NASCAR races. You can download ESPN’s College Football Game of the Week. You can even get the entire series of Lost if you want to. There is a ton of content here, and it is all just a button press or two away on your Xbox 360.
These TV shows aren’t free, however. The cost is about 160 points ($2) for standard-definition episodes and 240 ($3) for high-definition episodes. That comes out to about what a season of a show costs when you buy it on DVD, so it isn’t too bad. And this way you can pick and choose the episodes you want. Once you buy an episode of a TV show, it is yours forever. You own it.
Microsoft has also made partnerships with movie studios to bring you full-length movies. Most of the big studios are represented, and you can download many movies the same day that they are available in stores. Another great thing to note is that many movies available in high-definition only on Blu Ray (you know, Sony’s high-def DVD format) are available for download on Xbox Live.
The cost for downloading these movies is about the same as a movie rental. Prices have a range from 240 MS points ($3) for standard-definition on up to 480 MS points ($6) for high-def movies. It also must be noted that you cannot keep movies that you download. Once you start watching a movie, the rental will expire in 24 hours. You can watch it as many times as you want in that time period. After you download a movie, you have up to 14 days to start watching it before the 24 hour time period kicks in.
Other Things to Consider
There are a few other things to consider before diving into the video marketplace. Depending on your download speed, movies and TV shows can take a while to download. You can start watching videos before they are 100% finished downloading, but you still need to give movies a few hours head start before you start watching. Movies, and in particular high-def movies are very big files, several GB in size, which is why they take so long. Not only is download time a consideration, but hard drive space is also something you have to be careful of. Make sure you have plenty of room on your Xbox 360 hard drive before you start downloading anything. If you want to make extensive use of the video marketplace, you might consider upgrading your hard drive to the 120 GB model that comes either as a stand alone ($180) or included with the Elite version of the Xbox 360 system ($450).