Marking the first year anniversary of the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft has broadened its Xbox Live offerings with a full selection of TV and movie rental titles to be rented and purchased, with newly revealed pricing ranging from around $2 to $6.
First reported on
in early November, the launch of the video marketplace initiative makes the 360, according to Microsoft, "the first gaming console in history to provide high-definition TV shows and movies directly to gamers in their living rooms."
A partial list of the TV programs offering either select episodes or, in some cases, entire seasons available for download, includes the CSI series, Star Trek, Chappelle's Show, Drawn Together, South Park, Punk'd, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, Space Ghost, and Wonder Showzen. TV shows are offered as to-own downloads with no expiration date, and the ability to re-download a user's purchases should they be deleted. The pricing is 160 points for a standard definition episode and 240 points for a high definition program, an equivalent of $2 and $3 respectively.
On the cinematic side, an initial selection of 48 movies has been added to the service, including recent box office offerings such as V for Vendetta, Poseidon and The Lake House, but the service also offers a range of other classics from as far back as the 1956 hit Rebel Without A Cause. Other notable titles include Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, The Shining, and Kurosawa's Dreams, as well as Star Trek II and VII, Superfly, and Natural Born Killers.
Full movie downloads are provided on a rental basis, utilizing Xbox Live's new digital rights features, which stipulate that the downloads will expire 14 days after the date of purchase, or 24 hours past the point when a user has first played them. The pricing scale for movies ranges from 480 points ($6) for newly-released high definition titles, to 320 points ($4) for standard resolution versions of the same. Classic titles are offered for rental at 360 points ($4.50) and 240 points ($3) for high and standard definition versions, respectively. Microsoft also notes that once a user has purchased a high definition version of either movie or TV program, the standard definition version is then available for free.
Also of note is that the new video marketplace is fully covered by the Xbox 360's Family Settings feature, giving parents the ability to limit the video content available to the console. Whether Xbox Live's selection of movies will be cycled or continually added to is not yet known, but the company promises "more content rolled out through Xbox Live Marketplace every week."