As of next Tuesday, 11 December, Irish Xbox Live subscribers will be able to download and watch movies straight onto their Xbox 360 consoles with the Xbox Live Marketplace Video Store.
Both standard movies and high-definition versions will be able available for rent at the estimated retail price of €3 and €4.50 respectively.
Although, initially, all movie content will be from Warner Brothers — with whom Microsoft has done an exclusive deal for content — there will be 40 more movies available before the end of December.
“Warner Brothers is the first partner that we’re launching with,” said Orla Sheridan, country manager, Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft Ireland, “but watch this space for more,” she added.
Sheridan said that, in the near future, accessing movies by download will become more available and commonplace, as broadband speed improves, pointing to statistics by Screen Digest that estimates the movie-download market to be worth €350m by 2012.
This launch of Xbox Live Marketplace Video Store will see the Microsoft service become the first video-on-demand service to be available in six countries: the US, Canada, Ireland, the UK, France and Germany.
Among the full-length movies that Xbox 360 owners will be able to rent are: 300, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Matrix, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ocean’s Eleven.
Arash Amel, senior analyst, head of Broadband Media, Screen Digest, said: “As Hollywood turns its attention towards selling digital copies of its blockbuster movies, the delivery of movie content over the open internet has become a key battleground for a broad range of service providers.”
By Marie Boran