Redmond, Wash. – Even as Microsoft prepares to launch an HD DVD add-on drive for its Xbox 360 game console, the company announced plans to offer a video download service, including some high-definition content, for use with the system.
Microsoft said it will offer movies and episodes of television shows for downloading through its Xbox Live online gaming service in the United States, starting Nov. 22.
The software giant has acquired the rights to rent or sell over 1,000 hours of video content from CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount, Warner Brothers and Turner Broadcasting. It also has access to the “Ultimate Fighting Championship” martial arts coverage.
Users will be able to download and keep television shows, but feature movies will only be rentable for a limited playback window.
The content will not be playable on other devices and will not be burnable to removable discs. However, Microsoft said the system, will have a record of purchases, and will allow users to log in and view a purchased video on a friend’s console.
Microsoft will charge competitive prices for standard definition video downloads, and slightly more for high definition material. Purchases will be made using “points” that users can buy with a credit or win in video game contests.
Initial content will include standard and high-def versions of popular TV shows, including “CSI,” “Jericho,” “Numb3rs,” and re-mastered classic “Star Trek” episodes.
In addition, NASCAR.com will deliver download-to-own condensed versions of select NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races from Race Rewind.
Other content will include “Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim; episodes of “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from Comedy Central; “The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV; “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon; “Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network; “Mission: Impossible III,” “Nacho Libre,” and “Jackass: The Movie from Paramount Pictures”; “Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV; “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1; and “The Matrix,” “Superman Returns,” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.