Digital Content Coming to a 360 Near You

November 7, 2006

Microsoft announced late yesterday that it has entered into agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring on demand video content directly to your 360. The new partnerships are aimed at bringing over 1,000 hours of TV shows and movies directly to consumers in standard definition as well as 720p HDTV.

Nov. 22 is the day the new service will launch and will mark the first time a console has provided on demand HD shows and movies directly to the living room.

A few of the shows that are slated to be available include Survivor, CSI, Jericho, and Numb3rs. UFC and NASCAR have also signed on to provide select content for download. For a full listing of initial shows, check out [url=][/url].

The obvious question that this announcement brings to light is in regards to DRM and time sensitive viewing. The official announcement makes no mention of these details, but [url=]Gamespot is reporting[/url] that TV shows are download to own and you can watch them as many times as you want and remain stored until you delete them. Expect to see these shows being moved off of drives using 3rd party tools and passed around online.

Movies in this new video marketplace are distributed in a whole different fashion. Upon downloading a movie, the movie will remain on your drive for up to 2 weeks at which point it will presumably be removed. Within those 2 weeks, if you start the movie, you have 24 hours to finish watching it and then the movie is removed.

With the drive in the 360 at a meager 20GB it will be interesting to see if this forces Microsoft into releasing larger drives. A single HD movie weighs in at about 5GB and as someone who rarely downloads content from Live, I only have 9.2GB of free space. I know the rumors pop up frequently about new drives for the 360, I just hope that Microsoft has something in the pipeline if they really want this new service to fully succeed.