Geeks to Microsoft: Size matters!
Goodbye Halo, hello "South Park." Microsoft has announced that Xbox 360 gamers will soon be able to watch downloaded TV shows and movies from the all-new Xbox Live Network on their consoles. Tech bloggers and gamers generally like the idea, but they're skeptical too - about storage capacity and Microsoft's proposed fix to the copyright protection problem.
First, the storage issue: On Digg, users pronounce the current 20 gigabyte hard drives insufficient for movie downloading. "I think they're *obligated* to come out with a bigger HDD now," comments one Digger. Adds another: "Unless they release a bigger HD this will be worthless."
Not to fear, counters Gizmodo: A 70 gigabyte Xbox 360 hard drive appears to be in the works: "If the timing is to coincide with the new download service, we're talking about seeing these things before Q4 is up."
Still, bigger drives aren't going to address another techie gripe about the new movie service: Microsoft's 24-hour rental period, which is presumably meant to placate anti-piracy honchos in Hollywood. "Ok, you rent the movie and then have 14 days to watch it (no problem there)," complains one Digger. "But once you start it, you only have 24 hours to view it. Huh? If I goto Blockbuster, i can watch a movie 10 times if I want during the rental period. So this is basically a "one view" rental unless you watch it more than once in that 24 hour period." The Browser doesn't completely follow this logic, but we get the point: Time restrictions on movie watching is backward in a NetFlix world.
Finally, there's the Zune question: "I'd love to see Microsoft integrate this store with the Zune Marketplace, but for now this is an Xbox-only product," laments PVR Wire. Score one for the Apple iTunes-iPod combo, say the early adopters. But Microsoft has the edge on another point: Unlike the Apple setup, when it comes to xBox downloads, "you can actually watch them on a television. To the average consumer, watching your downloaded movies and tv shows on a television is a huge advantage." True enough.
Let's see....The score at the bottom of the first inning? Jobs 1, Ballmer 1, Bezos 1, Sony 1/2. Close game.
This idea of Microsoft's seems to have been hashed together quickly, which makes me concerned how well it is going to be implemented. They're two weeks from supposedly pushing it out, yet they're uncertain of the date. You can store something for 2 weeks, but it's DRM'ed to death so you only have 24 hours to watch it. They can't quote prices. It may not be a total train wreck, but they're certainly at the crossing right now.
You actually can watch iTunes-downloaded movies on your TV. All Macs and iPods have video-out ports. Hooking them up to your TV is as simple as... well, as simple as hooking up an XBox.
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