Microsoft’s Xbox 360 owners will soon be able to download video to watch on TV
via their game consoles (November 22nd).

According to 

“Users who download a film
will have up to two weeks in which to watch it…Microsoft said after a user
has hit play, the film will only be viewable for 24 hours, before locking and
becoming inaccessible.

Purchased television shows
will be viewable as long as they remain on the Xbox 360’s hard drive.” 

Additionally in the New
York Times

“The videos will not be
playable on other devices and cannot be burned onto DVDs, but the online
service will keep track of purchases so that users can log in to watch their
videos on a friend’s Xbox.” 

“Microsoft says a one-hour
television program in high definition will take up about 2 gigabytes of the
console’s standard 20-gigabyte hard drive.”

Here’s my report card for video
download on Xbox versus iTunes. 

Ease of use – Xbox is already connected to your TV. There’s no “computer in the middle.” iTunes requires you to connect a portable
device first to your computer and then to your television.

(Xbox – A, iTunes – B-) 

Portability – Xbox video can only be viewed via an Xbox console. There are no handheld options. You can access it at a friend’s house, but
you can’t take it with you on a plane or view it on your computer.

(Xbox – C, iTunes – A) 

Rental Options – There is no iTunes rental option.

Xbox does address video
download rentals but I find their model too limiting. I’d like it to work more like Netflix where I
can have a certain number of movies or shows at once and then I decide when to
“return” (lose access to) one and select another.

(Xbox – B, iTunes – D)

Purchase Options – iTunes offers extensive and understandable purchase options and the software needed to manage your purchased content.  

Xbox purchase options are
limited to TV programming. You can only
“keep” what you can store and the Xbox has limited storage capacity.

(Xbox – C+, iTunes – A)

While Microsoft’s offering
isn’t perfect, video downloads are a great extension for Xbox live whose users
already have a broadband connection. The
question is whether or not Microsoft will be able to address the offering’s
deficiencies and extend their reach beyond the 18-34 year-old game savvy