The XBox 360 is set to try and cement itself as the centre of digital media entertainment with the UK launch of its XBox LIVE Marketplace Video store on the 11th December as detailed over at xboxer.tv. A blog on The Guardian has a list of some of the films expected to be available at launch.
Pricing is around £3 for a high definition movie download and down to around £2 for a standard definition film. If similar bit rates as are used in the USA are used in the UK, a two hour movie may weigh in at 5GB (gigabytes). Dropping to standard definition sees the size fall to around 1.6GB.
A 5GB download will take quite a while to download. On a 0.5Mbps (megabits per second) connection, it will take a full 24 hours to download assuming the connection can run flat out; on a 10Mbps connection it will be around 1.5 hours. With the way some providers run their fair use policies, people may see the first half of a film download quickly to find speeds drop significantly once over the magical limit which is often not published or varies from day to day. These figures all ignore the potential for slow downs due to other people using their broadband connections too.
With the Christmas holidays around the corner and people being bought new games consoles for Christmas, long periods at home may introduce the scope for network congestion over Christmas. The differences between providers with spare capacity and those trying to squeeze the last ounce of performance from their networks may become even more obvious.