Xbox Live

Video Marketplace Virgin No More


Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace has been available in the UK for roughly 6 months now, making its grand appearance back in December of last year. It really feels the service has yet to take Xbox LIVE by storm, but this observation is merely down to the fact none of my Xbox-owning friends have shown much interest in it.

With every intention of letting Video Marketplace into my heart, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for me to finally give the service a whirl.

It’s more than a little embarrassing to admit it was The Nanny Diaries that took my Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace virginity, but there you have it. It did. And it was good! I’m not just talking about the movie, but the whole experience.

The last time I had a gander through Video Marketplace was when it initially launched last year, arguably playing host to a few mediocre titles. None of the launch movies appealed to me enough to give renting a movie a shot, especially as I have quite a large DVD collection as it is.

A few nights ago, however, I ventured back into Video Marketplace with the intention of downloading my first movie. It was a rainy evening and I had a 6 pack of Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps, not to mention an unquenchable thirst for a (do I really want to admit this?) chick flick / romance type film.

I was surprised to see there were now close to 100 titles for choosing—many of which were decent films—making reaching a decision a difficult task!

After a good 10 minutes of being unusually picky about what I was going to watch, I settled on The Nanny Diaries, which was slumped under the ‘romance’ category.

This is perhaps my only criticism of Video Marketplace. As it happened, The Nanny Diaries wasn’t a romance. At least in my book. The plot focused on something else entirely, but I’ll let that slide as all it takes is a quick Google of whatever movie you might want to download and you’ve got bags of information about it—an advantage you don’t get from a trip to Blockbusters.

Most movies offer both a Standard Def and High Def version. Seeing as I own an HDTV you’d think I’d opt for the latter, but I settled for the Standard Def version for various reasons.

Firstly, I didn’t have many Microsoft Points to spend. Secondly, I’ve never seen the need for High Def in certain genres, romance being one of them. Fair enough if I was downloading an action packed CGI extravaganza, but I wasn’t. Lastly, I didn’t want to wait very long for the movie to download, and the High Def option is obviously going to be a larger size, thus taking longer to download.

Surprisingly, once my 1.15GB download reached 2%—which was only a matter of minutes—a message popped up informing me that I could begin watching the film, and that it will continue to download as I did so (with no interruption, might I add).

My last point of why I didn’t opt for the High Def version became irrelevant, which is now noted for future reference.

With the 360′s generous 120GB Hard Drive (assuming you’ve purchased an Elite or upgraded from the 20GB model) and the convenience of Video Marketplace, I’m confused as to why more people aren’t taking advantage of Microsoft’s superb offering.

It’s taken me a while to adapt to the digital age of downloading intangible products, and if I was pushed to make a choice to buy a physical product or a download, I’d always opt for the physical product. Renting a movie is entirely different, though, with no chances of late fees, no absurd download times, and all within the comfort of your own home.

On the down side, there isn’t as great a selection as you would get from Blockbuster or an online rental company—not even close. But there is plenty to choose from, spanning across many different genres.

Given time I’m sure Video Marketplace will be bursting with more movies than you can shake an analogue stick at.

So, will I be using Video Marketplace again? Actually, I plan on getting my second fix tonight. It’s Sunday and I have no plans, but I do have loaded potato skins and an unquenchable thirst for an action movie!

It’s a shame to see the service hasn’t picked up a lot of speed amongst Xbox gamers, but if you find yourself with the desire to rent a movie, you’ve not got many reasons to look any further than Video Marketplace.

Has anybody else tried Video Marketplace? If so, what do you think of it?


Heyo, I'm Ashley. I like video games, photography, and my dog, Indie.

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