The extra hard disk space is a very welcome addition, especially if you find yourself downloading lots of high definition content and game demos from Xbox Live Marketplace. The increased capacity will also be necessary when Microsoft launches its Video Marketplace in Europe, which allows users to download entire high definition movies and TV shows to the hard drive.
At the Elite launch earlier this week, I had the chance to see the already launched US Video Marketplace in action. The idea is to add video on demand to the X360, with content paid for using Gamer Points. Of course as with BT Vision, it’s not so much video on demand, but video that you demand and wait for – if you want to watch a standard definition video you’ll be twiddling your thumbs for 10-15 minutes, but if you want to watch some pristine high definition content, you could be waiting up to four hours. The quality is pretty impressive though, with an HD download of the superb 300 looking staggeringly good.
There’s nothing definite about how Video Marketplace will be implemented in the UK, but if it’s like the US, you’ll be able to download a film like 300 (for approx $3.50), then you’ll have a week in which to start watching it. Once you start watching the movie, you will need to finish it within 24 hours. If you think that sounds a bit convoluted, I concur. Far more simple is the idea of buying content outright, and you can do just that with many TV shows. The ability to download TV shows in high definition could prove very popular in the UK, since many US shows that are shot and broadcast in HD in the States, are shown is standard definition over here. So, if you want to watch House, CSI or even Supernatural in HD, you better hope that they turn up on Video Marketplace.
The 120GB hard disk should allow you to download your fill of your favourite shows and watch them at your leisure, and if you’re an existing Xbox 360 owner and like the sound of all that extra space, worry not, because the 120GB drive will be sold as a separate accessory too. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay £129 for the 120GB drive, which is a ridiculous amount of money considering that a 2.5in bare 120GB hard drive can be had for under £50 online.
If you buy the 120GB hard disk separately, you get a transfer cable in the box. This allows you to transfer all the data from your old 20GB drive to the new 120GB drive – game save data, demos, videos etc. Unfortunately there’s no such cable in the Elite box, but I can understand why it’s not there. Microsoft feels that the majority of Elite customers will be fist time X360 buyers, so they won’t need the transfer cable. However, if you buy an Elite and would like a cable, you can contact Xbox support, and one will be dispatched to you free of charge.