Owners of Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console will soon be able to download video entertainment content directly to their console's hard drive starting on November 22. You know, the non-interactive kind. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "The first wave of content will include dozens of high-definition and standard-definition offerings from such partners as Warner Bros. ("Batman Forever," "V for Vendetta," "The Nine"), Paramount Pictures ("Nacho Libre," "Jackass: The Movie"), MTV Networks ("South Park," "SpongeBob SquarePants"), CBS ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Survivor") and Turner Broadcasting ("Aqua Teen Hunger Force," "Robot Chicken")." Consumers will also be able to purchase television shows and watch those from their Xbox device as well.
In light of this development, one can begin to see the future battles of the video entertainment delivery world. Microsoft's decision will make it a competitor of Netflix, TiVo, and the various developing online on demand networks like Innertube. Given that Microsoft is entering the game at this, possibly, late stage Microsoft is having to develop a purchasing system consistent with its competitors. Though pricing information hasn't been revealed, methodology has. Movie purchases will follow a rental model of purchase/watch once/auto-erase which puts it in line with DVD mail companies and Cable On Demand purchases. Television purchases will work differently and be "purchase-to-own" in nature, this means buyers will be able to watch television shows they purchase from any Xbox by using their Xbox Live account. Given that Microsoft's main competitors in the TV watching demographic are free online services like CBS's Innertube, this is the most interesting aspect of the Microsoft decision.
It appears that my earlier statements that the internet will become television are still true, but I should also add that television will become the internet and it won't be that crappy WebTV either.