High Definition choice on game consoles boosted as Sony launches an HD movie download service for the Play Station 3 in the US

Sony has signed up the major studios, including Fox, Disney and Warner, to offer HD movies on its US download service.
The downloads can be transferred from the console to the Play Station Portable handheld device.

This latest development follows Microsoft’s announcement that it will add a NetFlix movie streaming service to its XBox 360 video game console.

While the NetFlix service will not include high-def movies, Microsoft does offer HD TV shows and movies on its XBox Live (link to other story) service.

The rivalry between the console makers is good news for consumers.

Microsoft has said it will triple the storage capacity of the Xbox 360 and sell the consoles with 60-gigabytes of storage starting in early August in the US and Canada.

Meanwhile Sony is to introduce an 80GB Play Station 3 for US$399 in September.

Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, said the new 80Gb console was “perfectly suited for high-definition downloads of games, movies and more”.

However, the new movie download service does not permit viewers to purchase HD programmes.
PS3 owners can rent movies in HD, but they can only purchase them in standard-def.

The HD-rental only policy is understood to have been the decision of the Hollywood studios, perhaps fuelled by the concern that PS3 owners could illegally copy and sell the high-def movies.

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