Gaming Consoles & PCs Xbox Video Marketplace FAQ by Eric Qualls Writer Former Lifewire writer Eric Qualls has been covering the Xbox line of consoles and Xbox games since August 2004. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Eric Qualls Updated on March 16, 2020 Microsoft Consoles & PCs Xbox Buyer's Guide Tweet Share Email A great feature of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One is that you can download movies and TV shows to your hard drive. It is simple, fairly painless, and a great way to watch movies and TV shows. And they're all available in high-definition. Even better, you can stream them instead of downloading the entire video, which means you can start watching right away. Why Use This Instead of Netflix? The obvious question is why buy or rent videos through the Xbox Marketplace instead of just using Netflix. Selection is the biggest thing. Just about every movie or TV show you could want is on the video marketplace, but not necessarily on Netflix. It also gives you the option of buying a movie and keeping it forever if you want. Both services are great, so we recommend taking advantage of both. Renting vs. Buying A great feature is that you can rent movies and stream them right away. Many movies are available to rent digitally 2 weeks before they're available to buy on Blu-Ray or download, so if you want to watch a hot new release you can see it earlier on Xbox than if you waited for the physical version! Rentals only give you a 24-hour window to watch a video in, however. If you want to keep a movie forever (or as close to forever as a digital product can be), you can also buy a movie or TV show and download it to your hard drive so you can watch it as much as you want. Xbox Live Gold is not required for buying or renting videos or using apps. TV Shows Microsoft has partnerships with dozens of TV networks to bring you their latest and greatest shows. You can download the latest South Park just a few days after it airs. You can download condensed versions of NASCAR races. You can download ESPN’s College Football Game of the Week. You can even get the entire series of Lost if you want to. There is a ton of content here, and it is all just a button press or two away on your Xbox 360 or Xbox One. Many of these same networks also have separate video apps you can use to watch their content as well. Or you could always use Netflix or Amazon Prime Video or YouTube or any number of other apps if you wanted. You have lots of options these days. These TV shows aren’t free, however. The cost is about $2 for standard-definition episodes and $3 for high-definition episodes. That comes out to about what a season of a show costs when you buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray, so it isn’t too bad. This way you can pick and choose the episodes you want. Once you buy an episode of a TV show, it is yours forever. You own it. Movies Microsoft has also made partnerships with movie studios to bring you full-length movies. Most of the big studios are represented, and you can download many movies the same day that they are available in stores. Another great thing to note is that many movies available in high-definition only on Blu-Ray are available for download on Xbox Live. The cost of downloading these movies is about the same as a movie rental. Prices have a range from $3 for standard-definition on up to $6 for high-def movies. It also must be noted that you cannot keep the movies that you rent. Once you start watching a movie, the rental will expire in 24 hours. You can watch it as many times as you want in that time period. After you rent a movie, you have up to 14 days to start watching it before the 24 hour time period kicks in. If you buy the movie you, obviously, keep it forever and can watch it as much as you want. Other Things to Consider Broadband internet speed matters a lot when it comes to streaming video. The better your connection and speed, the higher quality the video that can come true. You need at least 3Mb/s to effectively stream video. If you download full videos instead of streaming them they can fill up your hard drive pretty quickly. Make sure you have plenty of space beforehand.