Starting this spring, movies and television shows from Zune Video will be playable on the Xbox 360 in 1080p HD.
Microsoft says that video start up using their new service will be "as close to instantaneous as possible" by transitioning between many different bitrates and resolutions of video. What that means, Microsoft says, is that video will start up at a low bit rate for fast download and then shift to a higher bitrate and quality as the download kicks in. The process, they say, will allow them to deliver 1080p video with little to no download delay.
Another cool feature being added is the ability to host an Xbox Live party and have your friends all gather in the virtual room as avatars to watch the real movie or TV show on their television.
The service relaunch will also include a better search function and is being expanded form eight to eighteen countries.
In addition to the current eight markets – US, Canada, UK, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain – Zune video will launch along with Xbox LIVE in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.