The vast majority of Xbox content announcements tend to include a big old "US only" sticker, but it looks like Australia is finally getting some Xbox movie love -- and in hi-def no less.
In amongst a slew of announcements at the E3 games conference (being tracked exhaustively by our sibling site Kotaku) was Microsoft outlining plans to offer instant on-demand hi-definition movies via Xbox Live, complete with 1080p image quality and 5.1 surround sound. And while we haven't yet seen even low-def movies on Xbox Live in Australia, apparently that's about to change, according to a company press release:
Microsoft announced it will more than double the number of markets where Xbox LIVE offers movies, growing from eight to 18, by adding Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Xbox LIVE members in these markets will have access to instant on 1080p video
Of course, that still leaves a massive unanswered question: who has a big enough download cap to handle all that content? Unless Microsoft lines up a deal with a partner ISP (history suggests Telstra's Big Pond as a likely candidate), that might be too rich for most of our blood.
Microsoft also suggests that an 8MBps connection is needed for on-demand HD, which knocks out most connections -- apparently the movie will automatically adjust based on download speeds. That could mean pixel city in the corner of your nice HD television, but overall it still sounds like a nice step forward for on-demand content (or will be when it happens later this year).