Xbox 360 users in Britain will be able to stream high definition ...
Xbox 360 users in Britain will be able to stream high definition Hollywood blockbusters via their consoles from Tuesday as Microsoft rolls out its Zune brand outside the US.
Microsoft's Zune brand is not yet widely recognised outside the US
The new service follows the launch of the Sky Player on the Xbox 360, which allows users to view shows on Sky Sports, Sky Moves and Sky 1 among other channels.
Zune as a brand is virtually unknown in the UK, but across the pond became synonymous with Microsoft's poorly-selling rival to the iPod.
The software giant later turned around the brand's fortune somewhat with the release of Zune HD, a portable digital device that plays videos and games in high definition.
"The Zune HD is really popular in the US," Stuart Miles of technology news site Pocket-Lint told Sky News Online.
"What they are trying to do with this global move is turn the Zune into an entertainment brand - as Microsoft lacks one at the moment outside of gaming.
"There are around 10m Xbox users in the UK and all of a sudden they will start to see the name Zune as they shop for videos.
"Microsoft has not said it will roll out the Zune HD device in the UK, but if they decide to, half the brand awareness will already have been done."
The firm promotes the new service as a "full fidelity experience with instant on HD in 1080p and 5.1 channel surround sound".
"No waiting for downloads or buffering, it’s there at the press of a button," Microsoft said in a statement.
"You can also share the experience with up to seven friends through voice chat and Avatar integration on the TV screen – it puts a whole new spin on 'movie night'."
The arrival of Zune on the Xbox comes as part of a new "wave of social entertainment" that also includes Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm.
Microsoft claims it will "transform Xbox LIVE into the largest social network connected to the TV with exclusive features custom-designed for the living room".
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