Buying HD content from The Xbox Live Marketplace has always been pretty good, but waiting a long time for 720p content is always kind of annoying. Today, on the first day of video game trade show, E3, they announced that they were changing things up. When you purchase a video, it will start playing right away at a reduced bitrate. Then it will ramp up to 1080p video and 5.1 channel audio. They have also apparently improved the fast forward and rewind features, making it as close to a "disc in the drive" experience as possible. Until I actually get to see how reduced the quality is upon starting a piece of conent, we might be sticking with the old model. Because for many, waiting is worth it for better picture.
They're also stepping up the Netflix presence by allonwing users to monkey with their accounts and queues directly from the Xbox Live interface. It will still probably be easier just to do it on your computer, though, especially if you didn't opt to buy the fancy little keyboard that plugs into the bottom of your 360 controller. A short checklist of their other announcements lies after the break.