Sony PlayStation UK video downloads: your questions answered

All you need to know

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It's been a long time coming but Sony has finally launched its PlayStation Network video delivery service for Europe, which means France, Germany, Spain and the UK can now access a plethora of movies through their PlayStation 3.

With any new service you are going to want to get to grips with it fairly sharpish so here is TechRadar's all you need to know guide for accessing video downloads through your PS3.

Where do I go to purchase/rent movies on the PS3?

The whole service is accessed through the PlayStation Network under the Video Store section. Here you can search for movies by name, or can browse categories such as 'new releases', 'genres' and 'most popular downloads'.

How do I purchase a movie?

This is done in the same way as downloading a game/additional content from the PlayStation Network. Simply add money to your wallet and away you go.

How many titles are available?

At launch there are 800 titles available to download or rent. These range from new blockbusters about to hit the shelves (Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) to older titles, such as The Godfather Trilogy.

Is it in HD?

Yes and no. The majority titles are available in HD but for rental only. If you wish to purchase a movie, then for the time-being high-definition content is not available.

Can I watch movies on my PSP?

Again, yes and no. If you purchase or rent a standard-def movie, then you can simply download it on to your PSP to watch on the go. However, if you rent a HD movie then you will not be able to watch it on the PSP as the file is not compatible.

Currently, Sony is not giving users a way to download HD movies to watch on both the PS3 and PSP.

How much will it cost?

This depends on the title. Although Sony is saying from £2.49 to rent and £6.49 to buy, this will be for back-catalogue titles. If you are looking for newer content, expect this price to rise to around £11.99 for purchase.

Also there may well be a mark-up for renting hi-def content. For instance, The Boat That Rocked costs £3.49 to rent in SD and £4.49 to rent in HD.

Do I have to wait to watch a movie?

No. Although a full download of a film can take up to a few hours, Sony is offering something called progressive downloads so within minutes you can watch the movie you have bought.

How long have I got until my rental runs out?

You will have 14 days to watch a movie, but once you press play, this drops to 48 hours. This is a similar system that iTunes and the like use.

Can I burn my purchased movies to disc?

No. Sony is only allowing purchased movies to be watched via the PS3 or downloaded on to the PSP. You will not be able to archive the movies you have on your PS3 to disc. Instead you will be able to build up a movie collection on your PS3's hard disk, which will be accessed via your XMB.

Is it better than the Xbox movie service?

Microsoft is counteracting the launch of the PS3 video download store with Zune, which allows 1080p streaming of movies instantly. And if you fancy it, you can watch films with your mates and have your avatars on the screen interacting with each other.

In other words, both companies have definitely laid down the gauntlet for watching movies via the web in the home. Let the battle commence!