Two newer video services, however, offer benefits missing from such rivals as:
Amazon.com's Unbox and Netflix's online-viewing option. Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace video store (introduced in late 2006 and upgraded since) and the just-relaunched movie department of Apple's iTunes store let you rent movies without a computer, play them on an HDTV and view some of them in high definition. And, unlike Vudu's new video-download system, those offered by Apple and Microsoft run in familiar online stores and on affordable devices that do more than just download movies.
Apple's Apple TV media receiver (from $229) puts your computer's music, photo and video libraries on an HDTV. (Apple's service also works with its iTunes software for Mac OS X and Windows.) Microsoft's Xbox 360 - a model with a hard drive is required, from $350 - plays some of the most popular video games. Each costs less than a Blu-ray high-definition disc player.