HD Download Lowdown Page 3

Before the Xbox 360 made it to the S&V lab, the console had a two-day layover at my apartment. That way, I could download Superman Returns onto its hard drive so the console would have a nice full belly upon arrival at the testing facility. Before bed, I hooked Xbox into my cable modem, and, sure enough, by the next morning I found I wasn't the only man of steel in my apartment. Even before any official test comparisons, though, I could see Superman Returns (along with a couple of HD movie trailers I downloaded) was suffering a slight case of Kryptonitis. Watched on my new 50-inch Pioneer plasma, the downloads looked a little soft and not quite as bright as the better high-def stuff I typically get over cable.

Sadly, it would be weeks before I'd be able to see Superman Returns on the Xbox again. Twelve hours after the console started playing that movie in my apartment, the 360 was hooked up in the S&V lab and not performing feats of strength - or of any other kind. An Xbox prompt informed me that my Superman Returns download was either corrupt or expired. True, Xbox downloads do self-destruct 24 hours after you start watching them or after 14 days, viewed or not. But neither was the case here. And once deemed inactive, explained the MS phone support guy, I had no choice but to re-download - though he did credit me the $6 rental fee (standard-def movies are $4).

I started the re-download through the lab's sluggish DSL line, which seemed to be clocking in at roughly 3% an hour. (The fastest it ever seemed to go was 6%.) At this rate, it would take, like, a day and a half to finish.

So, fine. I returned to the lab several days later only to find ... that the movie was nowhere near finished downloading. Turns out this was partly my bad, since I'd set the Xbox to turn itself off after more than six hours of nonuse - though since when is downloading nonuse? Whatever. I resumed the download.