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Microsoft Zune and XBOX 360 bring "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" into households...

Folks who follow Microsoft know that they're going for a cloud system of computing. That is, everything you purchase will be placed into this server "out there" so you can retrieve it and use it no matter where you are. While this is certainly a fantastic grand scale idea, if it's seen to full fruition, they have taken some steps towards that overall goal.

One of ways was to introduce a "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" setup between its XBOX 360 and Zune product. With the introduction of Zune Video on XBOX 360, users who purchase a video on either the Zune Marketplace or the XBOX Live Zune Video Marketplace will be able to view that movie on either the PC, Zune HD or XBOX 360.

How does that work? Simple. Say for example you purchase the movie "Snap Dragon" on XBOX 360 (which I did and don't you judge me after you look up what it is). It was purchased through the Zune Software. When it's downloaded through the Zune software, you're actually getting two files. One file is designed for playback on the PC and another file is already optimized for the Zune HD device.

When you go into your XBOX 360 and fire up the Zune Video Marketplace and search out "Snap Dragon" you'll get the option to download the video directly to the XBOX 360. So now you have this movie on essentially three screens: PC, TV and portable device (in this case the Zune HD). Of course, this all still requires that you sync from home before leaving the house, but it's definitely a great step forward.

Now the final screen in this equation is mobile phones. It's no secret that MS would want to include your mobile phone in the cloud tent, but I'm curious to see how it would work with things like video and music.

So if you own an XBOX 360 and/or Zune HD go ahead and start up that digital movie collection.

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