Microsoft is making major improvements to its Xbox Live service – including a tie-up with NBC Universal to boost its movie offerings and a raft of new games announcements.

The Xbox 360 is battling hard against rival PlayStation 3 in the console market, and after the success of Xbox Live's movie service in the US, the UK will not get a more extensive service of its own.

The deal with NBC Universal International Television Distribution means that some of the world's biggest movies will be available to download – many in HD, with the studio joining Warner Bros and Paramount on the Xbox ticket.

DLC and games

Microsoft also took the opportunity to talk up its extensive downloadable content including new material for some of the biggest releases of the last year, including GTA IV, and mention the forthcoming MMO quiz 1 vs 100.

Commenting on the news, UK & Ireland Head of Xbox, Neil Thompson said: "We are delighted to announce what are perhaps our most exciting content developments to date.

"Having an agreement with NBC Universal not only gives our customers even more choice when they use Xbox LIVE but really seals our position as a major player in the mainstream home entertainment space.

"Of course, we always want to ensure our core audience have the best possible gaming experiences too, and with the range of new extra content now available they can enjoy some of the biggest blockbuster and social games for longer than ever before.

"This also applies to '1 vs. 100', which, whilst still in its infancy, signals the next chapter in the Xbox story which is set to take home entertainment to a whole new level by putting the consumer in the driving seat of their own TV show. Watch this space."