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PlayStation Network movie downloads hit PS3 today

PlayStation Network launches film downloads across Europe today. Sign up now for free films and more

Sony's PlayStation Network video service goes live today. PS3 owners in the UK, France, Germany and Spain can now download more than 800 movies to their PlayStation 3 console and PSP.

Films start at £2.49 to rent or £6.99 to buy. Rented movies, including some high-definition films, can be kept for 14 days, but must be watched within 48 hours of hitting play. Movies are stored on the PS3 hard drive, and can be transferred to the PSP.

Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros are all on board. Manga and animation distrib Starz Media is also signed on, as are British studios Optimum Releasing and ContentFilm International.

Sony's European video network was unveiled alongside 3D TV at IFA in September. It's been available in the US for a year, and more European countries will be added in 2010.

New PS3 owners signing up to PSN before 30 November get a free download of Transformers, while existing users get a free download of The Da Vinci Code if they buy Angels and Demons. But on the plus side, our survey said the PS3 is much more reliable than the Xbox 360. Will PlayStation Network influence your console-buying decision in the run-up to Christmas? Let us know in the comments.

Our joystick-twiddling mates over at GameSpot UK will have an interview with Sony later today. For more console news, check out our Games and Gear section.