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Xbox 360 update: Movies on demand and Xbox downloads

It's that time of year again, when rumours start to fly about what new functionality the next Xbox 360 dashboard update will bring to your console

Twice a year something exciting happens that gets everyone wondering what their Xbox 360 is going to be able to do that it couldn't before. That's right, it's time for the autumn update -- obviously Microsoft refer to it as 'fall' -- which is rumoured to be happening on 4 December.

There are two reasons to be happy about this if you live in Europe. Firstly, we're finally getting the movie rental download service that the Americans have had for some time now. Movies are delivered in high definition, with a resolution of 1,280x720 pixels, and you get 14 days to start watching it. Once you begin, you have to finish in 24 hours.

The second exciting part of the update is that we'll all soon be able to download classic Xbox games -- good news if you haven't yet picked up a copy of the original Halo for your 360. The only downside is the price, which CVG suggests will be 1,200 Microsoft points, or about £10. This seems expensive for something you could pick up pre-owned for quite a bit less -- and without using up your hard drive space.

There are rumours that the 360 will finally support DivX- and Xvid-encoded video, so people with extensive libraries of downloaded content can finally use the 360 to watch them. We'd be thrilled to see this happen, and we think it's a well overdue feature but this has been rumoured since last year's autumn update. Many people thought the spring update to add MPEG-4 would bring this functionality, but sadly DivX and Xvid are totally different codecs to the MPEG-4 part 2 support MS added.

Still, we're ever hopeful that Microsoft will give us what we've been hoping for -- especially considering the PS3 is all set to add DivX support. -Ian Morris