This year, music fans have been rewarded with the launch of the iPod and a Christmas stocking full of accessories for even the most gadget-drawn fan. But movie fans have, so far, been largely ignored whilst the industry works out just how you can get a processor-sapping movie onto a portable device.

DivX video is, to many, the answer due to it being a tenth of the size of existing video. Today there is in excess of two billion (yes, billion!) DivX files floating around on the world wide web, whether they are Hollywood blockbusters, music videos, artistic shorts or home movies.

Video on demand, whether it be live-streamed sports events, concerts, the latest movie or simply the daily episode of your favourite soap opera, has also recently come to the fore thanks to the advances in connection speed, copyrighting technologies and enabling technologies meaning that consumers are drifting more towards the ?I want it now? mentality.

Consumers now want to be able to download such content on a plethora of devices, and are dragging demand for DivX compatibility whether in the home, the car, the office or whilst on the move. But what types of hardware devices are now coming onto the market and which avenue is the best one to invest in for the future?

One of the key drivers has been usability ? modern devices are so easy to install that anyone who knows one end of a USB cable from the other can quickly join their PDA to their PC.

Japan is, inevitably, leading the way. Mobile phones are being trailed for ?micro payments? where the user simply inputs a pin number to pay for household items, cinema tickets etc negating the need for a pocket full of change. It seems a logical extension for the phone to then be the receptacle for video downloads, although just how many people would want to watch films on a 4cm x 3cm screen is open to debate.

Last month, NH Japan announced the availability of the MPM-200 portable media player, offering users the ability to store and playback a wide variety of digital media files such as DivX video. The MPM-201, a 30 GB model, and the MPM-202, a 60GB model, include a 3.5-inch LCD screen and S-Video and coaxial outputs. Additionally, both models have a built-in TV tuner to enable users to record TV content directly to the device. The device also has dual SD/MMC and CompactFlash slots for additional expansion playback, backup or image viewing.

More recently, the E2go MP2000 from Apex Digital has launched, allowing users to take music, photos, movie files and voice recordings with them wherever they go. Users can record content from DVDs, VCRs and camcorders or transfer existing audio and video files from a PC using a USB 2.0 connection. The device includes 3.5″ TFT colour screen, a 20GB hard drive, and a built in microphone.

With a variety of mobile devices soon to come out, DivXNetworks has set up the DivX? Certified portable profile as a formalised procedure for integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers and OEM manufacturers to obtain the DivX Certified logo for the portable media player (PMP) class of devices. The program provides all the tools for a partner to develop and test a PMP product for playback compliance to DivXNetworks’ standards for the Portable profile, enabling users to playback all versions of DivX video at the highest level of quality.

DivX Certified portable devices offer playback of DivX 4 and 5 video at 720X480 @ 30fps, 720X576 @ 25fps and DivX 3 video at 352X240 @ 30fps, 352X288 @ 25fps.