The Zune team has announced that this evening, beginning at 10 p.m. PST, the Zune network will be unavailable for a period of up to 24 hours so they can implement some major backend updates and changes to the service. Apparently the changes are being made to help improve the performance of the network and to make it possible to implement some planned feature additions in the future. Very few of the changes made this evening will be immediately visible to the end user, but it sounds like they’re preparing for some good updates further on down the road.
One thing Zune users will notice after the service resumes, though, will be an update for the Zune software. Again, there are not supposed to be any major feature additions with this release, but the release is apparently necessary to keep the Zune software working properly with the updated network.
If you are a Zune software user, especially if you are a Zune pass user, the Zune team is warning customers to make sure that all pending transactions are completed before 10 p.m. PST this evening. If you are planning to download or rent a movie, make sure that download is finished before they shut off the service.
Update: As of 8:40 p.m. on Tuesday, the service still does not appear to be fully operational. However, a new version of the Zune software (Zune 4.2) is now available, and apparently allows users to view AVI videos natively within the software.