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DivX Explained - What Is DivX Codec?

Part 1. The Definition of DivX

DivX is a brand name of products created by DivX, Inc. (formerly DivXNetworks, Inc.), including the DivX Codec which has become popular due to its ability to compress lengthy video segments into small sizes while maintaining relatively high visual quality. DivX family includes: DivX Plus Player, DivX PlusWeb Player, DivX PlusCodec Pack, and DivX Plus Converter, etc. And there are two DivX codecs: the regular MPEG-4 Part 2 DivX codec and the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC DivX plus HD codec. It is one of several codecs commonly associated with "ripping", whereby audio and video multimedia is transferred to a hard disk and transcoded.


Part 2. The History of DivX

DivX codec was developed by bunch of hackers, most notably a guy called gej and it is based on Microsoft's version of MPEG-4 encoding technology, called as Windows Media Video V3. And Basically Microsoft's encoders didn't allow users to save MPEG-4 streams into AVI structure format, but forced users to use ASF instead. It also had some other limitations - and those limitations were overridden in DivX. It also added a support for other than Windows Media Audio encoding technology, allowing users to have MP3 audio on their movies. In 2001, original "developers" of this hacked codec released a new legal version of DivX, called DivX (without smiley). DivX supports old DivX movies and also adds new features and better compression quality than "original" DivX.

Part 3. The Use Of DivX

With DivX, you can store 50-120 minutes of relatively good quality video to one CD (740MB)(most of the movies can be stored in one CD, unlike in VCD or SVCD). Only negative aspect DivX has when it's compared to VCD is the fact that VCDs can be played with regular stand-alone DVD players. DivX, like many other MPEG-4 formats, can be played with certain MPEG-4 compatible, stand-alone DVD/DivX players.

Part 4. The Encoing and Decoding of DivX

While the DivX codec has long been renowned for its excellent video quality, the free and open source Xvid codec offers comparable quality. Both the DivX encoder and the XviD encoder are compliant with MPEG-4 Part 2 (MPEG-4 ASP). However, the most commonly used DivX encoding profile does not employ the same MPEG-4 ASP features enabled in the most commonly used XviD encoding profile (home). In a series of subjective quality tests at Doom9.org between 2003 and 2005, the DivX encoder was beaten by the XviD encoder every year.

Similar tests were not undertaken for newer versions. And the open source library libavcodec can decode and encode MPEG-4 video that can be encoded and decoded with DivX (and other MPEG-4 codecs, such as XviD or libavcodec MPEG-4). Combined with image post processing code from the Mplayer project, it has been packaged into a DirectShow filter called ffdshow, which can be used for playback with most Windows video players. This library is highly customizable and offers a great variety of features to advanced users.

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author - Kistent Waung

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Graduated from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, she employs herself in IT related content creation (since 2013) and happens to perfectly combine her major (computer & science) and her gusto (writing). She's seasoned at offering video audio conversion workarounds and always passionate about new trends, from hot HEVC, 4K to the new AV1 codec.

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