DivX 5.0: From T-shirt To Dress Suit


The Garage Got Too Small

The article first appeared in Tom's Hard News Email Newsletter

At the end of the wild '60s, members of that generation were faced with two alternatives: either you kept your flower power T-shirt and got in line down at the employment office, or you slipped into your dress suit and merged into the fast lane. At the newly founded DivX Networks, Inc. , the chips are down. The former pioneers, Jérôme "Gej" Rota and Darrius "Junto" Thompson, who had their eye on a now obsolete Microsoft MPEG-4 Codec while still in their salad days, got themselves a marketing man and hired 6 more staff members. And they want to be paid.

The new generation of DivX-Codec 5.0 is now ready for downloading at DivX.com . The main difference between it and its predecessors is that only the standard version is still free. The "Pro" version, with many new features, now costs $30. Anyone who cannot do without this program, and yet has no money, will have to develop a fondness for a banner ad-sponsored version. Despite this situation, which has generated controversy among many users, one thing must be said for the DivX Networks team: they developed a codec that compresses the data volume of DVDs to an eleventh of their original size, with almost the same quality. This makes DivX 5.0, which is compatible with MPEG-4s, ideal for transmitting audio and video data over the Internet. It also makes it possible for a Hollywood classic to be burned onto a CD-ROM. This last statement is true, if the film is no longer than 100 minutes and if you insert a blank CD with a capacity of 700 MB or more.

The New Features At A Glance

The DivX codec is intended to be a "Video for Windows API" (VFW standard). That's why it can be easily called up from within video editing software such as Pinnacle Studio or Adobe Premiere. It can also be used in tandem with popular converter programs like Flash XMPEG or VirtualDub. Now let's compare the features of the pro version with those of the standard version.

Uwe Scheffel