DivX and Xvid

Two rather new, and very Popular Codecs !!

Remember the old DIVX movies that you could rent, watch, but then like the tape at the beginning of "Mission Impossible" . . . they would self destruct - hehe, kidding, but they would stop playing after 48 hours !!  Well, this ain't the DivX we are talking about.

Remember . . . 

DIVX    DivX
is the old, proprietary movie format that locked you out after 48 hours
is a new, VERY popular codec that uses lossy, MPEG-4, Part 2 compression


DIVX (Digital Video Express)

Just as an FYI  .  .  .  here's an explanation of the old, DIVX  .  .  .

DIVX was an attempt by Circuit City and the entertainment law firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca and Fischer to create an alternative to video rental in the United States.

DIVX was a rental format variation on the DVD player in which a customer would buy a DIVX disc (similar to a DVD) at a low cost, which would be able to be freely viewed up to 48 hours from its initial viewing. After this period, the disc could be viewed by paying a continuation fee, typically $3.25. DIVX discs could only be played on special DIVX/DVD combo players that needed to be connected to a phone line. DIVX player owners had to set up an account with DIVX to which additional viewing fees could be charged. The player would call an account server over the phone line to charge for viewing fees similar to the way DirecTV and Dish Network satellite systems handle pay-per-view. Viewers who wanted unlimited viewing of a particular disc could pay to convert the disc to a "DIVX silver" disc for a special fee. The physical disc was not altered in any way. The viewer's account kept track of the status of each disc. "DIVX gold" discs that could be played an unlimited number of times on any DIVX player were announced at the time of DIVX's introduction, but no DIVX gold titles were ever released.

DIVX was sold primarily through the Circuit City, The Good Guys, Ultimate Electronics, and Future Shop retailers. The format was promoted to consumers as an alternative to traditional video rental schemes with the promise of, "No returns, no late fees." Though consumers may discard a DIVX disc after the initial viewing period, several DIVX retailers maintained DIVX recycling bins on their premises.

The DIVX rental system was created in 1998 in time for the holiday season and was discontinued on June 16, 1999 due to the costs of introducing the format, as well as its very limited acceptance by the general public. Over the next two years the DIVX system was phased out. Customers could still view all their DIVX discs and were given a $100 refund for every player that was purchased before June 16, 1999. All discs that were unsold at the end of the summer of 1999 were destroyed. The program officially cut off access to accounts on July 7, 2001.


Xvid (acronym stands for nothing - it is just an acronym) is an open-source MPEG-4 video codec originally based on OpenDivX.  XviD was started by a group of volunteer programmers after the OpenDivX source was closed in July 2001.  XviD features MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile features such as b-frames, quarter pixel motion compensation, global motion compensation, lumi masking, Trellis quantization, and H.263, MPEG and custom quantisation matrices.

XviD is a main competitor of DivX (the word XviD is DivX spelled backwards). While XviD is open source, DivX is available as either a freeware binary (Dr. DivX 2.0) or the commercial version (DivX Pro), which claims better compression and speed.


is a video codec created by DivX, Inc. (formerly DivXNetworks, Inc.), which has become popular due to its ability to compress lengthy video segments into small sizes while maintaining relatively high visual quality. DivX uses lossy MPEG-4 Part 2 compression, where quality is balanced against file size for utility. It is one of several codecs commonly associated with ripping, where audio and video multimedia are transferred to a hard disk and transcoded. As a result, DivX has been a center of controversy because of its use in the replication and distribution of copyrighted DVDs.




#1) File sharing programs  

Difficulty: 1/5  

Simply download a peer-to-peer file sharing program.  The current most popular one is Morpheus, which could be downloaded by doing a search for it on www.cnet.com or by going here http://download.cnet.com/downloads/0-1896420-100-6525083.html?tag=st.....  Once you have morpheus installed, simply launch the program and search for a movie you want.  You can incorporate the words "DivX" and "clip.mpgDVD" to help you find movies which are of clip.mpg DVD quality.  For example, if I wanted to find the clip.mpg movie phantom menace, I would search for "Phantom Menace," "Phantom Menace clip.mpg DVD," or "Phantom Menace divx."  Experiment with it.  When you find something you want, leech away!  

#2) FTP Search Engines  

Difficulty: 3/5  

Two of the most popular ones are http://www.oth.net and http://www.audiogalaxy.com (make sure you select "FTP search" for the latter).  Type in the clip.mpg movie name you want to search for, and incorporate the words "DivX" or "clip.mpgDVD" to help your results. The website should return a list of FTP sites containing your movies, if any exists.  Your query result might look something like this:  


username=the username for the site  

sitename.com=the address of the site; could either be an address or an IP address  

portnumber=the port number of the site  

At this point if you have a FTP program, launch it and use the information you got above to connect to the site and download away.  If you don't have a FTP program, go download one (such as CuteFTP or WSFTP from www.hotfiles.com)  

Note: be aware of FTP sites that makes you go to a website and click on a banner to attain a "leech" name and password.  My experience with this is they work about 50% of the time, the other 50% of the time it's simply a scam.  

#3) IRC  

Difficulty: 5/5  

First of all you need an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Client program to connect to the IRC channels.  If you don't have one, I suggest you download it the program clip.mpg mIRC from www.clip.mpgmirc.com it's one of the best clients available.  After launching the program, you will need to connect to one of the IRC servers or "nets" of IRC; clip.mpg mIRC comes with a huge list by default so you should have no problem finding servers. The most popular "nets" on IRC are DALnet, Efnet, Undernet, and IRCnet.  You can start by connecting to one of these servers.  After you are connected to the server, go to the "STATUS" window, and type "/list Divx clip.mpg DVD"; this will list all channels with the words Divx or clip.mpg DVD in it.  You can join one of these channels by double clicking on the clip.mpg channel name in the new "CHANNELS" window that popped up.  Once you're in the clip.mpg channel, stick around and read the messages that appear in the clip.mpg channel.  "Triggers" should appear pretty often (they're usually preceded by an "!").  When you see a trigger appear, simply type it in the window of that clip.mpg Channel.  You will be prompted to accept a DCC chat, and you should click accept. The DCC chat environment is almost identical to the unix/dos command prompts.  Here's a list of the basic commands that you'll need:  

dir - list directory contents  

cd <dir name> - change to that directory  

cd.. - go up one directory  

get <filename.extension> - download that file  

That's all you need to know to start downloading from IRC.  

Sometimes IRC can get pretty crowded so you might have to be patient and wait in a queue.  However, if you want the newest and rarest movies, IRC is the place you got to go.  

Note: if your ISP has a firewall, you might not be able to access certain programs like morpheus.  Colleges frequently do this to preserve their bandwidth.  If you have firewall problems you need to contact your ISP or systems administrator.  


What is DivX?  

Apart from being a trademark of Project Mayo, DivX is the name given to a video codec (a piece of software encoding and decoding video) and is based on the MPEG-4 compression format. MPEG-4 is a new standard of video compression that is both high quality and low bitrate. They are usually only a fraction (around 15%) of the size of a standard clip.mpg DVD, even at 640x480 resolutions, making them the best home video format thus far. They only take half the time to encode, and yet at the same time is smaller in size than MPEG-1 - due to their incredible compression technology - some have even called MPEG-4 the "MP3 of the video world". Quality ranges from net-streaming quality to clip.mpg DVD and better !!  

DivX Frequently Asked Questions (from http://www.dive-digest.com)  

What is a codec ?  


Codec stands for COder/DECoder. It is a small piece of software that allows you to make/play clip.mpg movie/audio compressed in a certain format. MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX ... are all codecs. AVI, ASF, WMV are not codecs, but file formats. AVI is also a container format (see below for more information), meaning it can be made using many different codecs.  

How many versions are there of the DivX codec ?  


There are in fact 2 major codecs, both name the "DivX codec". But the newer one, which used to be part of the open-sourced project at Project Mayo (now under a licensing scheme), is more commongly referred to as "DivX For Windows/Linux/Mac ...", whereas the orginal codec is sometimes referred to as the "DivX ;-) Codec". The version number of these 2 major codecs are also different - the original being 3.xx, while the new ProjectMayo codec has a version number of 4.xx.  

Most older/existing movies are encoded with "DivX ;-) Codec", since the new DivX 4.x codec is still being developed.  

The original DivX 3.xx codec is based on Microsoft's MPEG-4 V3 codec (ASF was based on MPEG-4 V2). The reason why the codec was "hacked" and re-distributed is because Microsoft's codec did not allow one to encode to AVI (they only wanted people to encode to ASF/WMV), which is far from being convenient. The DivX 3.xx codec also includes hacked versions of a MP3 codec and a WMA codec. The AnglePotion, MPEG-4 and SMR codecs are all in the same boat. There is also a VKI (Scene Detect) patch that will insert keyframes at scene changes for you automatically, which will improve picture quality.  

The new DivX 4.x codec has nothing to do with Microsoft - it has been developed entirely from scratch, and is still under development (hence less then perfect compatibility/efficiency/quality). In time, the DivX 4.xx codec will completely replace the 3.xx codec, but for now, the 3.xx codec offers better compatibility/efficiency/quality. The 4.xx codec is compatible with the 3.xx codec, but may have performance/quality problems (the same is not true in reverse - the DivX 3.11 Alpha codec is not compatible with the DivX 4.x codec).  

Note that both codecs can be installed together, and 3.11 encoded files will playback with the DivX 3.11 Alpha codec and 4.x encoded movies will playback with the DivX 4.x codec (this is true unless otherwise specified during the DivX 4.x setup, which allows you to playback all 3.11 Alpha movies using the 4.x codec)  

Which DivX codec should I use ?  


If you wish to playback most existing DivX movies well, you may want to download the 3.11 Alpha version of the Divx codec instead, as other versions may not be 100% compatible. If you want a completely "legal" codec that has built in 2-pass encoding, you should try the DivX 4.x codec (the codec on this page), which is the latest version of the DivX codec developed by the guys who "hacked" 3.11 Alpha (the DivX 4.x codec is not "hacked" - it is a 100% legal and written from scratch). The DivX 4.x codec also offers backward compatibility with all movies encoded with the 3.11 Alpha codec (although 100% compatibility/performance cannot be guaranteed). Note that both the 3.11 and 4.x codecs can be installed on the same system (and 3.11 encoded DivX movies will playback with the 3.11 Alpha codec, while 4.x encoded movies will playback with the 4.x codec), so you can get the best of both worlds.  

In other words, for the clip.mpg movie you download off the net, use the 3.11 Alpha version. If you have never used the DivX Codec to encode movies before, also use the 3.11 Alpha version, since most instructions are still for this codec (updated 3 September 2001 : there are now full instructions for using the DivX 4.x codec as well here). However, if you have experience with the DivX codec, or general AVI encoding, you may want to try the DivX 4.x codec (the codec on this page). If you are also concerned about the legal status of the 3.11 Alpha version, then you should use the DivX 4.x codec.  

What is an AVI ?  


AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave. AVI is a file format, like MP3 or JPG. But unlike these formats, AVI is a container format, meaning it can contain video/audio compressed using many different combinations of codecs. So while MP3 and JPG can only contain a certain kind of compression (MPEG Audio Layer 3 and JPEG), AVI can contain many different kinds of compression (eg. DivX video + WMA audio or Indeo video + PCM audio), as long as a codec is available for encoding/decoding. AVI all look the same on the "outside", but on the "inside", they may be completely different. Almost all tools on this site are not just DivX tools, but also AVI tools, so will probably work with other codecs.  

There is no such thing as a "normal" AVI file, but the closest you can get is probably an AVI file that contains no compression. AVI files has been around since the time of Windows 3.1, so by no means is it a new thing, and is probably the most common video format around (although its popularity wavered a few years ago, but has since come back with a vengeance due to the emergence of DivX).  

AVI files may also have limits under Windows 95/98, and for more information, please read this article.  

Where can I download the WMA/DivX Audio codecs ?  


You need to download and install the DivX 3.11 Alpha codec, which contains both of these codecs.  

What do I need to play them ?  


If you are able to playback clip.mpg DVD movies, then there are no other hardware requirements to playback DivX movies. The software requirements are a DivX codec, and a DivX/AVI compatible player, more details in the How can I play them FAQ answer below.  

For a more detailed listing of the hardware requirements of DivX playback, please refer to this page.  

How can I play them ?  


To playback most existing DivX movies, all you need is to install the DivX codec 3.11 Alpha Version (and all of the required software listed on the DivX Codec download page) and also a compatible DivX player like BS Player - note that Windows Media Player 6.4 can playback DivX as well, but won't have the advanced features such as subtitle support.  

All of the above software can be found in our Software section.  

Some movies may be encoded with the new ProjectMayo DivX codec, the 3ivX codec, SMR codec or the MS-MPEG-4 codec.  

Note that if you have a RealMagic Hollywood+ hardware clip.mpg DVD decoder card, you can use the DivXPlus player to playback DivX movies through the TV-output of this card (decoding will still be done by your CPU, not the decoder card). There is no such player for other hardware cards at the moment.  

How can I play incomplete DivX/AVI movies ?  


You should be able to fix this clip.mpg movie using a tool called DivFix (you might want to backup your DivX/AVI file first). br> Just run the program (copying the DivX file from the CD to your hard-drive first), strip the index, and rebuild it again. More detailed instructions in this message I posted in our old forum (no postings allowed - if you want to post messages, please use our new forum  

How can I play a DIV4 encoded clip.mpg movie ?  


If Windows Media Player tells that it can't find the DIV4 compressor, you can try to do the following (you might want to backup your DivX/AVI file first) :  

1.        Download the AVI FourCC Code Changer program.  

2.        Start AVIFourCC Changer and load in your AVI  

3.        Change the "FourCC Used Codec" setting to "DIV3"  

How can I play DivX movies on a standalone clip.mpg DVD player ?  


Standalone clip.mpg DVD players do not support MPEG-4, and hence won't be able to play DivX movies. However, you could convert your AVI/DivX movies to MPEG-1 and burn a VideoCD, which most standalone clip.mpg DVD players will support. Please check your clip.mpg DVD player's documentations and make sure it supports both VideoCD and more importantly, CD-R (not all clip.mpg DVD players do because the default clip.mpg DVD laser can't read CD-Rs).  

Once you are sure that your standalone clip.mpg DVD players supports VideoCDs and CD-R, you can use this guide to convert your AVI/DivX movies to MPEG-1/VCD.  

How can I make them ?  


Please refer to our Articles section on guides to making DivX movies. For beginners, we suggest you try our clip.mpg DVD to DivX using FlasK MPEG guide first to convert a small clip.mpg DVD file (eg. a Dolby Digital trailer, downloadable here) to get the overall feel of the conversion process, before you attempt to use the other methods to convert an entire clip.mpg movie. You may also want to attempt some of Nicky Page's Guides, as they are all very educational.  

How can I cut or join them ?  


Please refer to our Cutting AVI files guide and Joining AVI files guide.  

Why are there so many tools? Can't somebody make an all-in-one tool that does the clip.mpg DVD conversion to DivX with just a few button clicks ?  


This would be nice, but unfortunately, most clip.mpg DVD/DivX programs are made by individuals, such as Avery Lee's VirtualDub and Alberto Vigatá's FlasK MPEG. If an all-in-one tool has to be made, these people will have to all work together, in a team, and come up with such a solution. The problem involved with this, however, is huge, as often, these people are spread out across the world - just the time difference problems will cause a lot of headaches. Of course, if all parties released source code using the GPL, then one does not necessarily have to work with the other to make a program, but since these software tools are updated quite frequently, anyone making an all-in-one tool will also have to make these updates, hence perhaps it is all just too much work for an individual or even a small team to handle.  

Then there are the legal problems. To make such a program, one will need to combine clip.mpg DVD rippers (not so legal) with the conversion software (legal). The MPAA won't be pleased. You may also want to "hardwire" the codecs into the conversion program, but this makes the conversion program less versatile (what if you want to convert to another format, other than DivX). But tools such as FlasK MPEG + CSS already combines a converter with a ripper, are already around, and you can sort of say they are "all-in-one" soltutions, although post conversion processing with VirtualDub and other AVI editing tools may be required. FlasK MPEG, in my opinion, is already a pretty complete tool, while it won't give you the best possible conversion quality/smallest file size, it will do just fine for regular conversions.  

But most importantly, even if a all-in-one tool is released, conversion will still be more than "just a few button clicks" away. This is because in order to get the best possible picture quality, one will have to do a lot of tweaking (eg. cropping, calculating bitrate ...).  

So to put it simply, having many tools allows you to have the best in everything (eg. the best ripper + the best converstion tool + the best AVI/DivX editing tool), while if you combine them into one program, you may end up having a program that does everything, but do them poorly. If you are really confused by the myriad of tools on this site, I highly recommend that you read at least one of the conversion guides (eg. my clip.mpg DVD to DivX using FlasK MPEG guide or any of Nicky Page's Guides), to familiarise your self with what each tool does - once you do, you'll no longer find that there are too many tools, and you may even find that there are not nearly enough tools for you to make the perfect DivX file.  

Why does it take hours and hours to convert a clip.mpg DVD clip.mpg movie to the DivX format ?  


Most of the conversion tools you'll find here are made by individuals. While conversion programs make by large companies can achieve maximum efficiency, "home-made" tools are usually less than perfect. Anyone who has ever attempted programming will know how hard it is to make the software work, let alone make it efficient as well. Of course, if you have knowhow that can make a program efficient, you should contact the programmers, and share your ideas - if the program's source code is available, you can modify it your self and release your "enhanced" version of the same program (obeying the license under which the source code was released, of course).  

Also, the mathematics involved in conversion is pretty complicated. Think about the fact that you'll still need a PII-350 or better to just playback DVDs at realtime (30 frames per second) even on the most advanced software clip.mpg DVD players, a conversion tool will need to playback/decode the clip.mpg DVD and encode it to another format at the same time. Video encoding is also a lot more processor intensive than video decoding, so theoretically, even with the most efficient software, a PIII-800 or better may be needed for realtime video conversion. Add this to the fact that most freeware conversion tools are not the most efficient software around, you can see why conversion takes so long.  

Where can I read a "real" DivX FAQ ?  


First of all, thank-you for insulting me by suggesting this FAQ is not a "real" FAQ ;)  

There isn't an official Frequently Asked Questions for the DivX format, but Nicky Page, our local DivX expert, has written a very extensive FAQ which is a must read. There is also a French translation of the FAQ here. And DivXMovies.com have also written their own FAQ, which is worth reading.  

There is also a FAQ for ProjectMayo, the new DivX codec.  

Where do I ask questions ?  


You can post your questions in our forum - there will always be a bunch of DivX enthusiasts there willing to answer your questions. You should also try Doom9's Forum and Flexion.org's Forum.  

I head that DIVX went out of business. Did they make a come back ?  


Umm ... the DIVX you were referring to was the failed digital video rental system. This new DivX is differentiated by it's capitalisation (i and v are small case) and usually written as DivX ;-) or DivX MPEG-4. I don't really know why the makers of this codec chose the name, but I can assure you that this new DivX will be much more popular than the other one.