DivX for Windows 0.3 and DivX Playa 0.5

A codec (from coder/decoder)is an algorithm, or method, for compressing media files so they take up less space and can be more easily stored or transmitted over the Internet. Most codecs trade a loss of quality in return for increased compression.

The most famous codec of all is MP3, which has revolutionised the distribution of music. Technically, MP3 is actually one small part of a family of codecs called MPEG, which has been developed for the digital storage of video information (see July issue, page 24). MPEG-4 is the latest and most efficient in a line of video codecs, and DivX is an offshoot of it that has the potential to do for movies what MP3 has done for music.

Using DivX, a 30-minute TV program can be compressed to around 30MB and a full-length movie can be made to fit on a CD, without significant loss of quality. Many enthusiasts have encoded their favourite movies, video clips and TV programs using DivX, and made them available for downloading.

To play these files, you need to obtain and install a compatible media player and the DivX codec. These can be downloaded from many sources on the Net, including www.divx.com and www.projectmayo.com. There are two main types for Windows users: the DivX Playa, which is a stand-alone media player that can show DivX files, and DivX for Windows, which is a plug-in that allows an existing program, such as Windows Media Player version 6.2 or later, to decode DivX. The installation files for both of these programs are available on this month's cover CD. An even later version, DivX 4.0 beta, was released just as we went to press, and can be downloaded from www.divx.com.

Installation of both versions is quite straightforward - if you already have Windows Media Player, the DivX for Windows setup program will automatically register the codec with the application. The Playa, of course, is self-contained. Both proved able to play most downloaded DivX files with good quality reproduction on an 800MHz Pentium III.

Some files wouldn't work, evidently due to having been created with a different version of DivX. Experienced DivX users can rectify this problem by searching for different versions of the codec on the Net, and installing a number of them. With a wide enough net of codec versions, you'll be able to play almost any video file format that's out there.

DivX for Windows 0.3 and DivX Playa 0.5

Price: free; URL: www.divx.com, www.projectmayo.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Aldis Ozols

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?