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DivX Launches DivX 6 Software

San Diego — DivX, developer of video compression technologies, announced the launch of its DivX 6 software through third-party partners, with plans to support a range of consumer electronics devices from DVD players to portable media players.

The new DivX version is said to improve speed and visual quality, including support for high-definition content.

The software includes a new DivX Media Format, which enables users to create a complete home entertainment experience with advanced interactive features, including XSUB subtitles, interactive video menus, chapter points, alternate audio tracks, XTAG video tags and DIVX file extensions to clearly identify DivX files.

DivX 6 products are available to consumers in two bundles: the DivX 6 Create bundle, which offers software to create and playback DivX files, and the DivX 6 Play bundle, which includes the tools necessary to DivX 6 files, including new high-definition enhancements.

Also included in the DivX Create bundle is a DivX Converter application — replacing Dr. DivX — that lets consumers create DivX 6 files from a variety of sources in a drag and drop fashion. The software will also allow users to combine multiple DivX files into one.

Initially DivX 6 software will be distributed through third-party software suppliers to be named shortly.

DivX said its DivX 6 encoding offers 20 percent to 40 percent better visual compression than DivX 5 and better than competitors including H.264 baseline and Windows Media.

“As you get into things like encode and live capture, and as we look at getting into devices like DVRs and digital cameras, encoding speed becomes a key metric. So we also worked to really improve the encoding speed,” said Thomas Huntington, DivX’s corporate communications senior manager.

The result is a system that is faster than H.264 baseline and “much, much faster than Windows Media,” Huntington said.

In addition DivX is including for the first time support for MP3 audio, ensuring a high quality audio experience to match the experience of the video experience, he added. MP3 surround will be supported in a future version expected later this year.

As for HDTV, Huntington said DivX currently supports 720p true HD playback on red laser in four DVD players on the market today from Buffalo, IO Data and Lite-On. HDTV, which is supported as a red-laser format in DivX 6, is viewed by the company more as feature than a new category.

Eventually, the company said its compression systems for HD could be adapted to the new denser blue-laser disc technologies on the horizon.

“Instead of one or two high-definition movies on a Blu-ray Disc, you could have 10 movies on a disc using DivX,” said Eric Grab, DivX’s technology evangelist and architect.

DivX has also taken strides in marketing DivX 6 to simplify the licensing process for its partners, offering complete SDK models for both software and hardware partners to implement DivX 6 on both the encode and decode sides of consumer electronics, Huntington said.

In 2004, over 20 million DivX certified devices shipped worldwide, the company said. The company, which has enjoyed a strong following in Europe but has seen lesser demand in North America, is looking to grow a U.S. user base.