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DVD Players To Play Downloaded Video In ’03

Austin, Texas – DVD players available late this year in the U.S. will play recordable data CDs burned with DivX-encoded video that was downloaded by PC from the web, Cirrus Logic claimed.

With DivX, a two-hour video would fit on a single CD in S-VHS quality, the company noted. Two or three major suppliers are expected to make the units. The players will be priced at about $150, Cirrus said.

The DVD players will incorporate a DivX controller and decoder on a single Cirrus board, whereas other chipmakers have developed two-board solutions that will boost the price of DivX-capable DVD players to at least $200, said Cirrus marketing VP Terry Ritchie. Production quantities of Cirrus’s silicon will be available in mid-summer.

DivX is an MPEG-4 based codec developed by DivX Networks of San Diego to offer DVD-quality at 10 times greater compression than MPEG-2 files. The codec enables full-length films to fit on a CD and be delivered over broadband connections. MPEG-4 is scalable to offer HDTV quality at higher bit rates.

Cirrus said its platform could be used in future network-enabled DVD players and PVRs to stream or download DivX video from the web. He projected early-2004 availability of DVD players equipped with RJ-11 or RJ-45 connections to stream authorized DivX content from web sites on a pay-per-view basis, turning DVD players into ‘mass-market settop boxes.’ DivX-enabled PVRs could download and store movies for viewing at any time during a prescribed limited ‘rental’ period. Digital-rights-management technology would prevent Internet redistribution but allow sharing on the home network.

Future commercial DVD disc could contain Web links to download or stream additional content in DivX form, he added.

Currently, DivX’s content is limited mainly to clips, independent films, anime, cartoons, The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, and X-rated videos.