We all know what good work DivX codec does, or its competition, XviD (DivX spelled backwards). Besides the codec that everybody knows or heard about, DivX also released its own player and converter. There are few users that actually employ DivX player as it does not support too many video formats. But few users actually know about the .divx video extension.
This video format is like nothing you have seen before. The quality is taken to extreme and most of you have never seen such clarity of the image. It is only normal for the quality to be insane as 2'8'' of video ate up 195MB of space on my HDD (the "Transformers" trailer from stage6.divx.com). To be frank, I knew of the capabilities of DivX, but I never imagined they could take it so far.
Since the format is so good, there was an acute need for a converter to do the job. DivX converter is part of DivX Pro for Windows pack that also includes the player and the codec. The pack costs $19.99.
The interface is almost inexistent, however, the application is designed to be managed by all users, both novices and experts. The support for drag and drop is supported, so you do not have to search the "Open" option. On the other hand, clicking the "View List" button will also let you add the files and it will give you access to some settings for the output result. Right clicking inside DivX converter will open a context menu that gives you access to the Preferences menu of the application.
There are not too many options available and the user can only set the temporary and output folder for the final results. Also, you can set the application to check for new versions at startup.
As soon as you have added files to convert, the
application will display the number you have in queue. It is time to make the output settings of the file. These include the Certification Profile (which can also be set in the main window of the application by clicking on the left/right arrow), limitation of the file size, setting the resolution and limiting the total average bitrate (video, audio and total).
In the case of VOB files converting, the Media Options the user has the chance of choosing are the audio tracks and subtitles to include in the output result. If you want to add more than one file, then the default file is selected by using the right hand arrows.
The best thing is that the converter allows you to create menus to the output video, containing all the video files you added for conversion. The only catch for this aspect is the fact that all the files have to have the same resolution and framerate. Also, the feature is not available in the case of VOB files. The result will be a .divx video that contains a preset menu that can be accessed by using DivX player.
However, if you choose a different player (I used GOM and MV2 Player), the menu will work, but the quality will not be the same and you will need the DivX menu navigator. Although I do not recommend using a different player for the DivX menu videos, you should give it a try and see the distortions created.
You have all used video players before so why should DivX Player be any different? Well, it is equipped with a function that you do not really see in a regular video player. It has a burning engine ready to write video files on the disc, both DVD and CD.
Also, the application will let you navigate freely through the menus created with DivX Converter. Additionally, you can connect directly to the DivX video website (stage6.divx.com) and download the movie files in there using the Download manager utility included in the player.
The Publishing Manager allows the users to publish the movies on the stage6.divx website. For this to happen you will need to create a DivX account, which is free. This way you will be able to both download the videos from the different channels available as well as upload them.
In its initial state, the player will display all the features it has (Burn to Disc and Media Library), but the user can restrict the display only to the playing area. The arrows on the sides are the key for this. The playing options are shown at the bottom of the application.
I do not know why, but despite the intuitive interface, I felt the need of tooltips and I do not think that I am wrong when I say that most users are accustomed to the tooltip display when hovering the mouse pointer over the buttons. Also, the lack of a Help menu does not contribute to revealing the options.
The burning part of the video player is not as complex and efficient as the codec provided by the developer. In fact, it is just a simple tool that will write the video files to the disc. No speed setting, no multisession setting, just Volume Name. The operation is easy and all you have to do is drag a file and drop it and press burn.
The disc displayed in the Burn to Disc window will show you the size of data the video will take from the disc and the burning progress of the file. After all the writing is done you will be informed about the success of the burning and the disc will be ejected.
The Preferences menu is not as rich as one would think and the most interesting section is Video. Here you can set the brightness, contrast and saturation of the video.
This one needs no presentation as it is one of the leaders on the market. It has been helpful enough by now and it will continue to help us in our encoding tasks. It is also a necessary component for video playback as a great deal of the videos are encoded with it.
The quality of the result can be set by dragging a simple slide bar up to the 10th level. Rate control mode and the bitrate calculator included (duration, filesize, number of frames, fps, audio bitrate) will allow you to make your movies of a certain size when encoding.
The codec section allows the user to select the desired quality for the encoded file. Check the picture on the right and see the speed/compression rate in order to choose the suitable option (the better the quality the longer the time to finish the job). Bidirectional coding option is available.
The video section of the codec lets you choose the video resolution, the resize filter (bilinear filter will soften the image, as opposed to bicubic which will sharpen it), interlacing (progressive interlacing or de-interlacing the source).
The best features of the pack are the converter and the codec. No need to mention that they are also the most expensive, as all the other included items are free.
The Converter is pretty fast and easy to manipulate and the results are worthy of DivX mark. The codec needs no boasting as we all know the quality it provides and if you are not yet familiar with it, check out stage6.divx.com.
The multithreading support of DivX codec will give you better performance on dual core systems.
The Converter cannot join the files into one single DivX video. The VOB files have to be converted one by one. The downside of the converter is that you cannot set the framerate of the videos. You will have to use a different software for converting the framerate.
Let's get serious. Nobody will take the whole package for the player (including the web player). The stars of the package are the codec and the converter (in this order) and the codec is insanely good. The converter still has some mischiefs, but it'll convert your files. And the 15 days trial period for these two applications is sufficient for you to test them.