Take a look around in the cyber underworld. Search and download a video file with uTorrent or Gnutella. What do you see? I see DivX everywhere. Online video piracy takes a couple of forms. You have the *.flv Flash format popularly seen at YouTube. Of course, you will find the uncompressed, mammoth *.iso files directly ripped from DVDs. Then, you have the smaller compressed versions of the *.iso files as various MPEG formats. Sometimes they are in the highly-redundant, DVD-native MPEG2 format or the cross-compatible MPEG1 format. Other times, they are in one of the newer types of MPEG4. DivX, Xvid, and other MPEG4 formats have become staples in both the cyber underworld and the mainstream Internet. Out of all these variations of MPEG4 formats, the most popular is undoubtedly DivX.
DivX once started as an illegal, reverse-engineered rip off of the proprietary Microsoft ASF MPEG4 version. Years ago because it was the only free video format with a high compression ratio, it became the leader of video formats. Still, in the midst of several competitors with different cutting edges, it is still one of the most used formats online.
Back then, to convert video to DivX, you had to use a DirectShow-type filter with a mapping-capable program like GraphEdit or VirtualDub. Today, the DivX Corporation provides users with an extremely easy way to convert almost any video format with its now-proprietary-but-still-free codec. Dr. DivX was once a for-pay program marketed by the DivX Corporation. Now, they released the code to the open-source community to tinker with.
This program seamlessly converts your video clips into DivX format with very few clicks and little know-how. Basically, you open the file(s) that you want to convert. Select the desired viewing profile, quality, and/or size. Then click encode. Just leave the program running in the background and in a few minutes or hours – depending on the size and complexity of the input file – Dr. DivX will create a *.divx file for you.
A DivX file? Sounds proprietary right? I sure have not seen it anywhere in the cyber underworld. A *.divx file is actually an *.avi file with just a different extension. Nothing is stopping you from changing the extension and viewing the video in another media player. Go ahead and try it!