DivX Releases Version 5.2
Beyond its high efficiency, the core of DivX’s business strategy has been the company’s aggressive pursuit of the consumer electronics space; at the same time it’s worked hard to establish itself in more traditional, PC-based streaming. DivX-certified set-top players are available from KiSS, Philips, JVC, Samsung, and others, and the Plextor ConvertX encoding device bridges the PC-CE gap.
In the European market, DivX recently announced an agreement with Wind, an Italian telecommunications company, for secure, video-on-demand delivery over IP. The VOD service uses progressive download rather than "pure streaming," an approach that corporate communications manager Tom Huntington says was based on consumer preferences. "Customers face the trade-off between watching something right away or letting it buffer a bit and getting a higher-quality video, and they clearly prefer the latter," he says. "If you’re going to lay out up to $15 (for premium content) you want to make sure it’s at least what you get when you go to Blockbuster and rent a DVD."
DivX movies are also now available on Alaska Airlines flights via the APS digEplayer VOD playback device, and Huntington says more airline partnerships are in the works. "We feel the appearance of these kinds of devices validates the ‘iPod’ version of video," Huntington says.
The company also has been running its own VOD service, which Huntington says includes 17,500 titles from 40 content partners. At this point, it’s mostly independent, anime, and adult content, with "rental" rates ranging from $1.95 for five days to $14.99 for 30 days of viewing on a consumer’s PC. Why the lack of "big-name" titles? "The indie and adult folks are moving a lot more aggressively from a DRM perspective," Huntington says, "but their success will help more studios get comfortable with the technology, both from an encoding and a DRM perspective," Huntington says. "We’ve already had films from Warner Brothers and Disney go through our encoding facility."