January 5, 2021 | A public service announcement from
the good folks at EMedia Magazine:
If you do a Web search for MPEG-4, you're likely to come up
with several results for something known as "DivX" (a moniker
once also used for the ill-fated, limited-play DVD movie discs
promoted by Circuit City). Freeware and shareware versions of
DivX encoders--like VirtualDub and FlaskMPEG--claim the ability
to put DVD-quality movies onto much smaller CD-ROM discs through
efficient "MPEG-4" compression, essentially positioning DivX as
the MP3 of DVD video.
However, DivX is not a compliant version of the MPEG-4 standard.
It is essentially a reverse-engineered version of Microsoft's
Window's Media codec, which was based on an early proposal of
MPEG-4, but not the final version. In fact, Microsoft originally
called the codec "MPEG-4," but has since done the right thing
by moving away from that designation.
Today, Microsoft, like RealNetworks with RealVideo 8, claims
that its codec actually achieves better quality for straight video
and audio compression than MPEG-4 and some MPEG-4 proponents agree.
However, neither it nor the DivX version are open standards and
neither is likely to work with a standard MPEG-4 or with MPEG-4-enabled
devices of the future such as cellular phones, PDAs, or set-top