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Divx FAQ

Basics

Q:

What is Divx?

A:

The Divx home video system is a rental-oriented variant of DVD-Video. It consists of three parts: a central billing system, similar to that used by pay-per-view satellite; specially-formatted DVD-V discs, of which there are two physical types, rental and Gold (never available to the public); and special DVD players with the ability to decode Divx discs, built-in modems for communicating with the central billing system, and menus for purchasing Divx products online. Playback of Divx rental discs requires the support of the Divx central billing system, which was shut down in the late summer of 2001. All Divx consumer accounts expired on July 7, 2001, after which players were directed to communicate with the billing system for final decommissioning.

Click here for more information on the Divx system.

Q:

Is there some way I can play Divx discs indefinitely after the billing system shuts down?

A:

Not that I am aware of.

Q:

Is Divx dead?

A:

Yes -- all Divx accounts expired on July 7, 2001, after which registered players were directed to to dial in to the billing system for final decommissioning.

Q:

What do I need to play Divx discs?

A:

You need a registered Divx-compatible DVD player, and apart from a few players that were "unlocked" prior to the Divx shutdown, these no longer exist, making playback of Divx discs impossible

Activation and Use

Q:

How do I register a player?

A:

You can't--the Divx phaseout is complete as of July 7, 2001.

Q:

I have an unregistered Divx player--is there anything I can do to get it to play Divx discs?

A:

No.

Q:

I just bought a bunch of discs on eBay, and I don't have a Divx-compatible player -- what can I do to play them?

A:

At the moment, all they're good for is collectibles.

Q:

I'm told the players couldn't be used outside of the U.S. -- is that true?

A:

No--they could also be used in Canada.

Q:

Does Divx require a dedicated phone line?

A:

No--Divx players will transparently share a line with other phone devices.

Q:

Did the player have to be constantly connected to the phone line?

A:

No, although it had to be connected on a periodic basis to allow the player to exchange billing information with the central billing system.

Q:

Did the player call the billing system every time a disc was played?

A:

No--it called twice a month. Between communications with the billing system, transactions were queued up in the player's memory.

Q:

What would happen if I accidentally put in a disc? Would I be charged?

A:

No -- the player would prompt you to start a viewing period for the disc, which you could cancel.

Q:

What about unauthorized users, like the babysitter, running up charges on my account?

A:

You could set up a 4-digit password on your player to prevent unauthorized use.

Divx Facts

Q:

What happens to Divx discs after they're played? Do they self-destruct or get erased?

A:

No physical changes occur to the disc after it is played. The player records in its memory that a viewing period was started for the disc, and eventually uploads that information to the billing system, which determines whether or not to charge the account the player was registered to.

Q:

Is it true Divx discs are all pan&scan?

A:

No -- many are widescreen, and some are even anamorphic.

Q:

Is Divx image quality similar to that of Open DVD?

A:

Yes, although just like Open DVD, the quality of some titles is better than others.

Q:

Can Divx titles have extras?

A:

Yes. One that does is Amistad -- it has a making-of featurette that is free to view.

Q:

Is it true that all Divx discs are single layer, even the longer ones?

A:

No -- longer Divx titles, like The Abyss, come on dual layer discs.

Q:

If I start a viewing period for a disc on one player, can I use the disc on another player without getting charged for another viewing period?

A:

Yes, provided the second player is registered to the same account as the player on which the first viewing period was started, and the playback is within the first viewing period.

Q:

If I am playing a title, and part way through the viewing period expires, will the system stop playing the disc?

A:

No -- it will allow you to finish, provided you don't pause the player for longer than 60 seconds.

Miscellaneous

Q:

Why are so many titles released on Divx not yet available on Open DVD?

A:

The best explanation I've heard for this is as follows: the studios participating in Divx each made a list of titles available for release on the format. Which of those titles were actually released on Divx was decided by Divx itself, but the studios retained control over the DVD releases. Often, Divx would release titles that did not fit into the studios' marketing plans for DVD at the time, or had been upstaged by newer movies. Hence, the title would be digitally available only on Divx. And, since many of those titles had only a brief window of favor with the public that has long since elapsed, there is little value to the studios now in releasing them to DVD, so don't expect them anytime soon.