PS3, DivX, and You

By Mike on 10:53 am

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Ok, so now the PS3 and the Xbox 360 have been given DivX playback capability. DivX is based on MPEG-4 ASP as is Xvid. However, Xvid is not compatible. Like AVC, DivX is a lossy compression technique. It allows you to shrink large video files down to a more manageable size for playback from a hard drive, CD, or DVD. DivX is far less efficient at encoding video than AVC is, however, it has the primary advantage of being faster to encode. After experimenting with DivX playback, I've noticed a few things.

First of all, the 2gb file limit on the PS3 is false. I've noticed that DivX files larger than 2gb burned to a DVD will play. I had a two hour long TV show that I had recorded (at DVD quality) which weighed in at about 6gb (MPEG-2) before compression. I used DivX to squeeze it down to 3.6gb and burned it to a single layer DVD. I popped it into my PS3 and selected the disc from the video menu and found the file. The PS3 indicated that it was corrupted data. I assumed the file was too big but I tried it anyway and sure enough, it played back perfectly. It is possible that the 2gb limit is for locally stored video. According to DivX themselves, in order for a player to receive their certification, it must be able to play files up to 4gb, which the PS3 will do. DivX is a great way to quickly move TV shows recorded on your DVR to your PS3 or Xbox 360. DivX also allows you to encode video up to 1080p resolution for HD video.

In order to encode files, you need the DivX encoder. They "generously" give you a 7-day trial of DivX Converter, then you'll have to buy DivX pro afterward. However, they do offer an open source encoder called Dr DivX which is available from the official DivX Labs. The latest (and only) version available is still in the Beta stage but uses the latest DivX 6.8 codec. It's not as streamlined as the commercial version and novice users may find it overwhelming. However, it gets the job done and is well laid out with lots of encoding features. As with all open source, it's free and community maintained. To use it, all you have to do is select a video file, select your encoder settings, and click encode. You also have the alternative to used more advanced options such as audio encoding settings, custom resolutions, and custom cropping.

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