DVD VS. DIVX
Consumer Product Investigation


The 1990’s have seen a have boost in consumer electronic sales. Families are
now able to purchase former big ticket items such as computers for under $800.00 and
VCR’s for under $100.00. Prices for these product have fallen dramatically due to
consumer usage and competition. In addition it is also common place to find individuals
hooking up their stereo to their televisions and VCR’s, and adding surround sound
systems. This phenomenon in consumer electronic viewing habits has triggered the buzz
word of the “Home Theatre”. With all of these great sound systems out there people are
wanting to utilize them as well as get better cleaner crisper video signals through their
television. In just over a year the consumer technology DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) has
made huge wages in the consumer home video market.
This paper will explore the benefits of DVD as well as explore some the technical
possibilities that are made available to consumers with DVD. It will also look at the
latest features of DVD, DIVX (Digital Video Express) and let the reader make the
decision if it’s an option that is really all that necessary.
DVD is a relatively new format, but it has made a huge impact in the consumer
video market since it’s relapse only a year ago. DVD is DVD, which stands for Digital
Video Disc, Digital Versatile Disc, or nothing, depending on whom you ask, is the next
generation of optical disc storage technology. It's essentially a bigger, faster CD that can
hold video as well as audio and computer data. DVD aims to encompass home
entertainment, computers, and business information with a single digital format,
eventually replacing audio CD, videotape, laserdisc, CD-ROM, and perhaps even video
game cartridges. DVD has widespread support from all major electronics companies, all
major computer hardware companies, and about half of the major movie and music
studios, which is unprecedented and says much for its chances of success. Some of the
benefits of DVD are an individual DVD can store over 2 hours of high-quality digital
video (over 8 on a double-sided, dual-layer disc).Support for widescreen movies on
standard or widescreen TVs (4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios). You can also have up to 8
tracks of digital audio (for multiple languages, DVS, etc.), each with as many as 8
channels, up to 32 subtitle/karaoke tracks, automatic "seamless" branching of video (for
multiple story lines or ratings on one disc). In addition you can have up to 9 camera
angles (different viewpoints can be selected during playback). In addition you have
menus and simple interactive features (for games, quizzes, etc.). "Instant" rewind and
fast forward, including search to title, chapter, track, and timecode. DVD’s are very
durable (no wear from playing, only from physical damage). Also they are not susceptible
to magnetic fields and they are resistant to heat.. They are also compatible with audio
CD’s. These are many of the
reasons that families are making DVD so successful. Home Theatre viewing are bringing
families together to watch films in their home’s at a less expensive alternative to going to
the there. Most DVD movies list for $20 to $30 with street prices between $15 and $25,
even those with supplemental material. Low-priced movies can be found for under $10.
Video rental stores are beginning to see the potential of renting Dad’s and usually offer
the superior quality format. So far DVD has not followed the initial high rental price
model of VHS.
The current alternative to DVD is DIVX. DIVX is a pay-per-viewing-period
variation of DVD. DIVX is currently sold for $4.50 and only throughout the
Circuit City Corporation. Once inserted into a DIVX player the disc will play
normally (allowing the viewer to pause, rewind, even put in another disc before
finishing the first disc) for the next 48 hours, after which the "owner" must pay
$3.25 to unlock it for another 48 hours. A DIVX DVD player, which costs about
$100 than a regular player, must be hooked up to a phone line so it can call an
800 number for about 20 seconds during the night once each month to upload
billing information. Special DIVX Silver discs can be permanently unlocked by
paying a higher fee ($10 to $20), and unlimited-playback DIVX Gold discs may
also be offered for sale at a price similar to regular "open" DVDs. DIVX players
also play regular DVD discs, but DIVX discs do not play in standard DVD
players. DIVX discs are serialized (with a barcode in the standard Burst Cutting
Area) and in addition to normal DVD copy protection they