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DivX Video Codec, Version 5

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name DivX Video Codec, Version 5

Bitstream encoding for video initially developed by the French video engineer Jérôme Rota, aka Gej. As of 2005, the DivX (formerly DivXNetworks) Web site described the encoding as based on the MPEG-4 standard; DivX version 5.0 was released in March 2002; version 5.1 during 2003. The Official DivX 5.1 Guide says "the DivX 5 series encoder is an implementation of the MPEG4 Video Standard supporting both simple profile and advanced simple profile encoding.

Note: DivX 6.x codecs were released beginning in late 2005; not yet investigated for this Web site.

Production phase Generally used as an end-user delivery format.
Relationship to other formats
    Has earlier version DivX_4 video codec, not documented at this time.
    Has later version DivX_6 video codec, not documented at this time.
    Used by AVI_DivX, AVI, DivX Codec
    Used by NSV, Nullsoft Streaming Video

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings  
LC preference  

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Proprietary standard with some public documentation
    Documentation Limited documentation. See Useful References below.
Adoption An FAQ (link available through Internet Archive) from the Ligos Corporation, distributors of the competing Indeo codec, includes this statement: "Many video files being distributed over the Internet use the DivX AVI format . . . ."
    Licensing and patents

DivX software is distributed under license from the company; the compiler of this page is uncertain as to whether the codec itself is protected. In 2006, a page on the Web site (; not available in December 2011) described licensing arrangements as free for personal use and fee-based for commercial uses. Additional information available in the Wikipedia article on DivX, consulted in December 2011.

Transparency Depends upon algorithms and tools to read; will require sophistication to build tools.
Self-documentation Not applicable; provided by wrapper formats.
External dependencies None.
Technical protection considerations According to the Wikipedia article on DivX, consulted in December 2011 (possibly referring to version 6.x), "DivX Video on Demand (DivX VOD) is DivX's version of digital rights management (DRM), which allows content owners to control distribution."

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Moving Image
Normal rendering Not applicable
Clarity (high image resolution) Moderate, varies according to levels of compression and picture size; the maximum of which is about four megapixels, with no dimension exceeding 8,188 pixels. Does not support interlaced playback. More information on picture size and quality is provided in the Wikipedia article on DivX, although this may feature information about version 6.x.
Functionality beyond normal rendering Not applicable.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension Not applicable.   
Internet Media Type Not applicable.   
Magic numbers Not applicable.   
Used when this codec is wrapped in Microsoft file formats, e.g., AVI and ASF. Only the first of these FOURCC codes (DIVX) was was registered to DivX at the Microsoft registry of FOURCC and WAVE codes before Microsoft stopped maintaining the registry. In March 2012, the others are listed at, with various annotations discouraging use of DIV3, DIV4, and DIV5 as obsolete. DIVX was used in versions 4 and later of the DivX codec. Version 5 of the DivX codec is reported to also use DX50.

Notes Explanation of format description terms


The Official DivX 5.1 Guide indicates that Jérôme Rota began work on DivX in 1999, with an eye toward fitting a feature film on a compact disk and/or making it easy to disseminate films on the web. DivXNetworks was founded in 2000. In 2001, DixXNetworks launched a "covert" website that led to the creation of OpenDivX, an open source project eventually called XVID. DivX 4 was released in 2001, DivX5 in March 2002, and version 5.1 in the latter half of 2003. The version 6.x series was launched in December 2005 and as of March 2012, the latest version for Windows is 6.8.5.

In 2005 the Digital Digest DivX FAQ (which could not be found as of December, 2011) reported "The original DivX 3.xx codec is based on Microsoft's MPEG-4 V3 codec (ASF was based on MPEG-4 V2). The reason why the codec was "hacked" and re-distributed is because Microsoft's codec did not allow one to encode to AVI (they only wanted people to encode to ASF/WMV), which is far from being convenient. The DivX 3.xx codec also includes hacked versions of a MP3 codec and a WMA codec. . . . The new DivX 4.x codec has nothing to do with Microsoft - it has been developed entirely from scratch." The same is no doubt true of the DivX 5 codec.

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 03/26/2024