DivX 6 for Mac is now available — a new version of the digital video compression technology that’s become increasingly widespread on PCs and on consumer DVD players. It’s available for download — a component that allows DivX movies to be encoded on the Mac is free, although the encoding software cost US$19.99 to register.
DivX is an alternative to H.264 and other technologies that provide a tightly compressed but high-quality video image. This isn’t DivX’s first time on the Mac — in fact, this isn’t even the first time that DivX 6 has been available on the Macintosh. Earlier this year, Roxio began bundling DivX 6 with its Toast 7 Titanium software.
This news marks DivX 6’s independent release, and the introduction of the DivX Converter for Mac, a video creation application that lets users drag and drop videos to convert them to DivX format.
DivX on the Mac
The DivX 6 software itself installs as a QuickTime plug-in that lets users playback and export DivX video from any QuickTime-based application. DivX estimates that DVD-quality videos can be compressed from 7 - 10 times smaller their MPEG-2 equivalents.
DivX took a hit with Mac users earlier this year who complained that the company was slow to react to Apple’s release of Mac OS X “Tiger.” DivX acknowledged issues with its previous Mac release and Tiger, but hasn’t offered a Tiger-compatible release before DivX 6.
“We’re certainly sorry that there were those problems,” said Tom Huntington, director of corporate communication. “[Mac development] is something we’ve devoted more resources to.”
Huntington said that DivX recognizes that the Mac represents a disproportionate percentage of the video production market compared to the platform’s overall penetration of the desktop computer market. DivX has hired more Mac programming talent and hopes to continue to develop its product for the Mac marketplace.
To that end, Huntington said that DivX hopes to release an updated version of DivX 6 that’s optimized for multicore and multiprocessor Macs — an enhancement just now available for PC users. What’s more, the company hopes to soon have Mac tools that support DivX Ultra, a new encoding technology that enables DivX users to encode videos with chapter markers and other code that more closely emulates the DVD experience.
Why would a Mac users who can encode video content using H.264 consider spending the time, effort and money to use DivX instead?
“When it comes down to the individual codecs themselves, the quality and the capabilities are very similar,” said Huntington. “The difference for us is the ecosystem. We’ve worked hard to get DivX into these consumer electronics devices.”
DivX estimates that cumulatively, 50 million DivX-certified devices will have been produced by the end of the year. The company counts more than 200 million active DivX users, and licenses the technology to companies including ATI, Intel, Sony, LG, Philips and others. DivX-enabled products include HDTVs, gaming consoles, smartphones, handheld media players and more.
DivX has also announced the first digital still camera that has DivX video encoding capabilities built into — the Pentax Optio S6 — a 6 megapixel model that costs about $300. Short videos recorded using the camera can be automatically encoded with DivX.
DivX 6 for Mac is compatible with QuickTime 6 and higher and Mac OS X v10.3. Users can download a 15-day free trial version of the DivX Converter and a six-month trial of the DivX codec for Mac with “Pro” features (the “standard” codec won’t expire).