MercuryNews.com is running a story about the battle to encode movies for download that is raging between Microsoft and DivX.
You can see for yourself, if you've got a computer running Windows XP or Windows 2000 and broadband Internet service. A software package called the DivX Play Bundle is available free on the Web (www.divx.com). It's a relatively small file, 7.5 megabytes, that's easy to install and lets you watch DivX video.
The company Web site is also offering a free download of ``Star Wars Revelations,'' a 47-minute movie created by fans of the ``Star Wars'' series on a $20,000 budget. The 396-megabyte DivX 6 version of ``Revelations,'' when viewed with the DivX 6 player, presents a full DVD-like menu where you can jump to specific scenes and listen to commentary by the director. Video and audio quality is good enough that you'd think you were watching a DVD on your computer.
The problem is that the studios associate DivX with pirated movies, and Microsoft has worked with the studios on DRM (and I'm sure that they're better funded). I think that they should stop trying to encrypt books, movies and music and make them so cheap that it's not worth the time it takes to steal them. I remember reading in the 80's that anything that can be encrypted can be decrypted, and that has proven to be true. Why inconvenience the majority of users who will pay for the content just to continue the copy protection arms race with hackers? Apple's winning the music download game because they found a compromise that works for users and the record labels.
GreenCine is mentioned in the story:
I tried the ``Burn-to-Rent'' program at GreenCine, a San Francisco distributor of independent films that is one of DivX's biggest supporters. For lack of any better choice, I paid $4.99 for an awful 85-minute science-fiction film from 1967 called ``They Came From Beyond Space.'' I then downloaded the 568-megabyte DivX file of the movie and burned the file on a CD, with rights to view the movie 10 times.
Do you watch movies in DivX? Windows Media Player format?