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Tom's Hardware Reviews First Player for DivX Video 247

Idimmu Xul writes "Tom's Hardware has a review of the DP-450: the first player for DivX video in Hi-Fi format! Until now, movies in space-saving DivX (MPEG-4) format could only be viewed on a PC. The KiSS DVD player is the first standalone device for TVs and projectors." Very cool, although it will render my stacks of VCDs obsolete.
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Tom's Hardware Reviews First Player for DivX Video

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  • hehehe (Score:3, Funny)

    by SnAzBaZ ( 572456 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:17AM (#5156739) Homepage
    Very cool, although it will render my stacks of VCDs obsolete.

    I hope that's your stack of legal VCDs ;]
  • Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Omkar ( 618823 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:21AM (#5156755) Homepage Journal
    This is a step forward for DivX. I don't think most normal people know much about DivX though - perhaps this will help. Did any of you know there's even a DivX dev kit for the GameCube?
  • This is useless. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Krapangor ( 533950 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:21AM (#5156756) Homepage
    A average TV-Set has a dot matrix with 0.12 inches dot distance. That means that it has a very bad resolution. It's one of the reasons why you should watch TV only from a larger distance 2 meters or so (the other is of course gamma radiation). However this implies that you really can't see the very little details. But the point about DivX compression is in fact these details. All older compression schemes used to delete these due to lossy compression.
    So, a DivX player with a normal TV set is useless. You should connect it either to your computer screen or get one of these new plasma or LCD TV-sets.
    • Re:This is useless. (Score:2, Informative)

      by 0111 1110 ( 518466 )
      divx is even more lossy than earlier compression schemes. The quality is like VHS, not even SVHS. Also, the resolution is limited by the original NTSC (or PAL) signal which isn't exactly 1080i. If you want quality, you'd better stick with the mpeg2 format from the original DVD (unless you're doing your own film transfer), and even then, televisions can display it as well as a computer monitor. When 1080i HD-DVDs are finally released you will have a point however.
      • Re:This is useless. (Score:4, Informative)

        by specialized_sworks ( 84449 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @02:04PM (#5157476)
        I'll differ with you on this...
        With *the same data rates* the divx encoding will provide better video. It's a more efficient compression scheme which allows *more* detail to be encoded.

        The issue is that many people encode at abismal data rates so the quality is bad. The file size is 1/2 of the MPEG2 but the quality is worse. Given the same file size in MPEG2 or DIVX and the DIVX will look better.

      • As Specialized Sworks already stated, mpeg4 has superior quality at the same bitrate. I can show you an episode of Friends in 240MB mpeg-1 and 110MB mpeg-4 and the quality is comparable. mpeg1 seems to capture details better, but the tiliing, or grid of squares that are compressed are clearly visible. mpeg-4 will hide the tiling better, but lose some detail. That same episode in mpeg-4 at 240MB would look almost broadcast perfect. All of this is at 352x240 resolution. At 640x480 mpeg-4 would need closer to 400MB to look broadcast quality.
      • divx is even more lossy than earlier compression schemes. The quality is like VHS

        Ah, so you know nothing about DivX eh? Sure, if you have a 100MB DivX file, it is going to be VHS quality, but if you are willing to make the files bigger, you'll have no quality problems at all. If you take a DVD (up to about 2 hours) and encode it so it fills up a CD (ie. 700MB), you will have a DivX file that is only slighty less hi-res than the original DVD... and that is really incredible considering that the DVD is several GBytes, and you are shrinking that to less than 3/4 of a GB.

        There is one advantage of MPEG2 over DivX, and that is because the MPEG4 standard does not allow a resolution as high as MPEG2. While the difference is resolutions is nominal, it means you can't possibly get higher resolutions than DVDs already have, you can only shrink their filesize while maintaing almost identical quality.

        Why the MPEG4 standard is so limited would be a very good question to ask someone in the know. If a MPEG4 codec broke the standard and allowed higher resolutions, there would be good reason to use MPEG4 on a DVD, as you'd have incredibly high resolutions (several orders of magnitude that of current DVDs) in much less space.

        Another question to ask is, why isn't the HDTV standard utilizing MPEG4 instead of MPEG2? If they used MPEG4, you could have just as much quality, in a fraction of the spectrum. Stations wouldn't even have needed more spectrum space to include HDTV, as their current allotment would be more than enough... Changing to a lower frequency would have been a good move however, as it would allow for broadcasts to trave much greater distances.
    • Re:This is useless. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I care to differ.

      VCD suffers from blockiness even at very high bitrates.

      VHS/VCD is only at 2xx*3xx resolution and is not suited for widescreen. Also, the audio in general sucks.

      mpeg4 like divx is much more intelligent and tends to soften/blur the image as opposed to generating blockiness. Which is what the eye prefers.

      I watched some of these recent XViD/DiVX dvd-screener releases in a friends "multimedia room" on a 4m wide screen and a surround with subwoofer and it was _really_ enjoyable. Either you get the original 5.1 DD sound ripped from the DVD or you get a 130+kbit/s LAME VBR mp3 track. Very enjoyable indeed. :))

      It's not as good as the original of course, but at one tenth of the size ...
    • Re:This is useless. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Echnin ( 607099 )
      No. The point about DivX is high resolution without too much loss at small file sizes. I watch DivX all the time on my TV using TV-out. The only details I don't notice are the artifacts, which are usually very visible and distracting on my computer screen.

      As I have loads of CDs with DivX movies, this would be very nice. Unfortunately, it's too expensive because I'm pretty much broke all the time. I assume it also doesn't have the video filters that my computer does, either.

      It says it's MPEG-4 compatible. Does that mean that it plays XviD and WMV too? And does it play DivX 3.11 or just 4-5?
    • Dude, there's no gamma radiation coming out of that TV of yours.
  • DVD player info page (Score:4, Informative)

    by mr.henry ( 618818 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:21AM (#5156757) Journal
    This page [] has a huge database of players and tells you how well they play VCD, SVCD, XSVCD, DVD-R, etc. I used it recently to make sure my new Panasonic could player SVCD's.
  • by deadsaijinx* ( 637410 ) <> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:22AM (#5156759) Homepage
    something tells me that the bighead in the entertainment industry are not gonna like this. They alredy claim that divx piracy is killing them as it is, and now there is an option for those not into computers. I also have to wonder what they are gonna do about it. If they can make it illegal to post information that would allow one to crack ceratin securities, could they ban a set-top divx player?

  • it's flash-able ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by heymjo ( 244283 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:23AM (#5156762)
    the fact that this thing is firmware-updateable makes it extra cool (and warrants it a lifespan of longer than 1y). It does all the common formats + divX , yay !! Now if only someone could tell me why they named this thing "Kiss" ...
    • an ancient acronym (Score:3, Informative)

      by MondoMor ( 262881 )
      Now if only someone could tell me why they named this thing "Kiss" ...

      Keep it Simple, Stupid. A reminder to yourself that what you're building, designing, etc. should be simple and not unnecessarily complex.

      It's probably as old as FUBAR.

      Just think, when our grandkids are psychic-text messenging each other with "OMG STFU FAG", we'll get to explain it to them.
    • Use the QCAST for the PS2... it's even better. Plays all these formats

      It updates its software automatically over the internet.

  • So what exactly are those three little pins mentioned in one of the pictures (sure to be /.'d by now i suppose) They didnt actually explain did they?
    • From their naming, they provide access to write the flash memory (maybe when a cdr flash failed due to power brown out) and to an I2C data memory (which may hold configuration or product serial number).
  • There's more (Score:5, Informative)

    by BusterB ( 10791 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:26AM (#5156780)
    It also supports ogg/vorbis files. Ogg Traffic []
  • subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by Inf0phreak ( 627499 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:27AM (#5156785)
    From what I hear, it doesn't work quite as well as one could hope. First of all, it doesn't support DivX3.11 so all those illegal DVD-rips won't play on it. Second: It doesn't support MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile, so if you encoded your video with Quarter Pixel Motion Estimation or Global Motion Compensation it won't play. And finally, I've heard reports that it doesn't work on MPEG-4 compliant videos encoded with XviD, so I'd say that it is pretty much a piece of crap. And don't forget that its MPEG-4 decoding chip was made by Sigma Designs. The very same company that stole code from XviD. I won't EVER buy anything made by those thieving bastards. And my last gripe: If it isn't region free, then it's worthless.
    • Re:subject (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 )
      "If it isn't region free, then it's worthless"

      You raise an interesting point; one which made me think, and this is what I came up with: Region coding can be handled in two places: the hardware, and the firmware. The firmware of the player can be updated/hacked, just like all my standalone DVD players, so I can play the DVD's I FARKING BOUGHT IN JAPAN you MPAA Frafgd$##%#$% anyways... And since the hardware (the DVD drive) is just a PC DVD drive, you can connect that to your computer and update that as well, if neccesary.

      My two bits on XVID: The whole DiVX frimfram is complex enough for the average user. Thanks to XViD for introducing another codec that to this day, while not groundbreaking, let alone neccesary, is making the video codec situation tricky to deal with.
      • My two bits on XVID: The whole DiVX frimfram is complex enough for the average user. Thanks to XViD for introducing another codec that to this day, while not groundbreaking, let alone neccesary, is making the video codec situation tricky to deal with.

        That is my objection to the file format fiasco. People don't want to leave good enough alone so they'll release yet another incompatible break-away codec with only marginal improvements.

        This does not make for anything resembling long term storage possible because there is no guarantee that any particular file format will still be used a year from now, forget twenty.
        • why can't we all just get along (and use SVCD)? it is a much superior format to divx, it is standard, and i ave never popped in a freshly made SVCD in to a DVD player and have it not work. why are people so hung up w/ divx/xvid?

          and as for the size issue, in this day and age of super mega broadband connections, ~3hrs or less and you are done. what's the big hurry?
      • Re:subject (Score:3, Informative)

        by number ( 309649 )
        What are you talking about? DivX, XviD and ffmpeg are all creating MPEG-4 spec-compliant video streams. As far as the decoder can see, streams created by any of them were created by the same encoder.

        If you don't like the work the XviD team is doing (i.e. a free, open-source implementation of the MPEG-4 video spec), don't use it.
        • As far as the decoder can see, streams created by any of them were created by the same encoder.
          Hm. If it's all the same to the decoder, why did I have to install a codec to get XviD videos to run? Without it, I only got audio and a green screen ... Not that I mind, took me 5 minutes to acquire a compiled version of XviD. (Sorry if the question is dumb -- if it helps, I'm eager to learn. ;))
          • Re:subject (Score:4, Informative)

            by number ( 309649 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @02:14PM (#5157523)
            That is a limitation of the AVI format, which people continue to stuff MPEG-4 video into for reasons unknown. It requires that you write "FourCC" identification codes, and those codes are what determines which codec is required to decompress it.

            XviD will decode AVI files with the FourCC IDs XVID, DIVX or DX50, whereas DivX only decodes its own DIVX/DX50. FFvfw (a VFW port of libavcodec) will decode XVID, XVIX, DIVX, DX50, FVFW and a number of other FourCC codes which all identify video that is purely MPEG-4.

            The MPEG-4 systems format (i.e. *.mp4, just as *.mpg is for MPEG-1/2) is what MPEG-4 video is supposed to reside in, and once you mux an XviD/DivX/ffmpeg MPEG-4 stream into it, the FourCC mess is left behind, and any spec-compliant MPEG-4 decoder (say, Envivio) will be able to decode it.
        • Re:It's all MPEG-4 (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 )
          "What are you talking about? DivX, XviD and ffmpeg are all creating MPEG-4 spec-compliant video streams. As far as the decoder can see, streams created by any of them were created by the same encoder."

          So, honestly wondering, why can't it play DivX 3.x format? Many of my discs are in 3.x, and if there's a way to make them playable on this player, that would be fantastic. Are there any tools that cleanly seperate the MPEG-4 stream from an AVI, which ostensibly should work for all DivXs, including 3.x? Of course, one can convert an AVI to mpeg-4, but that involves dirty decomp-recomp, and that's the LAST ditch option. Anybody?
      • On the remote press
        CLEAR 2 7 6
        it'll bring you into a menu where you can turn off region coding
    • Re:subject (Score:2, Informative)

      by Briareos ( 21163 )

      While I agree with you about the limited usefulness of this device when it doesn't support MP4 ASP (don't give a damn about DivX 3.11...) there's no reason why you couldn't make the drive region free; there's even a page with illustrated step-by-step instructions [] so probably even Joe Sixpack could do it, as long as he owns a PC...

      np: Sabi - A Scene When The Train Leaves (Metamatics - Rewired In My Manor)

  • Already have this. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But its called QCAST []
    And it does much more than Divx
  • DVD, DVD/RW, SVCD, MPEG 4, PictureCD, MP3, and CD RW.

    I begin to get the feeling we'll see hardware decoders supporting AMCF-42* before we get hardware ogg playback...

    * Aunt Marge's Compression Format v. 42
  • by tcdk ( 173945 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:35AM (#5156826) Homepage Journal
    It looks a bit better than an xbox, but other than that it does nothing that an xbox with xbmp [] can't do cheaper.

    My modded xbox with an 120gb hard drive and xbmp has played everything that I've thrown at it (movie wise), including old divx formats that this thing can't handle. Cheaper (Getting MS to subsidize your hardware helps, thanks Bill!).

  • Not the first (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LiENUS ( 207736 ) <> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @11:38AM (#5156835) Homepage
    this isnt the first player that could play divx movies on the tv
    its the first player that supports full resolution the sega dreamcast played divx just fine at 320x240 resolution
    even played 3.xx and xvid []
    • Nobody's saying this is the first device capable of playing DivX movies on a TV. A PC with TV-out could do that long before dcdivx. What's special about the KISS is that it's a standalone DVD player which also plays MPEG4. You can go to a store and buy it, plug it in and play DivX movies off the shelf. That's what it's first at. I don't get your point.
  • If it acttually works... Most people I know (that know WHAT divx is) Don't care if they can play the movies on their PS2, Xbox, or DVD player... They play them on their computers... I have a buddy who /koff backs ups /koff his DVD collection - he rips, compresses with Divx, then puts them onto a VCD, or back onto a DVD - what use does this do him? For that matter, if I can buy a DVD burner for ~$400 USD (from Circuit City, no less) that will brn all formats.... Why do I care if I can play DivX discs - I can 'backup' a DVD just like I would a CD... I think it's too little too late... The only great thing I see this being used for is to fit longer movies on a standard 4.7GB disk, and keep the reselution fairly clean... ;beer;
  • Are the floaters in my eyes getting too big, or did the whole write-up completely fail to give any sort of suggested price for this thing?
  • "Very cool, although it will render my stacks of VCDs obsolete."

    Um, haven't those been obsolete for a few years now? /me sees his 3DO and PSX add-ons to play them

  • Use your PS2 [], or use the QCast Tuner []
  • by tempfile ( 528337 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @01:09PM (#5157220)
    Products like this continue to discourage the creation of and adherance to standards. If it is possible to just slap a .avi file on the disc and have it (hopefully) (somehow) played on the standalone, and other manufacturers stard implementing this (and they will), everything will lead to a horrendous chaos of incompatibilites.

    It will be the same as with mp3 discs: Does player X support mp3s in subdirectories? Yes, but only without id3 tags, while player Y understands Joliet but no subdirectories and no filename may be longer than 12 characters, etc.

    The implementation of "playing .avi files somehow slapped on a disc" is a BAD THING. They didn't even bother to create some sort of standard. This could have been implemented with glorified SVCDs.
    • If it is possible to just slap a .avi file on the disc and have it (hopefully) (somehow) played on the standalone, and other manufacturers stard implementing this (and they will), everything will lead to a horrendous chaos of incompatibilites.

      First, I'd like you to take a stab at the real standard that's being supported: MPEG4 []. Please note: This encompasses DivX (4.x+.. ie, all the legal versions), XviD, .mp4 files, and theoretically Quicktime 6. MPEG4 is bigger than DivX, and I'd say that this is not a fully compaitble DivX player anyway, since it doesn't play the hacked 3.11 version.

      So how the hell is this bad for standards?

  • It runs Linux! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Taurim ( 622805 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @01:11PM (#5157229)
    I have my DP-450 since 1 month.

    First of all, this DVD/DivX player runs Linux kernel 2.4.17.
    If you did not believe me, download the ISO containing the firmware upgrade on the Kiss site :

    Unzip it, mount the ISO, retrieve the romfs.bin file, mount it and check it's content :

    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32 jan 1 1970 bin
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32 jan 1 1970 cdrom
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32 jan 1 1970 dev
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 279064 jan 1 1970 fileplayer.bin
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 7063 jan 1 1970 fipmodule.o
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32 jan 1 1970 img
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 308894 jan 1 1970 khwl.o
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 310850 jan 1 1970 linux.bin.gz
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 114392 jan 1 1970 mpegplayer.bin
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 32 jan 1 1970 proc

    zcat linux.bin.gz | strings | grep Linux
    Linux version 2.4.17-uc0 (kiss@localhost.localdomain) (gcc version 2.95.3 20010315 (release)) #1 Wed Jan 22 15:30:35 CET 2003

    This player works perfectly with any MPEG-4 file. Mencoder (part of MPlayer) with libavcodec creates files compatible with the DP-450.

    The image quality when playing a DivX (on a Sony 32" 16/9 TV) is FAR superior to the quality of the same file played on a PC hooked to the TV. (I made some comparisons with my Linux PC + NVidia GF4200, S-Video + MPlayer and a friends PC running Windoz + WMP + ATI Radeon card + S-Video link)

    I know there is the 3.11 issue but it's really simple to convert films to MPEG4 to make them compatible with the Kiss player.
    • As exciting as this is, this could mean bad things. Are there GPL violations happening?

      I really have to wonder why a company would release a product like this based on Linux rather than a BSD. Either way there is a significant amount of work to create drivers for the device they choose, but with a BSD they never have to worry about the license.

      I love Linux, but if I had to make a device like this with hardware not yet supported by either codebase to sell to consumers, I would choose BSD and save a legal headache down the road.
      • Re:It runs Linux! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Taurim ( 622805 )
        The embedded CPU in the EM8500 chip is a 150 MHz ARM V4 CPU without MMU. The kernel is name linux-2.4.17-uc0. uc is probably for ucLinux.

        uclinux is a modified Linux Kernel for CPU without MMU :

        You can also find busybox in the bin directory, a light implementation of a lot of shell utilities :

        bin/init, mpegplayer and fileplayer seems to be entirely specific to kiss (and probably closed source).
    • Please request the source and begin to distribute it. You don't have to distribute it very far, just make sure it's out there.
    • That is very cool! That means there is no reason (except possibly CPU power) that this player can't work fine forever.

      New video/audio format... cross-compile MPlayer and install it in the firmware.

      Want it to support the new Disc format (eg. DVD+R)... just buy a new IDE drive.

      As soon as I can find someplace to buy one (online or offline) I will.
  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @01:19PM (#5157277)
    With this review, hard to take them seriously. First they say that it is restricted to PAL or NTSC, and that PAL is 720x576 *dpi*. dpi means dots per inch, drop it because it is wrong, unless you have a 1-cubic-inch pal screen, and the i means 'cubic inch'.....

    Then, correctly notes that 1280x720 and 1920x1080 are supported, but the phrasing seems to suggest that it is being scaled to PAL or NTSC, which is wrong. This is a progressive-scan device, and those are HDTV resolutions. They have already on the second page made a *huge* mistake about a fundamental function of the player.

    And of course I love that the DVD-ROM is connected via a DIE cable... he he... I know, a simple typo, but one with amusing connotations.

    On the subject of the player itself... I'm not so sure it will hit it off with the target audience. Most home users don't care that much about DivX, because making them is very difficult and downloading is hard because it requires too much bandwidth, servers don't give away enough hosting space for movies, and the places where DivX movies can be downloaded are rather intimidating to common users (i.e. IRC). People who do work with such formats frequently are aware of the nature of the media that makes them think twice about dedicated hardware purchases. The formats themselves sometimes change in incompatible ways, and also a format's dominance in tenuous at best. Most are also technical enough to realize that for not much more money they can piece together a decent PC with TV out for not much more that will have faster, general purpose processors that can adapt easy to new formats and new delivery mechanisms. This thing only takes Discs, but many people would prefer to use SMB or NFS... If anything changes, a computer is easy to reconfigure, a set-top box... no....
    • hen, correctly notes that 1280x720 and 1920x1080 are supported, but the phrasing seems to suggest that it is being scaled to PAL or NTSC, which is wrong.

      I'm sure it is being scaled - if you are using the composite outputs, which I'm sure they were while testing it. A regular TV is a hell of a lot easier to set up for testing than a big ass widescreen TV.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @01:41PM (#5157369) Homepage
    You gotta wonder, because even for their next-gen, HDTV-capable chips, it still says:

    MPEG-1, MPEG-2 MP@HL and MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile Level 5* video decoding. * without support global motion compensation (GMC)

    Sounds really silly to me to not fully supporting the standard... they're like _this_ close, and you know that many users will have problems with the rips they have *cough* obtained *cough*, because it has the wrong encoding settings. Fair enough that there are other formats on the horizon (mpeg4 AVC, wm10+, realcrap) but GMC is here today, and the mpeg4 ASP profile isn't exactly brand new. Is it that hard to support? Or is there some other reason?

    • Support for full GMC is quite complex (and potentially *extremely* computationally expensive), and I'm guessing that's why support isn't included. QPel is quite simple, it's just a different interpolation filter.

      DivX 5.x doesn't encode with the full range of options that GMC allows however (only uses 1 warping point), and is therefore quite simple to decode. I suppose they could have included that quite easily, but decided to pass on it since it would only be implementing "half a feature."
  • how does this compare to those? Is it not the same compression? A friend had one, and i kind of remember the angle being that you bought a movie for, say $3, and could watch it a lot for maybe 2 weeks, then the player locked it out unless you got an access code to "buy" the movie. The player hooked to a phone line and would charge your account i guess. I remember rental stores having the media, but i guess it never did too well. I remember the concept and business model (sort of) but not the technology inside it. anyone?
  • Just a quick note about the review of the standalone DIVX player... I hope
    he realized when he wrote that article that there exists a DIVX player for
    the Playstation2? This is a real player... no mods, no hacks to perform.
    Just buy the software and play.

    It takes advantage of the Sony network adapter for the PS2. I know a lot of
    people got these for christmas, so there is no additional cost above the
    cost of the software. The system uses a very little cpu consuming program on
    the PC to stream the data to the PS2. The PS2 does the decoding in many
    different formats, and is kept up to date automatically by the PC.

    The best part is that you do not have to burn CD/DVD to get them to play.
    You just stream them right off the PC.

    Check it out...
  • I haven't used DIVX much and the few times that I do, I always need a new codec or something.
    For a hardware device to work properly with DIVX, the "standard" really needs to be "frozen". Do your improvements on the encoder, but please, please settle and choose which audio and video formats to use.
    I can't imagine that the hit rate for files that the player actually can play, will be very high. Can't blame the hardware though, must be one bitch of a job. I am not going to buy a device like that before the new feature/codec race slows down.

    On another note. I know that they also have a model 500(or something) out with a ethernet interface. The firmware does not yet support networking but will in the future. I am looking forward to see how well they manage to implement that. It may also provide a easier way for you to update it and keeping it's DIVX format support current.
  • Most divx movies aren't good quality. As cool as it would be to have a divx player, I prefer vcd since it generally looks better. Overall picture quality with a vcd might be comparible to vhs instead of dvd, but divx movies tend to have horrible artifacting which makes them annoying to watch. The nature of divx compression makes it so that artifacting is a way of life, and that is just unacceptible for me.
    • No, this is simply wrong.

      The divx movies you may download can really suck ass. The same is true of MPEG-1 (the tech behind VCDS). If you get MPEG-1 up to VCD bitrates, the quality becomes 'acceptable', but frequently you are left with blocky artifacts (*especially* when there is Text overlayed on the image encoded with the Video as is the case with credits and subtitles).

      DIVX encoded at the same bitrate as VCDs are really blow VCD away. Much fewer artifacts, text does not distort background, etc. Try breaking out mencoder (or whatever the tool of the day is in Windows today) and making your own samples from DVDs, using the same bitrate for your MPG and DivX output. The results will be crystal clear.

      As an aside, my favorite format is .ogm with MPEG-4 (Whether it be DivX or whatever) video, vorbis audio, and a text stream if subtitles are needed. I really wish this sort of format would become more prominent.
    • That is not correct.

      VCDs like DivX are both based on MPEG compression. VCDs are fixed at a CBR of 1150kbs at 352x240. DivX is more flexible and you can see a variety of resolutions, bit rates, and audio codecs (and bit-rates) used. This means that there can be a wide range in the quality.

      Assuming someone has done a decent job encoding, a DivX movie of the same size will look tremendously better than a VCD.

      Is it surprising that a newer codec that represents who-knows-how-many man-months of effort has managed to improve on MPEG1? I hope not...
    • I'll fess up: I only download group DVD releases. Those releases are actually held up to certain standards that define acceptible levels of compression, resolution, etc. I rarely get a movie where the quality is *anywhere* near VHS, it's usually equal to DVD or just shy.
  • I'd rather not get into flipping disks to watch movies now that I'm on TiVo and Audiotron for other entertainment, so their DP-500 model with ethernet jack is more interesting: as p

    I wonder how DivX quality compares to progressive scan DVDs.

  • I think that the Xboxmediaplayer ( project for the Xbox is a much smarter implementation.

    DivX is releasing new versions of their codecs that have new features. Unless a hardware player has some very easy way to update it's software (i.e. a network port and a TCP/IP stack, etc), it can easily become outdated.

    While mod'ing an X-box may currently be too scary for most people (BTW -- it can now be done w/o having to make a single solder connection), for geeks at least (and lets face it -- who else wants a DivX DVD player), an Xbox (or for the very enterprising a home built computer in a small case) is probably the best bet.

    My Xbox BTW will play almost all formats and stream them over the network from my SMB file shares.
  • 1. Component video Out.
    2. Some ability to access networked content, perhaps by supporting a few low-priced USB wired & wireless ethernet adapters. It seems that the main market for this is geeks and this geek doesn't want to burn a bunch of disks just to watch stuff on TV.

    If I did, I'd be watching stuff on my 27" TV rather than my 19" monitor.

  • Look at the pictures of the latest Kiss DP-500, similar to DP-450 but with 10/100 Ethernet :
    ht tp://
  • by jfisherwa ( 323744 ) <jason.fisher@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:13PM (#5158384) Homepage
    As has been pointed out, this thing does run Linux.. It also has a REALmagic EM8500 onboard.

    And that the DVD-ROM is connected via the IDE port?

    I would put my money that the set of pins on the side of the board are for a standard PC/104 riser card (i.e. ethernet) -- not to mention the serial port that is internal to the box.

    *THIS* is a perfect starting point for the "Linux Media Center." Why not add ethernet.. and another HD?

    Unless it does this already (I didn't read the review, I hate Tom. I just look at pretty pictures.) - This thing is just waiting for transcode and some other software to be scripted together--stick a normal DVD in the drive, press a button on your remote control--bingo. DVD -> DIVX, stored on the internal HD, accessible via the network.

    I would love a box like this with a HD added, connected to a P2P network. Search, download, right to the box. Oh, and replace DVD-ROM with DVD-RW; all of my friends will want copies of the movies I've stolen--or purchased if the MPAA gets their shit together. :P []
  • Note that this player is powered by the Sigma Designs EM8500 chip.

    Apart from the issue some people may have with SD (They were the ones who stole some Open Source code from the XVid project), this is the same chip that powers this company's XCard DVD/DivX PC-card.

    I own one of these XCards and have basically given up on using it for DivX playback. It's works great for DVD, and the image quality is much better than their older Hollywood Plus, but DivX playback is just terrible.

    Among other issues, the the XCard does not support DivX 3.11 and some advanced features from DivX 5. More seriously, even a theoretically compatible DivX movie is often unwatchable because of Jerky playback. This is partly due to poor support for VBR audio, but there also seems to be an issue with the frame-rate: It seems to use 30 fps, instead of 29.970. Small difference, but enough to be clearly noticable. Oh, and did I mention their software is quite buggy and unstable (Yes, this includes the driver)?

    In short, this is potentially a nice product, but definitely something I want to have reviewed THOROUGHLY, using a lot of different movies and encodings, before I trust it.

  • Does anybody remember when DivX was the "alternative format" for DVDs? The players were supposed to only allow people to play the movies if they paid to have the keys?

    That form of DivX was, I think, the first real attempt the industry made towards DRM, though it's horrible failure caused it to die a welcomed death. If this current day DivX is based on the same format, I find it a sweet irony that it's now the format of choice for those who trade video (notice I didn't say people who pirate, even though they love this format, too).
  • by KlausBreuer ( 105581 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @09:15PM (#5159482) Homepage
    Well, in November 2002 I wanted to buy one of these things for my parents. Thus I spent a lot of time finding data on this KISS player.

    After a lot of back and forth, I decided not to buy it for the following reasons:

    * Price. In Germany, this thing costs about $400. That's harsh, especially compared to the bone-standard DVD player I bought in the end for $88.

    * It doesn't play Advanced DivX (Quarter Pixel, GMC). While I can do without GMC (it looks weird in places), I use QP all the time.

    * The FAQ clearly stated that you will never, ever, be able to disable the region code and the Macrovision 'protection'. I can live with the region code limitation (while grinding my teeth), but my parents TV cannot handle this Macrovision nonsense (and no, we won't buy a new TV just for DVDs).
    While I can buy a hardware scrubber for the Macrovision, it would have put be back another $60.

    * The button design on the box itself is simply lousy. All buttons are in a neat row and look quite identical. Good luck using it in the half-dark.

    I'm now fiddling with putting together a Linux PC in a tiny case, which will play whatever I put into the DVD drive. I'm still looking for a *quiet* case, though...

  • You mean, the first DivX player other than the Archos MP3 player. The new version has a color LCD screen and video out, and can play DivX to a TV. The Archos is in major retailers now; a guy at work has one though I haven't played with it yet.
  • will render my stacks of VCDs obsolete...

    I think most of us were hoping for and counting on this being the case at some point anyway. As convenient as VCDs have been, it has been obvious that they are only a short-term solution while better technologies are being developed.... as... is... everything else.