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COVID, Coding & Collaborating

By Francis Chan

On March 16, 2020, three days into a seven-day Belize vacation, I found myself canceling and rebooking flights as part of a hasty return to California due to the rising case numbers from COVID-19 and uncertainty in the global travel situation. My wife and I COVID-19landed back home on March 17 to a “shelter in place order” as California, like many states, attempted to control the spread of coronavirus. We made it under the wire – just five days later, Belize closed its airport to travel. Now, unexpectedly forced home, I found myself not just adjusting to life sheltering in place, but working and managing a team of engineers 100% remotely with little time to prepare.

It is an understatement to say that the pandemic has been a challenge for many organizations. At DivX, we’re fortunate to have a nimble team and the kind of work that allows us to successfully work remotely. Our team of engineers is spread across San Diego and everyone is dealing with the new challenges of working from home. But we’ve adopted a new way of operating by setting up new rituals. 

Working from homeThe most effective ritual we adapted was our daily standup (part of the Agile process). Instead of herding together in the office, the DivX product team now gathers in a Google Meet room. We have two daily standups which allow the staff to bracket the day with two places of communication; basically a “good morning” and a “good night”. We quickly learned these “standups” provided us more than just a chance to update each other on our work progress — it also became a valuable time to connect and check in on all aspects of life.

Sometimes our twice-daily meetings feel like not enough interaction, and other days we are flooded with ad hoc meetings meant to replicate spontaneous meetings on the engineering floor. I’ve learned that the remote environment can easily lead to a day of interrupted workflow, with virtual meetings after virtual meetings. Now, I try to stack meetings on certain days to allow other days to have enough time to focus on deep work.

During this challenging time, I’ve found that each member of the team has different experiences and has developed their own ways to cope. Our personal ability to find a routine affects the way we work and how to interact. It’s important that DivX team members are honest and transparent about how they’re doing, even when it’s not great, so our team can work together to find solutions to accommodate each person’s experiences.

While engineers like to solve Working from homeconcrete problems, the problem of adapting a workforce to a pandemic is much more esoteric. It isn’t one of solving algorithms, tracking down defects, or defining new designs. This time, we must find solutions to adjust our personal and professional lives in a world altered from a pandemic. As engineers, it’s important to fall back on the analytical skills we’ve learned to develop solutions.

DivX has never been a remote workforce, but for now, we are. COVID-19 has tested our trust, resilience, and teamwork. These past months have taught us that we can work from home effectively and successfully. In the process, we have refined how we interact, improved our communications, and implemented new processes to guide our days. We know we need to over-communicate. We need to be honest and transparent about our personal struggles. We need to be proactive about how to care for the people we work with. We’ve adapted our homes, our commutes, and our schedules to a manner of work that may never fully revert to the pre-pandemic days.

A long time ago, the question we would often ask is “What would DivX do?” Fast forward to today, nothing has really changed for me at DivX. I find this same question continues to serve me well, as we continue to find our way to adapt, learn, and thrive in a changing world.

Working from home

How the Original “DivX ;-)” Guides Us Today

Next year, DivX® will celebrate 20 years of creating video technology. While we’re still hard at work on some new and exciting innovations, this looming milestone has us reflecting on our past and the wild ride of nearly two decades in the tech industry. There have been impressive accomplishments (Over 1 billion software downloads! Live 4K streaming! A billion DivX Certified® devices worldwide! Occasional blog posts!) and interesting twists and turns along the way (multiple acquisitions, massive shifts in how we consume media). Even as the industry changed and our role shifted, we’ve always remained true to our original mission: to create a better media future.

The original mission, and the story of how DivX came to be, is an interesting one. Instead of a garage in Silicon Valley, the DivX story began in an apartment in Montpelier, France when Jerome “Gej” Rota created “DivX ;-)”, so he could better share his video creations online. The name was a dig at Circuit City’s DIVX (Digital Video Express) product that sold proprietary DVDs that could only be played on DIVX players and would expire after 48 hours. (Here’s a great TV ad for this failed product.)

DivX (the company) was formed soon after, as a collaboration between Rota and Jordan Greenhall, a former MP3.com executive based in San Diego, and three other founders. DivX quickly developed a codec that offered DVD-like visual quality with great compression and became an immediate internet phenomenon.


Long story short, after many versions of the DivX codec and adoption around the world, the company they formed continues to be guided by the initial desire to create a better video experience. Through many different products and years of innovation, this same desire drives us to create products today with the optimism and enthusiasm the team felt nearly 20 years ago.

Whether you’re a DivX user from when it was called “DivX ;-)” or downloaded the software for the first time this week, thank you for being a part of this journey and for helping us create a better media future. (And stay tuned … more to come soon!)

Still striving for a better media future…

New Year: New and Improved DivX

It’s been an eventful year for DivX! We’re excited to round out 2018 with an update to our software (version 10.8.7 is now live) and the launch of a new website.

After DivX® became independent again this year, we had a lot of work to establish ourselves as a standalone company. Fortunately, we’ve wrapped up the behind-the-scenes work and are ready to move forward. The first step is the release of a new version of our free software.

The launch of DivX 10.8.7 brings you a smoother, better operating software suite. Play a variety of video formats up to 4K in DivX Player, cast video from your computer to your TV with the media server within Player, or drag and drop video files onto DivX Converter to convert video to play on your computer, phone, tablet or device. (Check the version history for specifics on what’s new.) You can download the free version and start using DivX 10.8.7 today. Plus, if you want the best possible experience, get DivX Pro® to make the most of your video. Learn more about why it’s worth it to buy DivX Pro.

We’re also happy to announce that we’ve redesigned our website. In addition to a new design, we tried to streamline information to make the site easier to use and more valuable to our visitors. Check it out and see for yourself. You can find out information about DivX Software, learn about the features of DivX Pro, search for DivX Certified® devices or get your Support questions answered. If you have any specific feedback, please let us know.

As we start a new year, we’re excited about what comes next. Thanks for being a part of our history as well as our future.

Happy holidays and happy new year!
-The DivX Team

Converting Vacation Videos

Your summer vacation is over, your sunburn has (mostly) healed and you’ve got tons of video clips of your trip. How can DivX help? First off all, try gently rubbing aloe vera on the sunburn. Secondly, let us help you make your videos more manageable to preserve and share your memories.

Drag and Drop
To convert files, you can simply drag the files you want to convert onto DivX® Converter. Choose which profile you want from the dropdown menu (there are new profiles specifically for PlayStation) and click “Start”. Hopefully it’s as easy as I just made it sound. If not, don’t hesitate to check out our Support articles or contact our Support Team.

Combine Multiple Clips
With the free DivX Converter, you easily combine multiple videos into one, single file. In addition to compressing your video to help you save space (video files can get pretty massive), if the files are from the same source – say your phone or video camera – you can check the box for the cleverly named “Combine all videos into one file”. Drag all the videos of people jumping into the pool to make one pool-jumping-montage video. Read more about combining files.

Custom Settings
Another free feature of DivX Converter is to choose custom settings before you convert your file. You can limit file size, create a custom resolution and more. One feature that may be particularly useful is the ability to rotate or flip a video. If your videos are showing up sideways (likely from your phone), you can correct them by simply checking a box. Additionally, if you have a series of files like this, you can create a preset that rotates your video by selecting the “Save Preset” button. This new profile will show up in your list of profiles and you can easily bulk convert videos to correct their orientation. Read more about custom presets.

Make your memories easy to enjoy. Use DivX tools to convert videos, combine multiple clips and to share them with friends and family. Also, don’t forget to use sunscreen.

Ideas to Blow Our Minds

DivX has always been focused on creating a better entertainment experience. For nearly 20 years we’ve been using technology to provide users high-quality video playback and the freedom to enjoy media anywhere. We’re still working on new ideas and wanted ask you – the DivX community – for suggestions on how we can make your digital life better.

  • What ideas do you have to improve DivX Software?
  • What are your pain points when watching content across devices?
  • What digital video/audio problem could we help solve that would make your life easier?

If you’ve got some thoughts, we’d love to hear them. Please post any ideas in our Forums. Who knows, maybe your idea will be something we can execute on and change how people use digital media.
Thanks for blowing our minds!
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DivX Mobile App Update

Legacy DivX Mobile Update:

As we look forward to new, innovative products, we’ve decided to discontinue work on the DivX Mobile App. The app will no longer be available after April 13, 2018. You can continue to use the app without interruption, as long as it has already been installed on your device.

DivX remains focused on helping people around the world enjoy digital media across all their favorite devices. We don’t believe that the DivX Mobile App was the best way to accomplish that. There were significant costs associated with the app, and frankly, it wasn’t as popular as we’d hoped. We know this will be frustrating for some users — we wish we could continue to work on and improve the DivX Mobile App — but we made a decision to refocus our business on new, better products. We apologize for any issues this causes for users.

We will continue to offer our desktop software (the free software includes the ability to cast video, along with video playback and conversion), which you can download from divx.com.

Our focus remains on empowering users to enjoy media on your terms. There are exciting plans for DivX and we can’t wait to share them with you. We hope that our new products make an even bigger impact on you and how you enjoy our technology.

Thank you,
-The DivX Team

Please check the Support FAQ for more information on DivX Mobile Support.

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Cheers to New Beginnings

It’s an exciting time at DivX Headquarters and we wanted to share the news. I know the business side of DivX isn’t something you think about regularly (… or is it?), and what matters to you is how DivX technology helps you enjoy your media. Over the years, DivX has been a part of several companies (Sonic, Rovi, NeuLion), but we’re now back on our own again! If you’re interested in more details, here’s the recent press release. In a nutshell, DivX now runs independently with support from the private equity firm Fortress (imposing name, but impressive company).

Why is this good news? This means that DivX can focus on what helped us reach over 1 billion software downloads – making great products that allow our users to enjoy media on their own terms. New products and major changes don’t happen overnight, but we’re excited about this next chapter for DivX.

We think it’s going to be an amazing new beginning and we truly appreciate you sticking with us. Whether you’ve been using DivX technology since you, … um, “stumbled upon” a DivX video file in 2000 or whether you discovered DivX this week to help you convert a file, we will continue to work hard to create innovative technology for our users around the world.

Stay tuned, more good news to come…

And cheers to new beginnings!

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DivX Software 10.8.6 Released!

It’s safe to say that I’ve yet to meet anyone who adores getting notifications to update their software (to be fair, I rarely bring it up in conversation). You know this, I know this … updating software is a pain. It’s intrusive. It’s annoying. So why keep interrupting loyal users with a notification of a new version of DivX® Software?

The reality is that we’re always working on improving the software. Engineers are adding in new features, fixing bugs or making sure everything is stable and running the way it’s supposed to run. When we’ve reached a point where we have a new, viable version of the software, we want to get it out to our users’ to ensure they have the latest and greatest experience from DivX.

So what’s interesting about the release of 10.8.6? You can see a complete list of the updates here, but below are some highlights from this version:

  • DivX Converter has included profiles designed for PlayStation® 3, PlayStation® 4 and PlayStation® 4 Pro, including 4K AVC playback. This means you can simply select this new profile in the DivX Converter menu and you’ll know that the file you convert will work on your PlayStation device.
  • DivX Converter also has a new HEVC encoding profile for full 4K called “HEVC Native 4K”. This video profile is often called “Cinematic 4K” as it’s slightly wider with a 17:9 aspect ratio (4096×2160) compared to 16:9 in traditional 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160). This means any content created in cinematic 4K (you can view or record in this profile in many products including cameras, monitors, and even an older GoPro camera) can be encoded in 120fps to preserve the original 17:9 aspect ratio or it can be converted down to match, for example, your TV or projector’s resolution.
  • DivX Player now has the ability to display right-to-left scripting subtitles as well as double-byte characters. This means you can now view subtitles in languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and more.
  • DivX Media Server supports streaming to PS3, PS4 and PS4 Pro in original formats. This means you can cast video from your computer straight to your TV through your PlayStation device.
  • DivX Converter provides better control over framerate normalization. This means … well, this means … um. I’m not sure what this means. But you better believe it’s going to give you more control of your framerate normalization … which is good … or so I hear.

We use the software just like you – and we also know it’s not always a treat to get frequent updates. However, with constant updates and improvements, we want to give DivX users the best possible experience to enjoy their videos. To get the latest free DivX Software, simply download it from divx.com. Want to learn more about the advantages of purchasing DivX Pro®?

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Star Wars Memories

There aren’t many movies that truly define a generation. Perhaps ‘Easy Rider’, ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Do the Right Thing’, or maybe ‘Fight Club’ fit the bill for some. For me, it’s an easy choice: ‘Star Wars’. With ‘Star Wars’ back in the news for the release of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ (although it’s never really been “out” of the news for the past 40 years), it stirred up some old memories of a movie opening, a long time ago in a galaxy very, very near (well … this galaxy).

The year was 1977 and, at four years old, I was probably too young to see this movie. However, my older brother and my Dad were excited to see what the hype around Star Wars was all about, so I was all in. Besides, I’d likely get some candy or popcorn, so it was a win-win. We went to the biggest screen in town to make the most of this new science fiction movie. Growing up in San Diego, a rainy day is a rare occurrence, but on this day it poured. We waited in the longest movie line I’ve ever experienced to this day. The people in line were wrapped around the theater … in the rain … in San Diego.

Needless to say, it was amazing. The story! The high-tech graphics and explosions! The Chewbacca! I loved it all. That Christmas, and the next seven or eight, were focused on getting Star Wars products. My brother and I mainly collected the action figures. From the main characters like Luke and Han to more obscure ones like Greedo, “Peanut Butter Man” (as we called him … apparently his name was “Hammerhead”) or the aptly named “Walrus Man”. Much of my childhood was spent creating elaborate stories around the figures and watching good triumph over the dark side.

Whether on not the movies were expertly written (perhaps not) or perfectly executed (hmmm, maybe?), they were fun, thrilling and a common thread that my brother, my Dad and I could all agree on. Families can be complicated and having something fun to experience together is beautiful. So it’s been fun to share this same love of the familiar characters with my son. A lot has changed (including my willingness to wait for a movie in the rain), but my fond memories of being a four-year old amazed by another world remain.

The author’s R2-D2 action figure from 1977 and his son’s from 2010-ish.

The author’s son first viewing of the original ‘Star Wars’.

Of course my son’s first introduction to Star Wars was The Clone Wars, which has Annakin Skywalker as the hero. Needless to say, there were no parenting books to prepare me for breaking the bad news to him. But that’s a story for another day.
That’s my Star Wars memory … what’s yours? Please share!

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