Beginning in 2003, DivX® partnered with the world’s leading chip manufacturers and CE companies to build support for DivX playback into a wide variety of devices, from mobile phones to DVD players to gaming consoles. With the DivX Certification® program, the company helped pave the road from the PC to the living room, making it easy and convenient for users to watch their favorite Internet videos on their favorite devices.
As the video technology world evolved and streaming services like Netflix, HBO NOW, Hulu and others became household names, the entertainment industry began to experiment with video streaming like they never had before. At the same time, the Blu-ray DVD experience provided a level of visual quality and interactivity that streaming couldn’t offer, limiting the appeal of streaming services to both Hollywood and consumers. A clear need had emerged for a technology solution that would bring the same kind of high-definition quality, interactivity and reliability that consumers expected from physical media to the streaming experience.
In 2011, the DivX technology team, always at the forefront of emerging video trends, began to work on a streaming video solution that could offer a truly immersive entertainment experience. Thanks to years of working with IC companies, CE manufacturers and content companies, the DivX team understood the complexities and nuances of designing, testing and implementing this kind of end-to-end solution.
After much research and development, the DivX team designed a secure streaming solution that would offer the following cutting-edge features:
- Secure Adaptive Streaming: The earliest streaming technologies used a technique called “progressive streaming” which, simply put, would stream one video file over the Internet for playback on any device. This was generally fine for standard definition content, but progressive streaming ran into quality and performance issues at higher quality levels on different kinds of devices or at different bandwidths. Adaptive streaming, on the other hand, allowed providers to essentially create distinct video files, targeted to different device capabilities and bandwidths, so a device could “adapt” to changing network conditions as the video streamed. This paradigm ensured exactly the right level of quality and performance.
- True 1080p High Definition Support: Streaming video often claimed to be “HD” quality while delivering 720p video instead of the higher-quality 1080p. The DivX adaptive streaming solution would fully scale up to 1080p.
- Subtitles and Multiple Language Tracks: One of the key selling points of physical DVDs was the ability to easily switch among multiple language tracks or turn on subtitles. Most streaming solutions at the time were limited in this area, but DivX Plus Streaming® would provide the full DVD-like language experience.
- Trick-play Features: The other checkbox feature on any Blu-ray DVD was the ability to pause, rewind, fast-forward and quickly resume playback. While those features are now taken for granted on the plethora of streaming services that crowd every TV screen, in 2011 the streaming playback experience was far more limited. DivX Plus Steaming introduced ‘trick-play features’ to help change that.
Video promoting the release of DivX Plus Streaming
DivX Plus Streaming was first unveiled to the world on September 1, 2011 at the large IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany. “We developed DivX Plus Streaming as a way to address the limitations of existing digital streaming solutions on the market and to elevate the over-the-top entertainment experience for consumers,” said Matt Milne, executive vice president worldwide sales and marketing at Rovi Corporation, which was the parent company of DivX at the time.
The DivX team quickly began the work of getting the technology in the hands of the many partners necessary to bring the complete solution to market. In short order, DivX announced a slew of partnerships with Integrated Circuit manufacturers, the first link the in chain. Leading chip companies such as Broadcom, MStar, Panasonic and others signed on and began the work of porting DivX Plus Streaming technology to their chipsets. As Stuart Thomson, senior director of product marketing for Broadcom said at the time, “…by supporting the very latest in DivX Plus Streaming capabilities, Broadcom continues to deliver the next-generation in digital living – enabling users to easily download, stream and enjoy content virtually anywhere, anytime.”
Next, the manufacturers who created the consumer electronics devices sold at retail stores around the world began to sign on. Toshiba and Hisense, leaders in the market, were among the first to jump on board.
Of course, DivX could sign up all the IC makers and CE companies in the world, but the last piece of the puzzle was bringing on content companies. In a major achievement, DivX Plus Streaming was approved and adopted by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), a consortium of major film studios and technology companies tasked with creating a standard set of rules that would govern the digital distribution of content to various devices that became known as “Ultraviolet” (sadly, not a reference to the 2006 action film). DivX Plus Streaming passed the strict Digital Rights Management (DRM) requirements of the DECE, reassuring content companies that the solution was secure enough to adopt without fear of piracy. Video-on-demand providers like Hubee and Media Markt in Germany soon signed on, and DivX Plus Streaming became a standard for the highest-quality streaming experience.
By pioneering a new kind of streaming experience that rivaled Blu-ray DVDs in quality and feature-set, DivX Plus Streaming helped open the door for the streaming revolution. Almost a decade later we take for granted the many technological innovations that DivX Plus Streaming introduced, as DivX continues to innovate and bring cutting-edge video technology solutions to consumers around the world.