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DivX Eyes HD

The consumer HD experience continues to move ahead in fits and starts with new ancillary products like Blu-ray and HD-DVD extending viewing options beyond broadcast and cable TV signals.

This week consumers have yet another option: DivX has certified the Oppo Digital DV-970HD universal DVD player. That also means there’s another potential competitor for the two new HD formats.

“The DV-970HD is not really competitive with Blu-ray or HD-DVD, as these two formats have superior picture quality,” says National Plain, OPPO’s technical support and marketing manager. “However, in terms of feature set, media compatibility, and digital video transferring, the DV-970HD is competitive to these two formats.”

One way it will compete is via its upconversion technology that internally groups pixels together to form new pixel groups, thereby increasing the resolution of the original source. “Depending on the HD display the internal scaling technology can either be great or extremely poor, increasing instances of noise, dithering, false contouring, loss of resolution, and interlacing artifacts,” adds Plain. By relying on its own scaler the DV-970HD can deliver higher-quality pictures to an HD set no matter how good or bad its internal scaler.

But for consumers it’s the DivX certification that excites. In recent years the DivX format has gained notice for its ability to compress digital video in a fraction of the bandwidth required of standard digital signals. It’s been particularly popular with PC users as they can rip DVDs and store them on personal computers.

“With a DivX Certified consumer electronics device, like one of the players from OPPO, a user is able to take a video off of their PC and play it on their TV in the living room without conversion or expensive media adaptors,” says Bruce Lidl, DivX spokesman. “DivX video can be in very low resolution, or it can be in very high resolution as it scales up to 1080p quite easily. “

With respect to the two new formats Lidl says DivX chose not to participate in the standards deliberations.“But we presently work with all the major DVD manufacturers and expect the next generation players, as they become more popularly accepted, to also have DivX certification,” he says.