OpenDivX is an "open" version of the DivX ;-) digital video codec. Also known as DivX 4.x.

While the original DivX ;-) was just a hex-edited version of Microsoft's MPEG-4 codec, OpenDivX is a complete stand-alone codec written from scratch.

The FOURCC appears to be "DIVX" (while old Microsoft codec video clips have code "DIV3").

This has some advantages over the "old" DivX ;-):

  • Better picture quality. (Some people have reported that videos that were pain to encode properly in the original DivX ;-) were much better in OpenDivX.)
  • It's legal. No Microsoft code is involved.
  • There are versions for non-Microsoft platforms (Linux, for example). Yep, mplayer plays OpenDivX stuff without help from Windows DLLs.
  • They're trying to adhere to the most recent MPEG-4 standards. (Microsoft codec was released before the MPEG-4 standard was frozen, thus it's incompatible with other MPEG-4 implementations.)

The codec is part of Project Mayo ( For a good "newbie" site, see

However, OpenDivX is not the "Open Video Codec", because while MPEG-4 is an "open" standard, it is, like all previous MPEG standards, patent-encumbered. I'm waiting for Ogg Tarkin myself, but for time being, I think I'll still stick to VCD-compliant MPEG-1 though...

Update: DivXNetworks (the corporate spin-off of Project Mayo) no longer develops the open-source version - new, optimized Windows codecs are called just DivX 4.x (without the smiley) and are closed-source. Tarkin, where art thou?
Yet another update: While the OpenDivX is down, the code is being further developed - by the XviD team, and I heard not badly either.

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