Do You Remember This Tech? - DIVX

In 1998, Circuit City and a few firms joined together to create what they believed was the future alternative to renting movies. Just over a year later, it was discontinued.

The DIVX (Digital Video Express) format touted by Circuit City lasted only a year, falling in favor of the traditional DVD (Digital Video Disc) format.

In 1998, Circuit City and a few firms joined together to create what they believed was the future alternative to renting movies. Just over a year later, it was discontinued.

In 1998, DVD (Digital Video Disc) was only three years old, and many were still using VHS. An alternative to old-fashioned video rental came out in the form of DIVX (Digital Video Express).

For a minimal fee, a customer could purchase a disc which was only playable on a certain type of DIVX player. After 48 hours, the disc would expire unless renewed for an additional fee.

Special encryption techniques and communication over phone line were used to enforce these restrictions.

Circuit City was the main backer of the DIVX format, but the discs and players were also sold in a handful of other retailers.

Other retailers touted the growing DVD format as competition, and fledgling Internet forums and message boards communicated their opposition to the format.

Over 400 titles were released on the format, such as A Bug's Life, Goldeneye, and Star Trek: Generations.

By mid-1999, the DIVX format was officially discontinued. The program was officially cut off two years later, rendering the discs useless due to lack of communications to enforce and transmit rental information.

DVD became the standard over the next few years and Circuit City closed its last retail store in 2009.


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