updated 01:50 pm EST, Fri March 12, 2004
Video Codec Shootout
ExtremeTech's evaluates four different video codecs for home use, including DivX, Windows Media Video 9, QuickTime 6.5/Sorenson 3, and QuickTime 6.5/MPEG-4: "We give the nod to both DivX 5.1.1 and WMV9 -- it all depends on your priorities. If you're going to stick to computers as playback devices, the faster speed of DivX is welcome. If you want to play your stuff on the PDAs, portable video players, and DVD players coming out later this year and beyond, WMV9 has broader industry support and is worth the extra encoding time. Both codecs delivered quite impressive image quality."
"QuickTime 6.5 faired reasonably well when using the common Sorenson3 codec, only really breaking down in certain high-motion scenes. It's also the fastest-compressing codec of the four tested here. The same cannot be said of Apple's MPEG-4 implementation, however, which is absolutely awful. It shows plenty of artifacts even in relatively easy, low-motion scenes, and turns into a mess of blocks when the action gets even the least bit intense. These blocky artifacts are sometimes exaggerated in still shots, but in the case of our MPEG-4 clips, it looked just as bad in motion. This is not to say that all MPEG-4 will look this bad, but there are precious few free or cheap (sub-$50) programs that offer it at this time."