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Mountain-Online guide to Divx.

Although frowned upon by much of the industries involved, Peer2Peer networks such as Napster, Kazaa and WinMX are growing with unstoppable speed. If your have taken this route to preview your choice of music and video you may have also found out how difficult it can be to get the right codecs etc to play them. Although i confess to being no expert I have found some tips on how to overcome some of the obstacles.

P2P

At this point I must put in some sort of disclaimer to say that downloading copyright media content through the internet without express permission by the owner is Illegal. But downloading media without copyright is fine so go to www.winmx.com and www.k-lite.tk to download latest versions of these P2P giants. However there are some accompanying programs that will help you in your quest. For Kazaa search for the PTrack client and use it to speed up downloads and other stuff. For WinMX get MXMonitor to help with automatic trading and monitoring of fellow sharers. You may have to search for this as it seems to drop of the net occasionally but it is there somewhere.

Lastly there are a couple of places where very naughty people list all the movies they have downloaded and how to download the exact same copies they have. For WinMX go to MXMovies and for Kazaa go to VerifiedDownloads. Both pages have full instructions on how download you favorite film.

Video

To demystify the following slightly we should quickly discuss why your films are not working; CODECS. A codec is like a translator to enable your computer to understand the video code. Divx is the MP3 of the video world and so uses various processes to cut out information not vital to the viewing of the film. The various processes used are not important but the computer must know how the video was made in order to understand how to play the film. These processes are Codecs and they must be installed in order to watch you movies.

Firstly go to www.divx-digest.com your one-stop guide to pretty much everything. From here you can find out about encoding and decoding your divx videos but I can hopefully simplify the process. Go to the software section and follow the links to download the Tsunami Codec Pack, the Xvid codec and the FFDSHOW pack. If given the choice download the latest release without it being a BETA release.

Once downloaded to your local machine run the Tsunami Codec Pack. Choose the Basic install and follow the prompts. Once this has finished run the Xvid codec install. This combination should be enough to satisfy most of your video needs, however I have recently found some videos needing a little extra. This is taken care of by the FFDSHOW codec pack. Do not install straight away but if your films are playing but seem blurred and discolored run the FFDSHOW and accept the default install.

If this combination still does not satisfy your computers need for codecs and videos will still not play try this to locate you missing codec. Click on Start, Run and type MPLAY32.exe. Click on File, OPen and browse to your troublesome film. Once the player has decided it cannot play it, it will give you an error code followed by something like this VIDS:DX50. The codec you need is represented by the DX50 which stands for Divx version 5. The DX50 is called a FourCC code and this is your missing codec. For a complete list of FourCC codes go to www.fourcc.org. Once you have the missing codec name go to Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. Locate you Tsunami install and click Change/Remove. ONce opened you will be provided with a Modify option. Click this and search the list of codecs given for your missing codec. Tick it and proceed. If it is not listed you will have to find it from divx-digest or just search through www.google.com.

Audio

This is a nice easy one. As most of the audio codecs you need are a few years old you will find that the most common are installed by default in WinXP. Those that aren't will come in the Tsunami codec pack or can be downloaded as needed by Windows Media Player. To ensure this is happening open Windows Media PLayer, go to Tools, Options and check the first page for the Download Codecs Automatically, it must be ticked. Sorted.

Media Players

Windows media player is a VERY GOOD media player despite people constantly winging about it. Get the latest version from Microsoft. If you do however believe the hype and are paranoid about the claims WMP send personal information back to everyone's mate BGates try WinAmp or MusicMatch for your audio and BSPlayer or one of the commercially available DVD players for your video needs.

Mountain-Online's Final Thought

I hate to say it but these are troubled times for P2P fans. The Royal Industry Association of America are at present deploying there new P2P scanning software to catch people with "substantial," amounts of music being shared from their personal computer. See here for more details. Now at the time I am writing this there are 3.2 million people connected to the Kazaa network and probably about half that number connected to WinMX so the chances of small users getting caught is minimal. However, never say never, keep an eye on your P2P software's homepage for updated versions because if you have followed the battles of recent years between Napster, Morpheus and others, and the "Industries," offended by these products, you'll have noticed that rarely do they go down without a fight. Expect to see versions blocking RIAA scanners and also new networks popping up with new ways of alluding there would be captors.

I fought the law and the .................................................


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