Quality – DivX vs Xvid

DivX and Xvid are competing MPEG4 compression formats. While DivX is arguably the more popular of the two, many gurus claim that Xvid offers quality improvements when compared to DivX. Curious, I decided to convert a movie using FairUseWizard and see for myself what the difference was. I chose six different scenes and attempted to take a screenshot at exactly the same point for comparision. Below are the results.

DivX DivX1Xvid1Xvid

DivXDivX2Xvid2Xvid

DivXDivX3Xvid3Xvid

DivXDivX4Xvid4Xvid

DivXDivX5 Xvid5Xvid

As you can see, neither comes out way ahead. I notice the biggest difference on the shot where the light is shining on his chest armor, and even then, I have to pay close attention to the detail to notice anything. Whether I would notice that at 30 frames per second might be another story.

I would say it all boils down to compatiblity. If DivX is actually more widely supported, then that’s the one I’d recommend. If all players that played DivX also played Xvid, I’d go with whatever one produced the smaller files given the extremely minor differences in quality.

56 Comments

  1. GanjaManja said,

    July 15, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    It looks like Xvid is slightly more grainy, but appears to more faithfully reproduce the original image, while DivX avoids the pixellation by washing out large areas if they’re of similar colors (see the background pillars in pic #3). Thus DivX looks smoother, but Xvid keeps more of the original image.

    Also, the compression parameters would be useful to know.
    Much larger screenshots (like 1080 px) would also be helpful.

    Thanks for posting, it’s very useful.

  2. Roberta said,

    September 12, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks! this was very useful! I think the Xvid looks better because it produces more sharpen images than the divX.
    I wished there were more dvd players that plays Xvid. :P

  3. Chris said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:55 am

    I know this is an old article but I thought I’d mention that many if not most DivX certified players will play Xvid as well, since they are both forks of the same codebase.

  4. Shonof said,

    April 14, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Doesn’t matter xvid is open source. Thats the way i like.

  5. oaasd said,

    May 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Yay! Open Source FTFW!

  6. k4mpret said,

    July 1, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Encoding with xvid takes much longer than with divx (15fps vs 30fps) on my Pentium-D 2.66 Ghz. When i concern about speed, i choose divx.

    • Umer said,

      August 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

      can you please tell me, how xvid effects speed. I want to use this while programming.and camera’s frame rate is 60 f/s. please help me.

  7. airjrdn said,

    July 1, 2008 at 2:11 am

    That’s definitely a concern. Lately, I’ve been doing xvid conversions with Mencoder on my quad core, and to be honest, they aren’t bad. :P

  8. Neil said,

    July 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I had an idea of converting flv you tube video to a format that win dvd maker would recognize, so i could burn a dvd and play it on the dvd that is connected to my tv. Initially i converted to wmv and burned from there with surprisingly good results at full screen on my tv. From there i thought maybe i could do even better so i did a comparison of my best video converted with both xvid and wmv. xvid at 1024k bit rate, and wmv at its max which is 768. The xvid was clearly better, it reproduced reflected light exactly as it appeared in the original, unlike wmv….so xvid is my best choice at this point…havent tried divx yet, and prolly wont. i have a yamaha dvd player on the way that is divx compatible, and im gonna burn a bunch of xvid encoded avi files onto a dvd and pop it in and see what happens. It takes like 2 hours to burn a standard dvd, and thats usually only around 65 videos….screw that. Another cool thing is that my new dvd will have a 6 step zoom, so if i want i can view 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 original size which i believe will greatly improve quality, or course its smaller, but i prefer quality over quantity. Hope things will work out the way i plan. -Cheers

    • timvader said,

      December 28, 2010 at 2:05 am

      you are a noob, how can you use win dvd maker, use something good like encore, or better yet don’t use a dvd at all and have a dedicated media PC attached to a LCD or plasma screen….

  9. airjrdn said,

    July 17, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Good luck. I’ve been playing with a script that uses mencoder to convert nearly any format to a 320×240 video the Creative Zen will play. So far, xvid has proved to look very good on the Zen.

  10. Neil said,

    July 20, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    The xvid encoded avi files worked great on my new player, only problem is, the 6 step zoom doesnt work with them, only dvd. I did notice though that i can use the pillar box feature in the dvd player setup, and then 16:9 the video using a function on my tv(my tv is 4:3 high def crt)….this results in a smaller video with a close to perfect aspect ratio, like maybe a 3/4 zoom, but its not really enough, guess im gonna have to stick with converting the avi files to dvd to get the functionality i want. Almost all these videos are 320X240, and although some look ok at full screen, its cool to be able to zoom out and view these videos closer to their native resolution with clarity and detail, than to blow them up to full screen….alot are too blocky at full screen. Its not so bad i guess…only downside to creating dvds is the amount of time it takes to encode them….about two hours. -Cheers

  11. Omar said,

    August 13, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I see the Xvid has slightly more detail, especially in the second set of pictures. If they support each other, that’s the one I’d go with.

  12. tombert said,

    August 25, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Overall, I think that it might be a better idea to stick with open source if you want compatibility. My cheapy DVD player seems to support both DivX and XviD, and I think that in the future, Xvid will catch on even more (if for no other reason video players don’t want to pay a charge to the DivX corportation).

    Quality-wise, i found that the Xvid seems to be a little less jumpy, and more smoothly flowing. I found the the Divx would lag slightly sometimes, making the image jump. THis is probably because my Archos 605 doesn’t have a great processor, and Divx takes slightly more system specifications.

    The colors in xvid seem a little more vibrant, while divx seems to be that they are all “grayed” down.

  13. Joe said,

    September 7, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Saying one player supports the other format is silly. That’s like saying the ipod plays FHG encoded mp3s but not LAME mp3s.

    Both are MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP codecs. If one is Divx certified it might play their proprietary container. But otherwise compatibility comes down to supporting b frames, qpel, gmc, etc, and not xvid vs. divx

  14. Neil said,

    October 15, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    i dont think its silly, although divx and xvid seem the same compatibility wise, just because a video uses the .avi container, there are lots of parameters within that container that effect compatibility….i have occasional problems like this with avi files, as a quick solution i just re-encode the avi using my own parameters that i know are compatible.

  15. Tropi said,

    November 9, 2008 at 12:46 am

    The choice of codec is very, very personal and is largely a matter of what one personally likes ‘the look’ of. If visual quality is important, then the speed to re-encode is not going to matter much, if at all. I have never experienced any compatibility problems between the two, though I can’t say categorically that they don’t exist.

    All other things being equal, I find that DivX gives slightly smoother textures (less detail) and XVid slightly grainier textures (more detail). Which you prefer is entirely personal and you might even change your mind as to which you prefer from time to time, depending very much on the original source material. You do not have to stick rigidly to one codec.

    For instance, a coarse, grainy original might persuade you towards smoothing it out with DivX, despite slight detail loss. Also, animé/cartoons etc are likely to give rather different impressions than will be seen in normal movies.

  16. killerener99 said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:39 am

    XviD and DivX are completely backward compatible with each other.

    • Mike said,

      February 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      Wow, i CAN NOT believe i just realized that XviD IS DivX spelled backwards! Now i can see some copywrite issues there. But i have to say, XviD is better detail, and is also MUCH better with file size. I can make a 1440×900 9min long video @ ~10fps and it only takes up 60mb! DivX doesnt come close!

  17. December 9, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Joe gave the best analogy. DivX and Xvid are two different encoders that both produce MPEG4 ASP video in an AVI file container. Technically, you can’t tell the difference between a DivX video and an Xvid video except that the encoders leave tell-tale indicators embedded in the file along with the video data. Having said that, DivX Inc and Xvid.org have defined slightly different “profiles” for encoding. For example, the DivX Home Theater profile does not use multiple warp points, Global Motion Compensation or Quarter Pixel Estimation even though these features are allowed under the MPEG4 ASP standard. Some Xvid profiles might use these features and the resulting video probably won’t play on a DivX Certified DVD player even though the resulting video might look better when compared to a DivX Home Theater version of the same video.

    For most people, the best advice is to only buy DivX Home Theater certified products and only use DivX Home Theater certified software. That way, compatibility is guaranteed. However, if you careful with how you configure Xvid, you can create videos that play on most DivX devices. Xvid does have a similar certification program but there are very few Xvid certified devices despite numerous claims of “Xvid” compatibility.

  18. Otis said,

    December 15, 2008 at 4:10 am

    why not try wd tv…
    ya can connect a usb drive to it and play divx and xvid (along with other formats)… i get tired of converting, burning, and storing dvd’s.

  19. FJ said,

    January 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I should say that the real difference is light. Divx looks smoother but light intensifies in xvid making it look more grainy and filmlike.

  20. Ultimatehuman said,

    February 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    If you want to use Windows Media Center extenders, to watch your Avi files on your tv or home theatre, you must use XviD. The PS2, Xbox, and Linksys MCE’s (what I use), don’t have a DivX license, and therefore, their firmware does not support the codec. Xvid is open source and therefore is supported. Also, since it’s open source, certification of hardware is not required to support the codec. I think if you want a universal format that will play on anything, Xvid is the way to go.

  21. Randy said,

    April 1, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for many previous comments. My Divx Philips Certified player won’t play some Divx file. There is only audio and no video. I believe that it comes during the encode setting. Once tested and not playable on my Divx player, I re-encode them either to DEFAULT Divx or Xvid setting and it played fine on the player.

  22. Godmy said,

    August 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Autor should pick same frames from the video. Right on the first frame I’ve noticed the frames are different, so there is lesser opportunity of comparation.

  23. gongo said,

    September 23, 2009 at 4:55 am

    What should be the resolution of a divx or an xvid that should be downloaded to look good on a 32-40 inch bravia or any format for that matter

  24. airjrdn said,

    September 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Quality is a tough one. What looks good to me might not to you or vice versa. Most downloaded movies will be in one of three flavors – 700M, 1.4G, or around 4G for full DVD or HD rips. Obviously the bigger size means better quality.

    I think it would also matter whether or not it was upscaled by the TV (or whatever you’re using to play it), and if so, to what resolution. Meaning, a 464 pixel wide movie upscaled to 720p might not be too blocky, but upscaled to 1080p would probably look pretty bad. Again, that might just me my opinion, you might think it looks fine.

    Sorry if these answers are somewhat vague, but it’s just tough to recommend quality to someone.

  25. GG said,

    November 17, 2009 at 3:14 am

    Is this the lastest comparison? The first post is in 2007.

  26. airjrdn said,

    November 17, 2009 at 3:31 am

    The images are from the original post date. I’ve not updated anything.

  27. turok said,

    November 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Well save yer breath. DivX is superior to Xvid. As an experienced encoder (Usually prefer H.264 but sometimes if I wanna fast one and for weaker pcs then DivX) I prefer Quality and DivX delivers. I cannot say the same for Xvid I’m Afirad I was largely Disappointed of the filesize for the same quality (encoded a video twice using Xvid and DivX for ax quality as possible the original video was 100mb H.264. divx propped up a 148mb whilst Xvid came up with a 1902mb which I found utterly ridiculous, on a 640x480p@23.976) and as DivX is ALOT less resources for playback capability I endorse DivX over Xvid. (Nintendo Wii console can play a 1280×720 DivX with NO LAG but can’t do the same with Xvid it just freezes instead.) That and Constant Quality Divx actually does come out good in comparison to xvid (xvid sometimes dropes frames or that may have been bad settings.)

    I am normally use H.264 for encoding but when I am not. I use DivX. Xvid is open source? Then why does it still pale in comparison to Divx then? lol open source got pwned this day.

    • yohann said,

      May 16, 2010 at 12:49 am

      i disagree with you turok. In my own experience.. i find xvid a bit more vibrant and more detailed compared to divx. about quality, filesize encoding, conversion etc. are almost exactly the same. conversion speed only vary if you have fast pc. (dual core vs multicore proc.) well, its obvious that you are a divx fanboy lol!

      • John Daryl Ballesteros said,

        August 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm

        divx is a lot more better compared to xvid. i try to convert a movie in divx and xvid. xvid is a time consumer when it comes to converting and the video I converted is larger compared to divx. all my movies are in divx format and it gives me a good service.
        divx is a userfriendly format. divx is the best for me!

  28. ultimatehuman said,

    November 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I’m afraid I’m not buying your argument here turok. First, if you really prefer using H.264, that’s your business but I find you annoying. Second, somethings wrong if your encoding XviD and get a file size 20 times larger than your original. You cite video scale and fps but that has little to do with your file size. I wonder what your bitrates are? That would have the most impact on file size. Usually a bitrate of 1000 to 1200 kbps produces an image that has near dvd quality and still looks pretty good on 1080i screen.

    As someone who often re-encodes DviX to Xvid, using slightly higher bitrates that the original, I often wind up with slightly smaller file sizes with no loss of quality I can detect. I don’t have a Wii, so I can’t speak to your problems with that, but I’m still inclined to suspect there is a problem with the encoding. I occasionally do get files that just won’t encode properly and have playback issues.

  29. Mauricio said,

    January 5, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    People, lets be honest !
    Both has the same base, so basically it is the same result achieved in two different ways… If you have problems with the file size or the picture quality probably it is because something YOU did wrong when converting the file.
    Have a look on the link I posted and read the profiles for Xvid, set your encoder for one of those settings, then do the same settings on Divx encoder and you will see that there is no difference in the final result.

    When I convert a file usually this is my settings with mencoder (by the way Mencoder is THE software!)

    mencoder $file -af volnorm -srate 48000 ${CROP},kerndeint,scale=720:432 -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=224:mode=0 -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=1600:nopacked:gmc=3:vhq=0:me_quality=5:quant_type=h263:aspect=1.78:max_bitrate=4854000:max_bframes=5 -o $outputfile.avi

  30. Neel Chauhan said,

    January 25, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I played a Xvid movie on DivX when I had DivX installed, mainly for recording tutorials, but DivX failed, so I changed to Xvid.

  31. ultimatehuman said,

    January 25, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Mauricio is exactly right. They are two different ways to compress a MPEG-4 video file. Quality differences between the two seem to be negligible at best. The specific encoding and playback software used will have an impact on the final quality, or as I’ve touched on before, the compatibility of your hardware.

    On a side note, a couple months ago I got an automatic update from DivX to update to DivX6. This caused an annoying error (COM surrogate has stopped working) to begin occuring whenever I opened up a folder with DivX coded files in it. I couldn’t find a way to roll back to the previous version, and the Windows suggested solution was to turn off the thumbnail preview for ALL my video files, whether they were DivX or not.

    My solution was to uninstall all DivX related software, and install the K-Lite codec pack, which actually automatically uninstalled several other redundant codecs. This was probably a good maintanence item and everything has been running smoothly since.

    So much for licensed software being superior. Looks like it got pwned by open source today.

  32. rodney dangerfield said,

    March 15, 2010 at 6:37 am

    My experience is that they’re not that far off from each other when you’re only considering video quality.

    Now that I have DLNA systems in place, I’m more interested in audio quality as well. Since the video quality to me doesn’t seem hugely different enough worth preferring one over the other, I prefer DivX for it’s ability to preserve the 5.1 source audio. XviD using MP3 drops the audio down to stereo.

    If there is a way to preserve 5.1 audio in XviD, I’d go with that since I run Linux (Ubuntu) systems at home. I use Mencoder and haven’t found a way to preserve 5.1 audio.

  33. ultimatehuman said,

    March 17, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Rodney-

    I suggest using AC-3 developed by Dolby Laboratories which can supports mono, stereo or 6 channel audio with a maximum bitstream of 640 kbps. To put that in some perspective, DVD, HDDVD and digital cable can handle it at 480kbps.
    AC-3 is a format that can be supported by DLNA devices, but you would have to check the specific components specs to know for sure. My Linksys Extender supports it just fine as do many other devices. AC-3 is often used as the audio stream for Xvid AVI files. You do have to install the codecs for it to play on Windows Media Player (search google: AC-3 codec or K-Lite codec pack).
    AC-3 can be used in conjunction with DivX or Xvid MPEG-4, which this discussion is about. There is also a DivX codec for H.264 video, which is a different beast altogether, but still compatable with AC-3 audio. I don’t think we are discussing that codec here, but we should make sure we’re talking about the same thing.

  34. March 31, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    If you want to use Windows Media Center extenders, to watch your Avi files on your tv or home theatre, you must use XviD. The PS2, Xbox, and Linksys MCE’s, don’t have a DivX license, and therefore, their firmware does not support the codec. Xvid is open source and therefore is supported.

    Claiming your Xbox “supports” the Xvid codec but not the DivX codec is like claiming your eyeball supports Xerox but not Canon copiers. The DivX encoder and the Xvid encoder both produce MPEG4 ASP video. During playback, your Xbox does not care which encoder was used. The only important fact is that the encoder followed the MPEG4 standard.

    DivX.com and Xvid.org both offer free MPEG4 decoders but your WMCE does not use either of them. Even DivX Certified devices do not use the DivX decoder. DivX Certification means that the MPEG4 decoder in your player was tested against the DivX MPEG4 encoder. That is sufficient for basic video playback of both DivX and Xvid, but certification does not stop there.

    Certified devices include advanced DivX features like sub-titles, alternate audio tracks, chapter points, etc. The (certified) Sony Playstation 3 supports these features while the (uncertified) Xbox does not. The PS3 is also compatible with DivX Video-On-Demand so you can buy movies from filmfresh.com or cinemanow.com. Your Linksys MCE cannot do any of that because it’s not a genuine DivX Certified device.

    In practice, it is correct to say that all “DivX Home Theater Certified” devices can play all Xvid encoded files but not all “xvid/avi players” can play all DivX encoded files because SOME DivX files have sub-titles, multiple tracks and/or encryption. These features must be licensed from DivX, Inc.

    The same applies to software. VLC, Media Player Classic and QuickTime play SOME DivX files but not ALL DivX files. Only the genuine DivX Player for Mac/PC can play all DivX files and all your Xvid files too.

  35. Whitak3r said,

    May 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Just saying thanks. I read this quite a few years ago, and every time one of my friends asks me what the difference is, I just point them to this page :D

  36. airjrdn said,

    May 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    You’re very welcome. I’m still surprised when it gets comments from time to time.

  37. RaceM said,

    July 6, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Yeah its a good article. Its basically the first thing that pops up when you type “divx vs xvid” in yahoo. :) I was thinking you should do a comparison between these two and x264 and maybe one other one, just to update the comparison page here. :)

  38. Jonathan Chan said,

    September 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    you could use more varieties of videos as when i use xvid divx when capturing my computer screen, xvid is signifigantly lower in quality than divx (and have the same file size)

  39. Jonathan Chan said,

    September 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    ok i looked at the picture again and divx is sharper than xvid wich is blurrier.
    h.264/x264 is better than these two though

  40. November 17, 2010 at 3:18 am

    home theathers with 5.1 system sounds really great specially if you add those 12 inch subwoofers ”`

  41. Dean said,

    December 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    The Xvid’s are all slightly better but like the post says it will be hardly noticeable when played at 20-30fps.

    I did some testing myself using only the resulting avis as comparison rather than stills and I found that at higher bitrates, Xvid wins but Divx looked better to be at lower bitrates. As someone said, Xvid can look a bit grainy so when frames are in motion, the blur DivX adds really helps cover up imperfections nicely.

  42. Nagroth said,

    March 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    The deal with compatibility is this: Yes in most cases, especially on a computer, there’s no real difference. But what can bite some people is that DivX is proprietary, and they can (and do) certify low-end players as “DivX Compatible” when they can’t support the full range of the standard. So it IS possible to make a file that is within the standard but may have trouble playing on some hardware.
    If you’re worried about playing on a lot of embedded devices, go with DivX at default settings and don’t try to get tricky.

    As for Quality, that will depend mostly on your settings and the type of source material you are working with. Keep your output medium in mind as well; what you choose for a bigscreen TV isn’t always the best for an older set, or giving a presentation.

    Speed, really will depend on both the type of source material, as well as the specific OS and hardware you use. And the settings chosen of course. I’ve found some setups where one does twice as well as the other, and some setups where they’re mostly equal.

    So to summarize, both are pretty close but can have advantages in specific situations. Experiment.

  43. ` said,

    April 5, 2011 at 1:25 am

    i don’t see any difference…

  44. Adam said,

    June 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Thank man, it is vary helpful, Xvid is more detail.

  45. dw817 said,

    June 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

    DivX is more system intensive and bloatware, and what do they have to hide ? There is always an uninstall for XviD but never one for DivX ? Also DivX destroys playback of Xvid (probably purposefully).

    XviD however faithfully plays DivX without trying to corrupt it.
    Who’s the real monster here ? :)

    • John Daryl Ballesteros said,

      August 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      I dont see also any difference but I prefer to DivX ^^
      I’ve been using DivX for months and I am very satisfied when using this!!!

  46. MasterOverlord said,

    January 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    divx is better only if you use automatic deblock and sharpen shader, in media player clasic is called effect > post pixel shader, use shader complex 2 to see power of sharp & smooth video and on render option use correct frame time correction, and Vertical sync, it will looks better than on your’s LCD / Led TV’s :P

  47. No Name said,

    February 9, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Your comparison is flawed because it does not show how they stack up against the control (the original file)

  48. nabeeh said,

    July 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I saw that Divx is like Xvid but my all home videos is Xvid , it’s not my choice it’s the video editor choice as in the past my informations about this things in video and audio is less but Xvid is good but i think the best format now is (AVC, AAC) because it’s best in compression and quality.

  49. realmk said,

    October 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Just a thought: If you use FUW you’re probably using presets. Real quality comes down to encoding both movies in full compression @ the same quality (to compare file size) or same average bitrate (to compare quality).

  50. 47 said,

    September 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    XviD is better. i always use Xvid codec when converting all youtube videos. even blurry videos look slightly better with this motherf****ng codec + some minor tweakes with virtualdub. trust me.


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