What is Xvid?
Xvid is a video codec for PC, whereas codec is an abbreviation for [co]der/[dec]oder, hence describes a program to encode and decode digital video. The purpose of encoding video data is to reduce redundancies – that means to make it smaller for faster transmission over computer networks or for more efficient storage on computer disks.
Hence, Xvid can somewhat be seen as a ZIP for video. But unlike ZIP, Xvid is not lossless. That means that a video after compression and decompression with Xvid won't be identical to the original source. Typically however, a difference to the source is visually imperceptible.
So Xvid removes information that is not important for human perception, which is somewhat similar to MP3 for audio. This enables very high compression rates that allow to effectively work with digital video on home computers at all. To give an example: uncompressed digital video is huge and requires about 100 GB per hour at PAL resolution. The same video would require just 500 MB per hour at very high quality when compressed with Xvid. That is a compression ratio of 200:1.
Xvid is Free Software and released under the GNU GPL license. This means that the source code of the software is publically available and programmers are allowed to make modifications to the code. Also, redistribution of Xvid is permitted but only under the terms of the GPL license.
So the GPL grants recipients more freedoms than it’s common with other software. Therefore, and due to its very high image quality that has been approved in independent tests conducted by third parties the Xvid codec has gained great popularity in the recent past and has become the codec of choice when it comes to exchanging digital video.
Why use Xvid?
Since Xvid is Free Software released under the GNU GPL license, you can obtain Xvid free of charge, without time or feature limitations. Also the Xvid source code is publically available and can be reviewed by any interested programmer. Because of this, Xvid provides many advantages also to users.
The availability of source code for programmers makes it possible to have Xvid running on many different platforms. Also, even in the unlikely case the original Xvid programmers may discontinue development, Xvid could still be made available to new platforms or new operating systems by anyone interested without involvement of the original developers. With usual, so-called proprietary software where source code is not available to the public, users are stuck in case the creating company goes bankrupt or discontinues the product.
Another advantage from open-source software also for non-developers: many proprietary software supposed to be free or marketed as free of charge ship with spyware or adware that pollute your system and report about your personal interests to marketing agencies or constantly display ads while you’re working. Such software may not only be annoying but could also represent a severe security threat to your system.
Xvid does not spy on you, is totally ad-free and does not transmit any of your data behind your back. Since the source code of Xvid is available to the public, everyone can check for themselves and see that there’s no malicious code in Xvid. This constant review by independent third parties makes Xvid really safe to use.
Xvid and Your favorite video application
Due to its free availability and developer-friendliness, Xvid is supported by many video related applications. That means there are a lot of applications available that support playback of Xvid video or use Xvid to encode video.
Many of these applications are Free Software as well and can be used free of charge. So there’s a whole ecosystem of free tools available around Xvid that help you carry out almost any task you can imagine around digital video.
Share Xvid video between all Your devices
There’s wide-spread support for Xvid video in hardware devices. E.g. DVD players or portable media devices can handle Xvid video. Also, a lot of devices come bundled with Xvid to permit the interoperable creation of content or enable playback of video on PC that has been recorded with devices such as digital video recorders or digital cameras, camcorders or mobile phones.
Award winning picture quality
While you can obtain Xvid free of charge, the quality of the codec is outstanding and surpasses that of competing, expensive products. The Xvid encoder has won several awards and has been found in independent tests to provide superior picture quality and more efficient video compression than any other comparable video codec.
Next to delivering great quality video, Xvid is also very fast both for de- and encoding. Special optimizations also for the very latest features of PC processors like hyperthreading, dual-core or SSE3 instruction set guarantee high-performance video playback and creation.
What use Xvid for?
Due to its speed, high-definition video compressed with Xvid can be easily played back on today’s PCs or PAL video from e.g. a TV card can be captured in real-time using the Xvid codec. A major strength of Xvid is the premium picture quality it delivers, especially for offline, multi-pass compression. Therefore, the Xvid codec is ideal for archiving home video on DVD or CD. Consequently, many digital cameras or DVD players come bundled with the Xvid codec today.
On the road
The Xvid profiles also permit the interoperable creation of compressed video for use in hardware devices like personal media players and mobile phones. Using Xvid, several hours of video can be squeezed onto a USB stick in order to watch video on a portable device on the road.
On the network
Besides storage and archival purposes, Xvid is also always useful where video shall be transmitted over a network, e.g. in case you want to share one of your videos with your friends via the internet. Compressing such video with Xvid dramatically reduces download times and expensive traffic while retaining high quality.
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