Hollywood says a video compression format could accelerate video piracy in the same way the MP3 format has accelerated online music piracy.
The format, known as DivX, enables audio and video data to be distributed online. The playback quality is not as good as DVD, but observers said consumers will be quick to adopt it because the video material using it will be available free.
DivX combines an MP3 audio codec, a DivX codec and a Direct Show decoder. The film industry claims that there are numerous websites detailing how consumers can turn DVD programmes into DivX files.
It currently takes about four hours to download a full film using DivX. Consequently, the DivX material on the internet right now tends to be TV programmes, where the playback quality is better than material recorded on VHS.
However, with high bandwidth on the horizon, Hollywood has reportedly already primed its lawyers to act when they find DivX footage on a website.
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