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Friday December 9, 2005 5:00 pm

Calling Out Major Nelson: Xbox 360 Supports MP3 But Not Divx?

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Features, Music, Software, Video Games

Xbox 360 DivxAny Xbox fanatic knows of Major Nelson (also known as the mild mannered Larry Hryb,) the cool Xbox Live employee who manages a blog and pod

blogcast show. Recently, he let everyone know that we shouldn’t expect Divx support from the Xbox 360 using the Media Center Extender function - ever. Why? Well, he eludes to the fact that there has not yet been one commercial DVD release in Divx format, and therefore, there is no reason to support it on the Xbox 360. He went on to say that Divx is primarily used as a method to “back up” DVDs, and Microsoft doesn’t want to get into any hot water on that front.

We have a much different stance on this issue…

Okay Major, I can begrudgingly accept the fact that Divx support is a touchy subject - if it wasn’t inconsistent with the rest of the Xbox 360’s functionality. Check it out - I have yet to see a commercial release of a DVD in MP3 format. I have yet to pay for DRM music content in MP3 format as well. WMA and AAC, sure - but not MP3. If Divx is primarily used to “back up” DVDs, then what would you say that the MP3 format is primarily used for?

The fact is, by choosing not to support Divx in the Media Center Extender, Microsoft is taking a two-faced approach. It is okay for music, but not okay for video? Guess what, Roxio’s latest release of their Easy Media Creator software touts Divx as one of their big upgrades. Roxio’s software is probably the most popular for the average consumer - it is in Target, Costco, and the almighty Wal-Mart. Of course, Roxio isn’t the only company bringing Divx to the consumer. Over the next couple of years, you are going to see people using Divx - not Windows Media Video - to save space on their hard drives from all the projects they are doing. I have seen plenty of independent bands release music videos on the Divx format. Hell, a video we had produced for us after our Mind Camp event was made available to everyone in the Divx format. Now here is the kicker - that Divx file plays perfectly, without a hitch, on our Windows Media Center 2005 PC - in the Media Center application!

So, the Windows Media Center software recognizes and plays Divx, but it won’t stream that same file to the Xbox 360 - yet, I can fire up that new G-Unit joint that I just downloaded from a Russian MP3 site for $0.75 USD, and the Xbox 360 plays it without a problem. Wow.

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