The process of creating a DivX ;-) encoded video from DVD is a whole lot easier than it used to be. There's plenty of tutorials online, but it boils down to this:

  • Rip the DVD files from the disk and decrypt them. This leaves a number of .VOB (Video OBject) files on your hard drive.

  • Encode the video and audio using the DivX ;-) and Mp3 codecs respectively

The tools currently available take care of syncing the audio and video for the most part. The software packages I use are:

The great thing about DivX ;-) is the small file size it generates. A typical DVD is around six gigabytes in size. A DivX ;-) encoded version of the same movie can be made to fit on a CDROM, which is around 650Mb. The degradation in quality is only evident in scenes when there is a lot of 'action' on the screen.

A movie such as U-571 took around fifteen hours to encode (Pentium 3 500), however. Creating DivX ;-) takes plenty of computing power, and so does playing them.

Note that the smiley is part of the name of the codec.